One of the things I take great pride in is the fact that I do not base my opinions on hear say. When I find a piece of opinion journalism, I always go back to the source the piece is based on. Every once in a while I'm tempted to slack off a little. Especially when the opinion I’m reading is one I agree with.
This has been the case recently in regards to President Obama's recently published interview with Business Week magazine. Like most people I'd heard the highlights. Especially his reply to the question about what CEO's did he admire. And it would have been very tempting to have just ranted along with my fellow Progressives. But instead I chose to actually read the article for myself. And I came up with something much scarier than anything I’ve heard discussed about the interview so far.
First there is this quote on page four of the interview,
"After what we have gone through, surely nobody in the business community thinks that the status quo, in terms of how we regulate the financial system, is adequate. I can’t believe that there is anybody who is running a business out there who thinks that 60-to-1 leverage and folks making $100 million bonuses based on gambles on derivatives, takes comfort in that kind of system."
Wow! You have no idea how glad I am that I was not drinking something the first time I read that. I'm pretty sure spitting Shasta Cola all over my Acer Aspire One Netbook, is not good for it's long term health. Honestly? I had to re-read the paragraph several times before I could even fully accept that I had not misread it somehow. If Obama really believes what he's said above, for even one attosecond, then he is official the most naive President this country has ever had. Because I can pretty much guarantee that there are plenty of people in the business community who are just fine with the status quo. Why? Because they got bailed out. Because they did not lose their jobs, or their homes, or anything else. In most cases they didn't even lose their ridiculously huge bonuses. Personally I would tend to think that someone as savvy as Obama would grasp the simple fact that the reason that the too big to fail crowd accuses his administration of being "anti business" every time they talk about even the lightest of regulations, precisely because they are just fine with the status quo. In fact if many of them are against the status quo it’s because they want less regulation not more.
But then I read on shaking my head all the while and I came to a paragraph on the last page, page six that made me start to wonder if Obama really is the naive one in the mix,
"The last point I want to make with respect to just our policies on business, generally, and this goes to your first question about the perception of us being anti-business: This year I will sign legislation that will cut corporate taxes by about $70 billion—their tax obligations will be reduced by about 10% because of bonus depreciation and some other steps that we intend to take. This notion, somehow, that we have been putting this enormous tax burden on business is just not true. It is not supported by the facts."
So let me see if I'm understanding this, because while reading comprehension is usually one of my strong suits, every once in a while I manage to miss something. The businesses who helped to nearly collapse our economy, the ones that got bailed out and received not one penalty of any kind, the ones who are paying their top executives millions of dollars in bonuses, while many of the rest of us have lost our jobs, or had our hours cut, these businesses need tax cuts? And they are getting these cuts in part because of "Bonus Depreciation"? Yet earlier in the article Obama says that small businesses need tax cuts more than large ones do to encourage them to hire more workers etc.? So what exactly is the point of giving these cuts to large businesses? Some of which are certain to be the same mega banks that helped cause this mess in the first place. The same banks about which in a recent speech in Ohio Obama had said,
"(T)here will be more fights in the days ahead. We’re having one of them right now – because I want to charge Wall Street a modest fee to repay taxpayers in full for saving their skin in a time of need. You can rest assured, we’re going to get that money – your money – back, each and every dime."
So, you place a "modest" fee on them, say three percent, maybe five, which the banks will turn right around and recoup by passing it on to their customers, while at the same time giving them a ten percent tax reduction? And that's assuming that the aforementioned modest fee even manages to make it into law. And further assuming that the ten percent doesn’t become fifteen or twenty.
Well for those who are willing to take the time and read the article all the way through, I'd say this definitely answers the question of who's side Obama is on, the Working and Middle Class, or the Corporatocracy. But it leaves us with a much more troubling question to ponder. Is Obama naive? Or does he believe we all are. Neither answer is particularly reassuring.
Keep The Faith My Brothers And Sisters!
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday compared President Obama’s handshake with Cuban leader Raul Castro to Neville Chamberlain shaking hands with Adolph Hitler.