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”: