There really is something utterly bizarre about our political culture at the moment. The economy is currently experiencing an unusual combination of huge corporate profits alongside mass unemployment. A Democratic administration created the conditions for those profits by addressing the the economic crisis in a way that did the least possible harm to corporate America. And yet he finds himself called upon to repeatedly apologize to corporate America:
In a session with 20 chief executives, including the heads of Google, General Electric and American Express, Obama - whose sharp rhetoric about pay on Wall Street has annoyed some executives - declared, "I want to dispel any notion we want to inhibit your success," according to a source in the room. ...
Apparently the issue is that, despite the objectively pro-business cast of Obama's policies, he has infuriated the CEO class by occasionally pointing out that businessmen can make mistakes. You would think business would care about the bottom line, but businessmen want also to be loved.
Karl Rove again takes to the Wall Street Journal op-ed page to complain that Obama is too mean to business:
His push for health-care reform was marked by frequent attacks on insurance companies. He depicted them as gluttonous profit-seekers intent on sticking it to their customers. He went after them with loaded words: They "discriminated," "rationed care . . . denied coverage" and were "bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor."
After his bill passed, the president kept it up. "This is no secret," Mr. Obama said in March. Health insurers are "telling their investors this: We are in the money; we are going to keep on making big profits even though a lot of folks are going to be put under hardship." Even physicians found themselves in Mr. Obama's crosshairs for ordering needless but costly tests just to enrich themselves.
Amazing. All these things Obama said about the industry are completely true. (As Obama has said, these terrible practices don't result from immorality but by a terrible system that creates an incentive to engage in awful behavior.) But business has fashioned a political correctness that stigmatizes the telling of even basic truths about it, lest feelings be hurt. Are the titans of American industry really so sensitive?