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. GL

    “They just think they're a bunch of greedy crybabies, and the business community is reacting to that,” he said.

    “If they took that health care bill, financial reform bill, suspended it for three years, left the tax code alone for two years, three years, you'd see this economy roar up and you’d see the stock market immediately go up 20 percent.”

    These greedy CEO have to nerve to want more year of tax cuts give me a break!

    July 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. jeremy..Big D..Tx

    We should start taxing outsourced products that can be produced locally. I am personally tired of overseas call centers who hardly solve my problems. True conservativism protects our constitution and the rights of local production. No more tax breaks for companies shipping jobs abroad.

    July 25, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. jstmyview

    Just consider the source and what he really represents.

    Folks we have millions of people out of work. I would be willing to bet 90% of those are ready, willing and able to go back to work, given the chance. I am not talking about part time "Wal-Mart" type jobs. It is the Republicans that want to keep labor cheap, no benefits, and close to slave labor. Why do you think all the Big Corporations donate to the "Republicans". Let's get to work and rebuild this Infrastructure, and do it on time and under budget the right way. There are hundreds of thousands skilled craftsmen ready to do it.

    July 25, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. Bob in PA

    Obama's ideal world is a collective where everyone gets "same same" except for those within the party elite. Wake up people, smell what BO and his minions are shoveling.

    July 25, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. JIlli

    That's exactly what I'd expect two millionaires to say. In my opinion, the Obama administration is pro working people, not anti-business.

    The incomes of folks like forbes and zuckerman have grown exponentially over the last decade, whereas the incomes of the majority – working people – have actually declined 4.5%.

    I'll take Obama's side on this issue – he's for the majority, whereas the republicans and these two folks are looking out for the top 2%.

    Yep, easy decision, I'll take Obama's viewpoint and support him.

    July 25, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |

    I agree with you that Obama is anti-business, Forbes and Zuckerman say. However, Owebummer has a relationship with a lot of rich business men to play golf and to make funderraising money for himself.

    July 25, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. steven harnack

    The if you just give the rich more money they will let some of it trickle down to the workers is the biggest insult to the people since Marie Antoinette said let 'em eat cake!

    July 25, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. John from Brooklyn

    Mr Forbes....the 80's called...they'd like their trickle down theory back.

    July 25, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Julian E, AZ

    The last time I read one of the oil companies had an income tax refund. This is a fact. Internal Revenue actually cut them a refund check because they qualified to pay no tax despite the multi-billion dollar profits recorded in two straight quarters when Americans were paying through their nose for gas. That's what Republicans want: Tax cuts for the rich.

    July 25, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. blemberg

    WHERE ARE THE JOBS. Businesses create them not government. This administration is anti-business and that is why no job creation. Furthermore, with the planned tax increases, there will still be NO JOB CREATION>

    July 25, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Larry

    Ho Hum ...

    More criticism from the right against, AMERICANS CHOICE AS THE BEST MAN TO LEAD THIS COUNTRY, out of the mess they led us into

    Yawn ... wake me when he's done talking

    July 25, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Charlie in Maine

    No sir he is anti-monkey business. Well regulated business is the backbone of our nation. It is not socialism to tell you folks what the limits are.Sometimes Forbes (and a lot of big business types are like a bunch of 8th graders. (No offense to any 8th graders out there, you have a good excuse to act like 8th graders) "Nothing is ever their fault, the rules must be for someone else, Everything would be great if you just would let me do wahtever the heck I want, It is easier to pick on someone else than focus attention on what I'm doing wrong"

    Well , as with the 8th graders, some some one has to be the adult here. As we saw during the Bush Error it's not going to be Republicans. Let's give the Democrats a chance to bring some sanity here. Let's give some adult common sense a chance to work.

    July 25, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. 8 Years of having a drunken driver at the wheel put America in the ditch, why would working Americans return the keys to the crowd drinking at the same bar?

    This from the same party that brought America to the brink of economic collapse and would have allowed it to happen had President Obama not won and instituted his stimulus plan.

    "Trickle down" and "voodoo economics" have only made money for the titans of the wealthy, the rest of us have been reduced to serfs.


    July 25, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Paul

    "My friends, we must do everything in our power to help the richest 2 percent of our citizens. Please, call your representative and plead with him or her to take pity on the most well-off in our society. Don't ask the rich to pay up and do their part to combat the deficit. They must have more tax breaks so they can maintain their third homes and their yachts and continue to take at least two expensive vacations per year. Our lives and our economy depend on it. Do not let the tax cuts expire. Please, help the rich." This post makes a lot of sense since it reflects in a humorous way the GOP's , TEA (racist) parties agenda.

    We must not go back to the BUSH-GOP's failed policies that resulted in the loss of 8million jobs and thosands of foreclosures across America. We won't be fooled by the party of NO (the GOP) who left us with a great deficit, unfair tax cuts for the wealthy, a recession and two wars. Should I continue with the list??

    President Obama, please keep standing for the middle class

    God bless our nation and guide you Mr. President to continue doing what is right.

    July 25, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Susie

    If business could be trusted to pay an honest wage, take care of their employees, offer safe working conditions, make a product free of toxic things, and offer their products at a fair price, we wouldn't have needed unions. But the the greedy bosses offered poor working conditions, long hours, no health care, poor pay while they grew rich, and no oversight of the product. So we needed unions and regulations. That is not a hard concept. And if the right, after blindly accepting the lies of Bush about everything, think that we will now turn over the reins again to them because they say "Obama is anti-business," they are sadly mistaken. I think Dems will gain this fall, because the right continues to blather about secession, the 2nd amendment, taxes which are already too low, and on and on. What is wrong with business is that the bosses make far, far more than their workers, and they are unwilling to sacrifice any of their ill-gotten gains for a mere worker. I laugh when I hear the left talked about as "entitled," when it is clearly the truly wealthy on the right who want no changes to their cozy setup. "I earned it, I keep it." Truly Christian, truly American, they would have you believe.

    July 25, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. not rich

    It is ludicrous and a waste of our time for two of the country’s wealthiest men to come on a show and criticize the state of the economy. Both of these super rich individuals have done quite well under every administration because they are at the heart of corporate America and the off-shoring our jobs to poorer nations. These men couldn’t care less about this country and their only interest is the enrichment of their already abundant wealth at the expense of their fellow countrymen. They live in a parallel world that has knows no limits both in terms of consumption and money and I cannot relate to either one of them.

    July 25, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Debby

    Obama can't be anti-buisness he doesn't know what running one is.

    July 25, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. Christian

    I am sick of hearing how Bush catered to special interest. BOTH PARTIES cater to special interest. Furthermore, the president can't put anything into law that is not sent to him by the house & senate. For those that talk about wanting to see more small family business succeed and not the big corporations, it is those small family business that make up the greatest portion of those making more than $250k per year...their eranings run through their individual tax returns. I don't recall hearing all of the complaining when people were getting $500k homes without having to prove they can afford the debt service. I also didn't hear people complaining when they were drawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in home equity to pay for a life style that was beyond their means. The USA is becoming more and more like Atlas Shrugged.

    July 25, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. Steve in North Carolina

    Looks like all the liberal political hacks are out in full force today. Face reality. Obama has no clue what he is doing to this economy because he out his element.

    Look at the polls! The majority of Americans are not fooled by the fingerpointing. He is the Commander in Chief and refuses to take responsiblity for his own inaction. He has the majority of the House and Senate to back him up. Quit making excuses!

    July 25, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    Obama's anti-business? Big corrupt Wall Street business...I hope so. Small business...I don't think so.

    July 25, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Old Folks, Tx

    So, according to Forbes, the Bush years were great!
    Bush has the worst record on employment since the House of
    Representatives has started counting.
    Bush promoted outsourcing as a good thing for America, even
    gave tax breaks to companies who would outsource.
    Congress bailed out Chrysler, just like they did in the 1980s.
    Bush added two wars to the deficit, but hid the costs as
    Banks are hoarding their money, "to increase their capital", while
    at the same time spending billions on bonuses, so they
    won't lose their "top people". Do they mean the ones that got us here?
    Household incomes dropped $1,000 during the Bush years.
    So, enough about Obama, just take us back to deregulation,
    non-negotiated contracts (Halliburton), tax cuts for the rich, which
    by the way, did not do much for recession, the housing boom gets
    credit for that.
    Take us back to bad loans, greed, and "let them eat cake" attitudes.
    In other words, "Let the Good Times Roll", for the very few.

    July 25, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. Hugo

    Okay Libs – I want you to consider this thought and seriously think about what Obama has done. We presently have an unemployment rate of around 20%, that is a guess as the 10% number comes from payroll and new unemployment applications. Our State, local and Federal Government are now the major employers in our Nation. In reality, when you tax a government employee, you are taxing a tax dollar. The only way that scenario could ever be sustainable is to tax at 110%. We must have commerce in the private sector to make our Nation sustainable. At this point the only fix that I see is to cut Government at all levels, initiate regulatory reform of existing law (they don't enforce anyway), expand the anti-trust laws to down size these massive Corporate conglomerates like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, National Home Builders etc., enact some protectionism laws to deal with NAFTA and China and bring the jobs. Of course, this would derail the progressive liberal elitists and their wonder Boy...
    2010 is America's chance to flush the DC commode and 2012 may very well bring some surprises as to who might just step up to LEAD our Nation back to prosperity. America does not need to rule the world, we need to take care of our own and be ready to kick the crap out of any Nation that tries to impose their ideologies upon our populous. America First and that means all of her legal citizens, red, white, blue, black, green, yellow and purple!

    July 25, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. carlos

    repugnants are completely OBLIVIOUS as to the hardships of what was the MIDDLE CLASS........they should be taxed harder so they can feel what WE, the PEOPLE feel......

    July 25, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. mamacoo

    Oh for goodness sakes. We the average Americans are being held hostage by the very rich, big businesses and corporations. If the President does anything that puts reigns on their freedom to screw the middle class and the poor and diminish their profits we will take our jobs and go home. Now they are complaining about the Bush tax cut being allowed to expire. What's the point? What happened to the jobs that were supposed to be created with the initial Bush tax cuts? We have been told that businesses are holding onto their funds, while overworking and underpaying their employees. Why? They want perfect conditions. They want the Obama administration to kowtow to their whims. They want bailouts, perks and assurances that they will continue to get those tax cuts without them having to sacrifice anything. I believe they are afraid that the Obama administration will get rid of all the rules and regulations and perks they had all throughout the Bush administration which allowed them to get richer while the middle class and poor crashed and burned.

    July 25, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Tim J

    I love how you brainwashed, self-proclaimed intellectuals just hate businesses. Would you prefer to make everything on your own? Live in a cave? Have some lazy, unionized government "employee" parasite make your iPhone and Prius for you? Take Econ 101 and then decide if being so anti-business is good for you. Everything is a business. In fact, anything worthwhile that the government has in its possession was created by a contractor (that's a business that won a contract with a government agency).

    July 25, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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