Disrespect And Uncertainty
I know this is probably beating a dead horse and meaningless in the context of the lawlessness that currently overwhelms us, but you really have to marvel at the current levels of hypocrisy in so many areas. You might remember back in the day when business leaders were constantly complaining that Obama didn’t respect them and was clueless about their supposedly enormous contributions to the country. Some CEOs even blamed his attitude on the sluggish post-financial crash recovery as well as harping on the fact that the Obama administration wasn’t providing the certainty that was required for them to invest. Those complaints were obviously picked up and amplified by Republican politicians.
Well, Trump has spent virtually his entire presidency attacking business leaders and their companies with whom he has had some beef. He has threatened those businesses with increased regulation, removal of subsidies and tax breaks, and even unfounded investigations and prosecutions.
The latest of these attacks comes against General Motors which is laying off around 14,000 workers and shuttering a number of US and Canadian plants. Trump demanded that GM “better damn well open a new plant there very quickly” and threatened that there would be a “problem” if that didn’t happen. He then followed that up with a threat to “all GM subsidies including electric cars”. Republicans have pitched in with attacks on GM management. On Morning Joe, Ohio Republican Mike Turner blamed the layoffs entirely on mismanagement by the leadership at GM.
Needless to say, business leaders are largely silent on these attacks. There is no talk of being disrespected or attacked by Trump. There are few complaints, mostly from small business owners, about the costs imposed by Trump’s tariffs. There is no worry that Trump’s threats are creating “uncertainty”. There is no pushback against Republican attacks on CEOs’ poor management. Those leaders got their enormous corporate tax cut and are just taking that money to the bank.
On the other hand, you can imaging the outcry if these similar tactics had actually been employed by Obama. The screams of “socialism” and “government takeover of business” would have deafening. The only thing deafening today, however, is the silence of the business community.
The lesson, of course, is that the business complaints against Obama never should have been taken seriously to begin with. Business leaders were not feeling disrespected and their business decisions were not colored by any uncertainty created by the Obama administration. What they were really feeling was the fear that the gravy train they had all been feasting on for the last three or four decades might actually be coming to an end. Too bad it couldn’t have been reported that way.