In the wake of Congress' approval of the financial reform bill, conservatives and business leaders are stepping up their complaints that President Obama and his fellow Democrats are anti-business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week, in an open letter to Obama and lawmakers, charged that Democrats had "vilified industries while embarking on an ill-advised course of government expansion, major tax increases, massive deficits, and job-destroying regulations." Jeffrey Immelt, GE's CEO, has voiced similar sentiments. Is Obama pursuing an anti-business agenda? (Watch a report about Obama's Wall Street war)
Sadly, the president IS anti-business: Obama has come under "sharp criticism" for good reason, says Mort Zuckerman in U.S. News. Business leaders "are holding back investment and growth" because they are worried about "the dramatically increased costs of new regulations, and a general perception that the administration is hostile toward them and may take yet harsher steps." America needs companies to "take risks" and put millions of unemployed people back to work, but that won't happen until CEOs are confident the president is on the same team.
"Obama's anti-business policies are our economic Katrina"
The CEOs have no reason to whine: American companies got to write their own ticket for eight years under George W. Bush, says Daniel Gross in Slate, and look where that got us. By the time Bush left office, we had fewer jobs than when he started, and the stock market is still roughly where it was a decade ago. The truth is that "the leaders of our largest corporations receive extraordinary assistance from the government and continually clamor for more." They shouldn't be angry — the rest of us should.
"Poor little CEOs"
The problem is more style than substance: In fact, Obama is "pro-business but thinks it should be more tightly regulated than it was in the past decade or so," says E.J. Dionne at The Washington Post. That is, he's a centrist. But he isn't doing a good job of convincing anyone of that. The center is tough ground to occupy in a political environment where passions lie mainly at the extremes, but Obama still needs to do it more convincingly.
"What is Obamaism?"
CEOs and Obama need to make up for the good of the country: No matter who's right, says Roger C. Altman in The New York Times, "this poisonous dynamic between Washington and business must be fixed." It could "hamper the recovery." So the Obama should tone down its rhetoric and stop calling business leaders "reckless," and the business community should stop complaining. "Yes, the administration has made some mistakes. But, on balance, its actions have supported business."
"Obama's business plan"