July 25th, 2010
12:05 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama is anti-business, Forbes and Zuckerman say


Mort Zuckerman, left, and Steve Forbes, right, spoke out in an interview that aired Sunday about the president's relationship with the business community. (Photo Credit: CNN)

Washington (CNN) – Just days after President Obama signed landmark legislation increasing oversight of Wall Street, he is again being slammed for being anti-business.

Asked about recent perceptions among business leaders that Obama is not in their corner, Steve Forbes, chairman and CEO of Forbes, Inc., agreed with that assessment.

Related video: Forbes, Zuckerman on the economy, Obama, the business community

“Well, the president clearly is [anti-business],” Forbes, a former Republican presidential hopeful, said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “I mean you can take excesses [of some on Wall Street] and tar the whole business community, which is like taking election fraud and saying that's why we shouldn't have free elections. He caricatures them, and you saw it in that letter that his top aides sent to the Business Roundtable saying our doors are open even to the business community.”

Forbes told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that the Obama administration would do well to heed some of the business community’s concerns.

“The business community employs 110 million people; companies and the people who work with them pay most of the taxes in this country. That's where the innovation comes from,” he said.

“So whenever business talks about the need for a stable currency, about the need for a better tax code, they always say, oh, well they're always whining, that's what they always want as if there's some dog that keeps barking or baby crying on an airplane instead of dealing with the substance of the thing. And that is: when you have a tax environment where you don't punish success, where you don't trample on the rule of laws – as they did with Chrysler and other situations - where you can trust the currency, where you're not going to have massive, thousands of new rules come and hit you, and you have no idea what they're going to be, they don't take that stuff seriously. They just think they're a bunch of greedy crybabies, and the business community is reacting to that.”

Mort Zuckerman, a prominent supporter of Obama's campaign and the editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report, told Crowley that he believes Obama’s rhetoric when it comes to the business community runs counter to the kind of confidence the economy needs right now to turn itself around.

“I'm not saying that Washington hasn't tried to do some good things,” Zuckerman told Crowley. “They've also done some things that I think are really, really very, very counter to trying to get this economy growing.

“One of them is not only regulation, but expensive regulation. The other is - and they've done something here that affects everybody's confidence in the attitudes of this administration to the business community and to the economy - they've demonized the business world; they've blamed everything on the business world. Frankly, I don't think that's accurate, but more than that, it's counterproductive to what this administration wants, which is a much more optimistic and confident business community.”

As passage of the Wall Street reform bill seemed imminent, the White House began battling the perception that it is anti-business. The top Republican in the House recently called for a moratorium on new federal regulations as a way to provide more certainty to businesses and the Chamber of Commerce, one of the key national voices on behalf of business interests, slammed the White House for not doing enough to create jobs. In a letter posted on its website, the chamber said the Obama administration "vilified industries while embarking on an ill-advised course of government expansion, major tax increases, massive deficits and job-destroying regulations."

Updated: 6:28 p.m.

soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Sunny

    Would you like some cheese to go with that Whine Mr. Forbes?

    July 25, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. independent

    So let's see, sale of second homes are up by 8%, doesn't sound like the wealthy are hurting much.
    The GAO says that 3/4 of corporations pay NO taxes. Doesn't sound like businesses are paying their share.
    Tax rates for the top 10% are at historic lows.
    The gap between the riches and poorest is widening dangerously.
    Real income for the middle class is declining.
    The middle class has moved from needing one salary, to two salaries, and in the future two-plus salaries. Children will be required to pay back parents before they can build their own homestead.

    What planet is Forbes from?

    July 25, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. kd

    Oh, PLEASE! What an absolutely dumb thing to say. Obama is anti-business?!?

    Forbes, the useless, wants business to make 200% profits every quarter at the expense of everyone else. Obama sees the need for sustaining profits over the long haul. Maybe they won't be 200%, but they will be profits and the country will be healthier under Obama and the Dem's stewardship than the crazy, I-got-mine-screw-you Republicans.

    SO tired of the lies from the right.

    July 25, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Go USA!

    Remember, the GOP tells you they are going to screw you, they screw you, then they convince you that you liked it and it was good for you!

    We raised taxes, created jobs, and paid down the debt under Clinton, this proved that deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, and trickledown economics do not work!

    The GOP has tried them three times and they failed all three times. They have almost eliminated the middle class in their attempt to make these failed policies work...

    Anyone who votes Tea Party or GOP is a fool. GOP policies brought our country to the brink of a depression, nearly destroyed the middle class, and bankrupted our nation. And now they want to do it all over again? Ridiculous! Don’t let the GOP screw you again, don’t be a fool, vote Democrat this fall…

    July 25, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Rick Smith

    I am watching State of the Union with Candy Crawly and find myself dismayed with the complete docility she displays. Candy allows Mr. Forbes, and the other guy to express there opinions and apparently accepts them as facts without question or challenge. She plays 3 soundbites from President Obama about the Wall Street bums who caused our crisis and seems to agree with Forbes that he is demonizing ALL American business. Not true. But Candy and CNN are promoting this monstrous lie on national TV. What's the agenda of your producer?

    July 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Steve Forbes inherited his wealth – how can he possibly relate to the Middle Class and what it feels like to be one lay-off away from losing your health care and your house?

    July 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Yasmine

    Forbes is owed by Rupert Murdoch.. and Rupert Murdoch owes Fox....connect the dots folks

    July 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    Fascist Scumbag.

    July 25, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Forbes and his ilk love to complain about regulation, but you know what? Without regulation, we wouldn't have clean air or water; we wouldn't have workplace safety standards; we wouldn't have safe toys and children's products; heck, we wouldn't have seat belts!

    Why? Because businesses didn't want to do these things because they cost money! Well, tough, the rest of the world doesn't exist for businesses to abuse for the sake of making the almight buck!

    Besides, there are plenty of businesses that succeed, even as they are regulated.

    The market is regulated, Forbes, and if you can't make it in that environment, then you don't deserve to be in business!

    July 25, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. jim

    And 18% more Americans pay no tax when compared to how many paid taxes in 2001. Let's get everyone to pay taxes and see where that takes us.

    July 25, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. Denny

    I'm not sure Obama means to be anti-business, it's just the only way he knows from his ideological, community organizer background that doesn't include any real-world experience. He and the rest of the liberal Dems are absolutely the wrong thinkers to be in charge of the country. I'm looking forward to all that changing Nov. 2.

    July 25, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. Corwin7

    So what are you gonna do Mr. Mulitmillionaire? Hoard your capital and refuse to hire anyone in America and hope we re-elect the bought and paid for republican reich you had for 8 years under the Bush administration? Because that went so well?!?!?! The hard cold truth the so called conservatives never seem to want to address is the fact that %90 of that "big government" they say they hate so much is directly attributed to the self absorbed and shamlessly greedy way corporate america conducts itself without oversight...right?

    July 25, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. REG in AZ

    Forbes is ridiculous and caters to the very wealthy. Some common sense: One thing Bush-Cheney proved beyond any shadow of a doubt – the 'trickle down' theory is a fraud! Giving more to those who already spend whatever they want does not create jobs and does not help the overall economy. If it did then we would have to be in great shape as that is all Bush-Cheney did, catered to Special Interests and the extremely wealthy, their strong supporters. What has to be realized is that when giving more money to the poor and middle class it gets spent quickly and does stimulate the overall economy, including creating profits for businesses and investors (the wealthy). Then, and not before, businesses and the wealthy invest more because the economy supports it. The reality is that as the middle class goes the economy goes. Touting giving more to the wealthy is a deception the wealthy of course want to sell and the politicians use to solicit contributions and support.

    July 25, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Bertina

    If business are so scared because they have to be regulated and taxed to ensure they don't create another bubble, then too bad.

    They continually lie about why this economy isn't growing, part of the reason is that the tax cuts aren't sustainable anymore than other spending.

    July 25, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Sri S

    Mr. Forbes has to read Freefall and will know that Obama is as much pro business and wall st as his predecessor was...Stop cherry picking...thank god you didn't stand a chance to become the President.

    July 25, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Tanja Carroll

    I watched this.

    Forbes is Anti-American Citizen.

    He feels that corporations should have more rights than the American Citizen.

    Sorry….I live in the country of “We The People” not “we the corporations” and to use the argument that corporations employ over 100 million Americans reeks of entitlement and even sounds a bit like extortion. As if he was saying “ Do what WE want you to do or we will move elsewhere.”

    Corporations need to remember…they may employ over 100 million Americans but it is only with the support of the entire American Population that corporations exist.

    I would be perfectly happy with an up swing of Small Family Owned Businesses and a downsizing of big corporations. I would even be happy paying 10%-15% more for products and services from a local small family business rather that feed this corporate greed machine.

    July 25, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Rowe

    Steve Forbes ran for the Republican nomination for President twice (1996 and 2000). If you ask him if he likes ANYTHING that Obama does, I don't know why it's newsworthy that he'd say "no."

    As for "recent perceptions among business leaders that Obama is not in their corner" you should back a statement like that up with a little evidence. If you're talking about press releases or open letters from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, again I don't know why it's newsworthy that they're against Obama. The USCC is a partisan group that rents its roof out to Fox News, and spends hundreds of millions each year lobbying government and campaigning against Democrats. Ironically, with money that was donated from companies that were BAILED OUT by taxpayers.

    July 25, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Greg Hodges

    I am so sick and tired of all this God-foraken whining from the Wall Street/ Big Business crowd about having to pay taxes, I could puke. Are they going to pave highways, build bridges, pay for the U.S. massive military budget,etc.,etc.? No; they are going to take their annual obscene profit margin and stick it in their blueblood pockets like they always do. Are you down to your last yacht or mansion Stevie boy? Cry me a river. Where the gap between rich and poor keeps growing and growing; I don`t know if I should laugh or cry over this obscenity of greed that is running rampant; thank`s to the conservative bully boy tactics that seem to have all the say in your sad sick land of "Greed is Good" society these days. God SAVE the U.S.A.!!

    July 25, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Dennis

    Denny, I hope you really like getting screwed over like you did with 8 years of Bush. Do you realize that you now owe the Government $45,000 because of deficit spending, 90% of that incurred under Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2. You are one brainless idiot.

    July 25, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. jean2009

    Greedy is the best definition for Forbes. Right at the present this country needs the rich to pay a fair share. He is ranting about paying the difference between 33 cents or 36 cents per every dollar earned over $250,000 that he can't find a loophole to write off. That is a difference of 3 cents. Wonderful I'll trade and gladly pay the 3 cents.

    July 25, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. thor

    The proof is in the pudding.Unfortunatelly,most businessmen had their heads in a rather dark place in the election and bought the media hype and now we are paying a price for our mistake.

    July 25, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. JES

    Ya think Obama is anti evrything tha has to do with freedom the way we know it.

    When will everyone wake up and see that Obama and the DEM's have their own agenda and doesn't include the voters. The will not listen to what we are saying.

    They want bigger government and higher taxes to pay for all their wasteful spending.

    July 25, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Amy

    cnn, you got your right and left mixed up.

    July 25, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. CJ Joseph

    Community organizer as President, yeah that's a good one...

    July 25, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Jack


    Mr. Forbes, you sound like you are running for office again

    July 25, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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