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. vic

    American dream is own home not a toxic asset.
    Wall street force us have to toxic asset republicans opposing the reform SAD
    Nearly 40 millions doesn’t’ have credit score get a loan this trouble news to build economy back
    Top of that republicans want to send 11 million illegal immigrants who will take care the rental property
    Republicans doesn’t want raise the tax to wealthiest
    How we can raise money reduce the deficit

    I don’t want to listen election year slogan from republicans need real solutions

    July 25, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Gymo

    The "song of the Robber Barons = First you rob us, then you complain that we won't let you rob us again.

    July 25, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. thank a Globalist if you dont have a job.

    We would like to take this time to thank all the rightwing bloggers here for inspiring us to vote in November,and never elect another republican to office again.

    July 25, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. vp

    That was incredibly disingenuous, Mr. Forbes, after what Wall Street just handed America.

    My taxes did not go down during the Bush years, and my pay never got raised, my bills went up and my employment choices went down.

    My retirement fund was gutted.

    How are YOUR finances looking Mr. Forbes?

    Pretty darn good, I'd guess.

    July 25, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Mesa Mick

    ...former Republican presidential hopeful...

    And you would expect something constructive to be said by this guy?

    July 25, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. aunt Bea and Opie

    If this is Socialism,we will take it over Corporate Fascism anyday.

    July 25, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Doyle Wiley, MI

    If the President is anti-business. Then Businesses are against the American people.

    July 25, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. chris

    Forbes said it was unfair of Obama to take the excesses of some on Wall Street and punish all of them for it. But apparently it is perfectly alright for the excesses of some on Wall Street to devaste the economy of the entire country and cause of millions of people to lose their jobs, their savings, and their homes.

    Regulations are not punishment. They are there only to prevent excess and abuse.

    July 25, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. vic

    “India has come up with the world's cheapest laptop, a touch-screen computing device that costs $35 the Linux based computing device was expected to be introduced to higher education institutions from 2011 but the aim was to drop the price further to $20 and ultimately to $10.
    India spends about three percent of its annual budget on school education and has improved its literacy rates to over 64% of its 1.2 billion population” This form FOX business

    Education is part of economy. Will our leaders get this.

    July 25, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. welches, oregon

    Little Stevie Forbes with his failed Presidential bids and telling us how we should think while he lives in his multi million dollar homes and could care less about business or the American People – only that his millions won't get a 'fair' tax. What a slob.

    July 25, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. welches, oregon

    Who's against little business? Oh, that's right – BIG business. Face it folks, these filthy wealthy corporate people want it all – of what little we have left.

    Vote NO to the Party of NO in NOvember.

    July 25, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Another Reformed Republican

    The national Chamber of Congress wants to forget the excesses of business and to forgive those businesses that shipped their manufacturing plants overseas.

    The top republican in the House would better serve Americans by spending less time in tanning beds and more time providing solutions to the problems Americans face.

    As for Mr. Forbes, he is just the puppet of Rupert Murdoch. If big business would control its excesses there would not be a need for strict regulation, however, big business has proven time and again that it is incapable of suppressing its greed and unethical behavior.

    Millionaires like Mr. Forbes believe they should be able to indulge their greed at the expense of those less fortunate.

    July 25, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. jim

    For all the people making negative comments about Steve Forbes saying this.Take a look at the real world .Most of the business community is saying the same thing. And if you don't want to listen this economy will remain in the toilet.!!!!

    July 25, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. welches, oregon

    I think the argument that "Tax Cuts for the Rich Create Jobs" has been pretty well debunked –

    Create jobs overseas where labor is dirt cheap, produce crap products and then sell these back to the american people with jacked up prices – that's the Republican way.

    How's that trickly dickly DOWN thing workin' out for ya'all?

    July 25, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. John

    When big business is against humanity it makes sense that Obama would put the average person before such companies. Big business isn't innovative anyway, they in license everything, and then they inflate the price. If business had morals they wouldn't ship their factories to foreign countries where human rights don't exist (low wages, poor working conditions), they wouldn't overcharge for mediocre services (cable internet, flight industry), they wouldn't destroy the environment (BP, rainforest destruction), and on and on. Forbes is unfortunately obsessed with money.

    July 25, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. one voice

    Obama is against BIG BUSINESS that ship OUR jobs oversees for lower wages and intentionally dodging taxes. Big Business isn't hiring now because they want President Obama to fail. These MEGA RICH CLOWNS need to pull their weight and pay their fair share in taxes. Let the tax breaks for the top 2% of population expire(Bush jammed them do our throats), their free ride is over at the expence of the American Taxpayer and OUR National DEPT.

    July 25, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. valwayne

    Obama and the Democrats hate business except when they are taking political donations from them. All they love is Government. Our Government is now so far left wing you have to wonder when they are going to come out with a 5 year plan for the economy like the old Soviet Unions. And we know how well those worked. After the failulre of the corrupt stimulous bill and the rest of the corrupt spending you would think Obama and the Democrats would pause in growing the size and control Government has over the rest of us, but they don't.

    July 25, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. John B

    It's not BIG business, it's all business you morons. You know: landscapers, restaurant owners, dry cleaners, machine shops, auto mechanics. Your neighbors! This is NOT about Wall Street. 90% of all businesses in the US are "small businesses" as defined by the SBA. This pointy-headed community organizer masquerading as president has no clue how America runs and saddles your neighbors with this regulatory excess and taxes.

    July 25, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Adalbert

    Just more republican propaganda.

    July 25, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Justin

    It's laughable that people actually trust the government to set regulations to prevent excess and abuse. If you actually believe that the government is less greedy and less corrupt than big business you need your head examined. They can't even balance a budget (Bush and Obama administrations) or actually pay for social programs and wars that they vote for (if they would actually vote). Stand up in Nov and demand a government that represents the people not their gross and negligent social programs or wars.

    July 25, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. American

    President Obama "calls out" the corruption that has plaqued the business industry for years and has made them rich, while main street has suffered; and this makes the President anti-business. This is ludicrous !

    These two clowns/idiots – Mort Zuckerman and Steve Forbes – are what's wrong with American. I am so sick of fools like these getting air time. I hope they get rooted out !!!

    July 25, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. A proud American

    I think we made our message loud and clear November 2008. So why is the right wing lug nuts acting as if they are just now getting it? The President elect said what he was going to make it happen and that is what is happening. We voted for this president for that very reason. There will be regulation on Wall Street and big business, currently trying to pass a bill that would give small business a passage to grow as well. I dont feel sorry your only able to make 90 million this year versus 130 million. .....IF PRESIDENT OBAMA IS AGAINST BUSINESS, IT IS BECAUSE BUSINESS IS AGAINST MIDDLE CLASS AMERICA.


    July 25, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Minesh - troy, MI

    It is amazing that the left wing liberals are so naive! Private sector success creates more jobs. During Bush era unemployment was 6%. Today it is more like 10%.

    Mort and Forbes are on the opposite sides of political ideology and they both agree that Obama is anti–business.

    July 25, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Pretzel Logic

    Mr. Forbes still believes the lie that trickle down economics is great for us "little people". If we just allow he and his friends to buy lots of luxury items, eventually the rest of America will get the scraps. Gimme a break. You really think a man whose magazine's brand line is "Capitalist Tool" is going to approve of anything the Obama administration does?

    July 25, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. Carol Myers

    Jim- 18% more now do not pay taxes. They pay no taxes because they are not earning enough. They are living at or below the poverty level. You try to live on min. wage and to want to not let them even eat.
    Carol Oh.

    July 25, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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