Barack Obama won an extraordinary amount of support from the business world in his presidential campaign, helping to tamp down accusations of redistributionist aims, at least until Joe the Plumber caught Obama off-guard. They campaigned for him, raised money to get him elected, and celebrated when Obama won. Now they’re in a much less celebratory mood after seeing him in action, the AP reports (via The Corner):
Relations between President Barack Obama and U.S. corporate leaders have grown tense in recent weeks, with business groups bristling over his sharp rebukes of lenders and multinational companies in particular.
Executives and trade groups that praised Obama’s outreach during his post-election transition period say they have felt less welcome since he took office in January. More troubling, they say, are his populist-tinged, sometimes acid critiques of certain sectors, including large companies that keep some profits overseas to reduce their U.S. tax burden.
On Thursday in New Mexico, Obama chastised the credit card industry for sharply raising interest rates or fees with hard-to-find notice. He said consumers should be protected from “all kinds of harsh penalties and fees that you never knew about.” Some of the dealings by credit card companies, he said, “are not honest.”
That’s an interesting, and somewhat irrelevant, point to use to support this article. Democrats routinely rail against credit-card companies, who don’t usually react to the provocations. They carry too much clout, for one thing, and usually the government has a limited scope in which to impose policy.
That changed with TARP, however, and the credit companies now have reason to fear the imposition of wide-reaching regulation. But that’s not what worries businessmen, at least not for the most part. The big worry comes from the Obama administration’s disregard for contract law via the TARP leverage they bought with taxpayer money. Chrysler’s senior creditors and their attorneys — many of whom voted for Obama and supported his candidacy with cash — discovered this the hard way when the administration started threatening them with bad publicity via the White House press corps and the “madman theory of the presidency”. George Will called this a “tincture of lawlessness,” which is kind of like saying that Mafia policy rackets are a “tincture of extortion”.
Obama’s attacks on contract law undermine the entire foundation of the private sector, enabled by the bailouts initially hailed by the same people now worried about the White House’s approach to business. On both counts, the Captain Louis Renault award goes to those corporate leaders shocked, shocked! by Barack Obama’s hostility towards the business community. What part of “community organizer” didn’t you guys understand?