Obama And Business: The New Odd-Couple
Two years into the Obama administration, and with millions of jobs lost, the President has decided it’s time to talk to business leaders about what to do about the economy. Pretty startling isn’t it?
The President has sat down repeatedly with Union leaders, but not with the people who control employment. Why? Because they are evil. They are paid too much. They don’t pay enough in taxes. They don’t share enough of their gifts.
So why is he doing it?
President Obama has finally realized that he has zero chance to get re-elected if the unemployment rate doesn’t fall drastically in the next 20 months. It’s not that he actually cares one way or the other about the unemployed. Even he is aware that he’s at a distinct disadvantage with the majority of the population unhappy with his left-wing agenda. H needs successes in areas the people care about, and unemployment tops that list.
But is Obama open to doing what businesses need him to do to create a more favorable climate for businesses? Or is he trying to sell them a bill of goods? Is he trying to convince U.S. businesses that the economy is strengthening and that he’s doing all it can to create an environment for businesses to flourish? Unfortunately the latter. And that’s going to be a very hard sell. Businesses aren’t going to believe he’s suddenly pro-business when all his actions have been the opposite.
The first step in selling his “I feel your pain,” story was to hire Bill Daley as chief of staff. It’s actually a fairly decent appointment and Daley would be the first person to join the Obama administration that has any concept of pro-business policies. However, Daley is Chief of Staff and his Treasury Secretary is about as anti-business as it comes. Firing Timothy Geithner is at least as important as hiring Daley, but that’s not in the works as far as we know. There is likely to be serious friction between Geithner and Daley, and unfortunately the referee is Barak Obama. Get the picture? So do business leaders.
Instead of selling positive words about the economy to the business leaders, Obama should be asking them, “What can my administration do to foster business growth?” But to do that, Obama has to be able to admit that he doesn’t know the first thing about businesses and unfortunately humility isn’t in his playbook. At this point my only piece of advice is: Don’t hold your breath.