American CEOs rail against populist political moment, appear to miss obvious causes

The velvet rope economy
(Image credit: Damir Sagolj/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief executives at large U.S. corporations aren't feeling the Bern or enjoying Donald Trump's populist tirades, The Wall Street Journal reports, and "concerns are mounting in boardrooms and corner offices that antibusiness rhetoric may solidify even after the November election." Many "corporate chiefs" are giving up on the next president and instead trying to elect friendly candidates to Congress, The Journal says, and they "fault Democrats for ignoring tax treatment that puts U.S. firms at a disadvantage and chide Republicans for neglecting investments in education, infrastructure, and workforce training that could help workers who have been left behind in a globalized economy."

After blaming government for not giving them enough tax breaks or spending enough taxpayer money, some CEOs expressed bafflement that government relations are poor. GE chief executive Jeff Immelt, a frequent target of Sen. Bernie Sanders, told investors in February that ties between big business and government are "the worst I have ever seen," and he says his peers overseas — where, surely, citizens are covered by government-run health care and pay little for college, as Sanders proposes — are bewildered by the direction of American politics.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.