Caterpillar CEO says Obama business friendliness has improved to … a slightly better F

posted at 2:15 pm on May 13, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Greg Hengler reminds us why, as a politician, it’s wise to pick your friends and economic examples carefully. Early in his presidency, Barack Obama made an appearance at Caterpillar to claim that passing his Porkulus bill would keep the manufacturer of heavy equipment from conducting layoffs. Jim Owen, their CEO at the time, responded that Obama was wrong. Thanks to that dustup, the firm gets plenty of attention when it comes to Obama’s economic policies and friendliness towards the business and investment community.

CNBC asked Caterpillar’s current CEO, Doug Oberhelman, to evaluate the changes made at the beginning of the year in the Obama administration that was supposed to repair the damage done between the business world and the President in the first two years. Oberhelman agrees that things have improved — but not by a lot:

A 5 or 6 is still a failing grade, Greg writes, “[e]ven if we adjust for grade inflation.” And actually, this isn’t about performance, just openness to hearing about pro-business policies.  Oberhelman’s entire interview is worth watching for his insights on the global economy, and his bullish take on the overall recovery — but the US economy has “worrisome” obstacles ahead. At the very end, Olberhelman warns about allowing other countries to get more competitive than the US, specifically China and Brazil, and then makes one final reference to the “activist NLRB”:


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Herman Cain called the US the worst business climate in the world. He is right.

Angry Dumbo on May 13, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Obama doesn’t care about U.S. jobs or well-being. He is the world’s man.

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Cue the MSM to trumpet the fact that Caterpillar CEO says Obama is now even more business friendly.

John Deaux on May 13, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Caterpillar is also thinking of moving to a neighboring state with a better business climate. Wonder if the NLRB will sue?

Tommy_G on May 13, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Cue the MSM to trumpet the fact that Caterpillar CEO says Obama is now even more business friendly.

John Deaux on May 13, 2011 at 2:24 PM

nice

Angry Dumbo on May 13, 2011 at 2:28 PM

So he has moved to an F+. Good job, Obama

search4truth on May 13, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Caterpillar is also thinking of moving to a neighboring state with a better business climate. Wonder if the NLRB will sue?

Tommy_G on May 13, 2011 at 2:25 PM

As is Sears…

I find it funny that Obama (well, not funny considering his title vs his 5th grade IQ) would select a US-based company who sells internationally… it sets up interviews like these, where clearly a smart business mind had to deal with a moron, be used as a puppet, only to negate the very intention of the photo-op and BS from the beginning.

As he has stated “business is good around the world, not here though” – and knows full well the breadth and size of international competitors – in both India and China.

So if and when Cat lays off more folks – they can simply point to overhead labor costs as the reason – combined with failed domestic business rules/laws, etc – whcih is why I love his NRLB call out at the end…

Odie1941 on May 13, 2011 at 2:32 PM

And here comes the Executive Order removing Caterpillar CEO Jim Owen…

ornery_independent on May 13, 2011 at 2:33 PM

What a wuss. Until Americans from corners of experience other than politics begin to understand Obama and courageously speak out…

rrpjr on May 13, 2011 at 2:36 PM

If the Boeing CEO were not in Obama’s ars, on that committee, he’d decide to move his headquarters from Chicago to the South.

Schadenfreude on May 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

The entire nation is going to need flea collars soon.

capejasmine on May 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Caterpillar must be really upset about Obama’s anti-business policies. Since Obama took office, their stock has MORE THAN TRIPLED, outperforming competitors and the market in general.

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

leftist/dims are ruthless in their need for power:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/gm-to-invest-109m-in-2-mich-plants-creating-or-keeping-96-jobs-as-part-of-big-investment/2011/05/13/AFgUTU2G_story.html

109M=96jobs. Centralized planning doesn’t work for a reason. And, I know, O is all about fairness and not econ growth, but please, please, please, we need the Rs on the tv every night telling the people what is happening and what barry want to do to this country

r keller on May 13, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Caterpillar must be really upset about Obama’s anti-business policies. Since Obama took office, their stock has MORE THAN TRIPLED, outperforming competitors and the market in general.

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

You’re not in Kos anymore, Dorothy.

Patrick S on May 13, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Obama, the Dems in congress and the media are all anti-business. The fear of retribution is all that is keeping the major CEO’s quiet. I’ve been scouring the major news sites and not one has mentioned that the House has passed the pro-drilling bill. How can the media not report on something this important while the Dems haul big oil CEO’s in to try and embarrass them? The shite will hit the fan when the Republicans take back the Senate and Presidency. The Dems have had their 15 minutes and have shown their true colors. Anti-business maybe, Anti-American yes.

MJZZZ on May 13, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Caterpillar must be really upset about Obama’s anti-business policies. Since Obama took office, their stock has MORE THAN TRIPLED,…

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

So has the price of gas…

Seven Percent Solution on May 13, 2011 at 2:59 PM

MJZZZ on May 13, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Wow, NONE of them are reporting it?! Sigh…

ornery_independent on May 13, 2011 at 2:59 PM

“You misspelled C+.”
 
- Occidental College

rogerb on May 13, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Caterpillar must be really upset about Obama’s anti-business policies. Since Obama took office, their stock has MORE THAN TRIPLED, outperforming competitors and the market in general.

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

People flock to those who speak out against evil, and money flocks to those who speak economic truth. No surprise that this would be happening. Did you see what happened to Ford stock when they simply turned down the bailouts? They made (and continue to make) the biggest profits they have in YEARS.

Publicly opposing evil Marxists and standing up for America, Capitalism and Freedom is good for business. Go figure.

wearyman on May 13, 2011 at 3:12 PM

ornery_independent

I meant major “Liberal” news sites

MJZZZ on May 13, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Hee hee hee…

Khun Joe on May 13, 2011 at 3:18 PM

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

ok, now this is hard…try to focus. CAT is a global company. The weak dollar helps CAT sell stuff abroad. many parts of the world are doing better than the US….Central banks are flooding the world with liquidity…which is going to other parts of the world, which is good for global companies.

So, congrats. CAT is doing well…but people are not being hired in the US…wages are not going up…our output gap is over 5%…food stamps are strong. The GDP growth last Q was 1.8 percent!!!!!!

now seriously, you can’t be happy with O…but nice try

r keller on May 13, 2011 at 3:27 PM

You businesses need to step up and start hiring, if you want me to get re-elected.

Christien on May 13, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Caterpillar must be really upset about Obama’s anti-business policies. Since Obama took office, their stock has MORE THAN TRIPLED, outperforming competitors and the market in general.

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

As most liberals, you can’t do basic math. CAT was at $40 in Jan 2009, it’s at $105 today. I know in libtardville $105 is more than triple $40. In the real world it’s not.

angryed on May 13, 2011 at 3:41 PM

How can the media not report on something this important while the Dems haul big oil CEO’s in to try and embarrass them?

MJZZZ on May 13, 2011 at 2:56 PM

I heard the answer on talk radio yesterday: The media are all “Presstitutes”!!!!

landlines on May 13, 2011 at 3:46 PM

angryed on May 13, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Actually in libtard 104/40 = akaazillion times more!!

Caper29 on May 13, 2011 at 3:56 PM

A 5 or 6 is still a failing grade,

Hahaam .. 5 or 6 failing, not in any Affirmative Action Universe that I have visited lately.

I’m sure that 5 is the C/D cutoff.

J_Crater on May 13, 2011 at 4:00 PM

My dad was an engineer for CAT for 30 plus years, until they started offering buyouts to get their headcount aligned with the new reality. That’s a business that has long known what it is doing. It doesn’t get itself caught off-guard by political events as easily as some companies do. CAT isn’t just blustering when it talks about seeing a need to move it’s operations elsewhere. Not saying they are going to do it, but if they are talking about it they are really considering it.

The shame of it is that people in the Peoria area aren’t exactly liberal. Aaron Schock is their rep, and they voted for Bill Brady for governor. Unfortunately they’ll have to vote at a 2 to 1 ratio on high turnout to outdo the results from Cook county.

stldave on May 13, 2011 at 4:05 PM

As most liberals, you can’t do basic math. CAT was at $40 in Jan 2009, it’s at $105 today. I know in libtardville $105 is more than triple $40. In the real world it’s not.

angryed on May 13, 2011 at 3:41 PM

It was at 35.85 on Jan 20, 2009, and was at 107.6 earlier today when I made the comment (109 when the market opened).

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 4:20 PM

So has the price of gas…

Seven Percent Solution on May 13, 2011 at 2:59 PM

No, the price of gas has not tripled since Obama took office.

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 4:22 PM

People flock to those who speak out against evil, and money flocks to those who speak economic truth. No surprise that this would be happening. Did you see what happened to Ford stock when they simply turned down the bailouts? They made (and continue to make) the biggest profits they have in YEARS.

Publicly opposing evil Marxists and standing up for America, Capitalism and Freedom is good for business. Go figure.

wearyman on May 13, 2011 at 3:12 PM

So you’re saying that Caterpillar has made enormous profits over the past two years because its CEOs have spoken out against Obama? That seems questionable.

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Any business which donates to BHO’s re-election should go out of business. One can’t say this is a business negative climate and help plunge the knife deeper into its back.

madmonkphotog on May 13, 2011 at 4:28 PM

ok, now this is hard…try to focus. CAT is a global company. The weak dollar helps CAT sell stuff abroad. many parts of the world are doing better than the US….Central banks are flooding the world with liquidity…which is going to other parts of the world, which is good for global companies.

So, congrats. CAT is doing well…but people are not being hired in the US…wages are not going up…our output gap is over 5%…food stamps are strong. The GDP growth last Q was 1.8 percent!!!!!!

now seriously, you can’t be happy with O…but nice try

r keller on May 13, 2011 at 3:27 PM

You’re right about a lot of that, but much of it doesn’t relate to what the CEO is saying here. He’s talking specifically about how pro-business the Obama administration is (and the presumption of this post and Hengler’s post is that being a 10 out of 10 is perfect, which is… odd).

I’m definitely not saying Caterpillar has achieved enormous growth *because* of Obama’s policies. I’m saying that it’s a little strange to tout Caterpillar as a company that suffers from Obama’s administration not being pro-business, since they’ve grown so much over the past couple of years. If the CEO said something like, “The administration’s practices have hurt the economy, have hurt hiring, have hurt the market, etc.” then this would be noteworthy. But if the CEO of a company that is enjoying enormous success says that the administration is simply a 5 out of 10 on being pro-business, that’s not the most compelling news.

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 4:35 PM

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Have you done any serious study of their corporate disclosures to figure out why they are doing well? Or is this a post hoc ergo propter hoc sort of argument?

alwaysfiredup on May 13, 2011 at 4:39 PM

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 4:35 PM

I see, so you’re just complaining that we’re talking about something that isn’t ‘newsworthy’. Register your complaint with the complaint office at dltdhyotwo@hotair.com.

alwaysfiredup on May 13, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Obama: Now earning 3 non-transferable credits after the curve in a public school.

HitNRun on May 13, 2011 at 4:44 PM

Clearly, he’s just angry about a black man being in the White House.

/

Django on May 13, 2011 at 4:55 PM

I find it funny that Obama (well, not funny considering his title vs his 5th grade IQ)…

-
Keeper… Just add any issue/action/trait/response or lack there of… Barry’s getting a B+… for a 5th grader.
-

Hahaam .. 5 or 6 failing, not in any Affirmative Action Universe that I have visited lately.

I’m sure that 5 is the C/D cutoff.

J_Crater on May 13, 2011 at 4:00 PM

-
Where I work… Good luck keeping your job at any level if you are a 6… Possible I guess, but not likely.
-
Meanwhile a couple years back I took an electronics class at the county college… Two guys (twins from Somali) were always trying to cheat off of me. They should have been booted, and were never gonna be capable of even a ‘D’ in that class (and I mean working together).
-
I wonder what they’re doing now? Something important I bet.
-

RalphyBoy on May 13, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Cat is a great company. With construction down, Oil is high. oil companies now are buying a lot of equipm,ent for oilfield and pipeline. India China and Brazil needs roads, dams and bridges. Lots of work. His parts and service is a big deal. If you have a Chines or italin machine go down, it is weeks to repair. With Cat worldwide, time is money and much is done for service 24 hours a day. Farming also buys a lot of Cat equipment. 105,000 enployees and seing med insurance costs excalate is a huge problem.

seven on May 13, 2011 at 6:59 PM

ok, now this is hard…try to focus. CAT is a global company. The weak dollar helps CAT sell stuff abroad. many parts of the world are doing better than the US….Central banks are flooding the world with liquidity…which is going to other parts of the world, which is good for global companies.

So, congrats. CAT is doing well…but people are not being hired in the US…wages are not going up…our output gap is over 5%…food stamps are strong. The GDP growth last Q was 1.8 percent!!!!!!

now seriously, you can’t be happy with O…but nice try

r keller on May 13, 2011 at 3:27 PM

You’re right about a lot of that, but much of it doesn’t relate to what the CEO is saying here. He’s talking specifically about how pro-business the Obama administration is (and the presumption of this post and Hengler’s post is that being a 10 out of 10 is perfect, which is… odd).

I’m definitely not saying Caterpillar has achieved enormous growth *because* of Obama’s policies. I’m saying that it’s a little strange to tout Caterpillar as a company that suffers from Obama’s administration not being pro-business, since they’ve grown so much over the past couple of years. If the CEO said something like, “The administration’s practices have hurt the economy, have hurt hiring, have hurt the market, etc.” then this would be noteworthy. But if the CEO of a company that is enjoying enormous success says that the administration is simply a 5 out of 10 on being pro-business, that’s not the most compelling news.

tneloms on May 13, 2011 at 4:35 PM

My old man’s earnings from his book writing have nearly doubled since Obama became president. At least half of that has been because he is being paid in British Pounds, rather than that he is getting paid more per word.

Just because your profits are up doesn’t mean that things are good.

Voyager on May 14, 2011 at 1:18 PM