Obama: The Best “Enemy” Money Can Buy

Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn joins the long list of CEOs calling Barack Obama “anti-business,” denouncing him as “the greatest wet blanket to business, progress and job creation in my lifetime.” Obama’s rhetoric is the kind of thing we hear only from “pure socialists.”

In February 3M CEO George Buckley called Obama’s instincts “Robin Hood-esque” and Obama himself “anti-business.”  In April right-wing billionaire and libertarian sugar daddy Charles Koch accused Obama of being an “egalitarian” who’d “internalized some Marxist models.” His brother, David Koch, added that he’d come under “anti-business, anti-free enterprise influences.” In May another CEO, Jim McNerney, accused Obama of a “fundamental assault on the capitalist principles that have sustained America’s competitiveness since it became the world’s largest economy nearly 140 years ago.”

Actually, Obama is very much in the proud tradition of corporatist collusion between big business and big government on which the modern American economy was founded — by a rogues’ gallery of war profiteers and corporate welfare queens — 140 years ago. McNerney’s “capitalist principles” can be deduced from the business model of the company he heads: Boeing is very much a creature of the permanent warfare state.

Like the rest of them — including David Koch, who as a self-proclaimed “libertarian” should know better — McNerney doesn’t quite grasp the distinction between “anti-business” and “anti-market.” Obama is indeed anti-market. But he has a lot of company, most notably these pigs at the corporate trough who talk the most about the wonders of the “free market” in public and try to destroy it in private.

Never mind academic liberals and “progressive” politicians. Of course they’re anti-market. But they’re just hired help who’ve uncritically absorbed an ideology manufactured for public consumption by the CEOs and plutocrats. Dupes, in other words. Useful idiots.

The anti-market people who really count in the United States are all five hundred Fortune 500 CEOs and all four hundred or so billionaires. They spend most of their time scheming with government to throw a monkey wrench into the market, because without all the entry barriers, cartels, artificial property rights and artificial scarcity enforced by the state their monopoly rents would evaporate in a competitive market and they’d have to work for a living.

On the other hand, just how “anti-business” is Obama?

Despite the “anti-Wall Street” rhetoric that so chagrins all those grumbling CEOs, Obama’s TARP program — like Bush’s — amounts to using taxpayer money to inflate the bad assets of the big banks so they don’t have to mark them down to market value. After berating the health insurance companies, Obama pushed through a taxpayer-funded corporate welfare program for them just like Bush’s Medicare D gift to the drug companies. Man, I wish I had an enemy like that.

The Treasury Secretaryship has become a Goldman-Sachs Endowed Chair. Obama and Biden make “intellectual property” policy from the office — or maybe from on the lap — of Disney CEO Roger Iger. It’s hard to tell whether all the Assistant and Deputy Secretaries at the USDA are on their way to, or their way from, positions in the C-Suites and Boards at Cargill, ADM and Monsanto. “Executive Committee of the Ruling Class” has ceased to be a picturesque phrase from Marx; now it’s a rather prosaic description of Obama’s cabinet.

I wish Obama was as anti-Kevin Carson as he is “anti-business.” He can make as many speeches as he wants about how unethical I am, and how it was my greed and irresponsibility that got us into this mess — just as long as he turns around and says “Here’s a check for $100 billion, Kevin.”

So either Wynn et al are stupid, or they’re liars. Based on what I’ve seen of the CEOs at all the companies I’ve ever worked for, I’d guess both.

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