In an "analysis" piece by the New York Times’ David Sanger, we learn the astonishing fact that Barack Obama is in danger of being perceived (by him) as overly hostile to large corporations who wreck the economy, the nation’s health or its Gulf Coast.
But it’s not just the BP escrow matter. Sanger essentially makes up a story that Obama is in danger of becoming the slayer of corporations. On which planet? It makes you wonder how Wall Street, health insurers and PhRMA survived the onslaught.
Sanger then gives credence to cynical Republican talking points about how the Administration is inherently anti-business and favors government takeovers of the economy. The truth is, no Democratic administration has worked as hard to capture corporate America’s campaign funding while shielding it from populist pitchforks. Larry Summers told us huge TBTF banks are essential to economic stability, for heaven’s sake.
Then Sanger lets Rahm Emanuel spin him into incoherence on who Obama is. But Sanger can’t hide his worrying about Obama’s threat to a vulnerable corporate America. Just read these closing paragraphs:
It is in the “master” role [referring to FDR's desire to be the "master" overcoming corporate misbehavior], however, that Mr. Obama and his advisers know he is on dangerous ground. He has responded to his critics by making the case that every time American business predicted ruin from government intervention — that “Social Security would lead to socialism, and that Medicare was a government takeover” — American capitalism survived.
It did. But just as Mr. Obama’s fortunes last year depended on a G.M. turnaround, his fortunes this year depend on demonstrating that the health care legislation that he pushed through both reduces costs for the consumers and saves taxpayers money.
And his fortunes over the next two years depend, in part, on showing that he can both turn off the spigot of oil in the gulf and turn on the spigot of aid — out of the coffers of BP’s shareholders.
Earth to David Sanger. The MOTU aren’t the slightest bit concerned about Obama becoming their "master." The clear-eyed rational ones know he bailed them out and saved their bonuses, while his economic team has been working hard to keep financial reform from changing Wall Street’s basic structure, cutting it down to size or limiting its trading activities too much. He’s not imposing more Social Security and Medicare on anyone; his Deficit Commission is instead working to cut benefits in the name of deficit hysteria. Obama didn’t threaten the health insurance industry or the drug makers; he created a mandatory market for their products that will flow trillions through their coffers.
And there isn’t a word in the President’s energy proposals that poses the slightest threat to Big Oil/Gas, Big Coal, or the nuclear industry. Most would get billions in subsidies to extend their dominance in what is euphemistically called "the transition."
Given this actual record, Sanger’s final admonition to Obama is astonishing:
Along the way, he will have to avoid painting with such a broad brush that foreign and domestic investors come to view the United States as a too risky place to do business, a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.
So according to the New York Times’ David Sanger, Americans should worry when corporations are vilified and have to suspend dividends when they behave in a criminally negligent manner, repeatedly kill employees, destroy the environment and put whole communities out of work. Sanger thinks Obama should worry they might decide not to do business in America if we object.
Uh, no. We want them to pay up, shape up, or go to jail; if not, then leave. Americans should instead worry that corporations who behave that badly are allowed to do business here and escape responsibility. And that’s true no matter who’s President.