July 25th, 2010
12:05 PM ET
12 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. republicans hate america

    when its not bailing you corporations out by socializing your risky gambling then its anti business.

    July 25, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Lee Bartholomew

    Think the whole moral of the tale of A Christmas Carol has a certain anti biz in it. So yeah Obama is anti business without a soul. Is pro Business with a soul. Comes from Forbes, whatever he says carries very little water.

    July 25, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. normajean

    I'm no economist, so I can't speak at that level, but as an average retired citizen, I would say that if the president is anti-business, it's because he's pro- American. He's caring enough to know that it's your every day family that is hurting in this economy. The business people have outsourced so many jobs that the people have no where to turn if their own job goes under.It's no joke the the middle class is disappearing. The "rich really do get richer and the poor really do get poorer, and those in the middle just disappear..This is America? Not the one I grew up in, went to college got a good job and payed my taxes. My daughter did the same thing and is now unemployed with no where to turn .Nothing but greed,greed at the top.I'd like to tell Mr. Forbes what he can do with his money.

    July 25, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Joy

    Giving small businesses recent tax breaks to help them out and hopefully boost the economy is anti-business??? These two elitist millionaires are slick-talkin' robber barons. Beware.

    July 25, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. yankees74

    It is people like all of you who are making us Independents swing over to the right a little more than usual. Do your research people. The unemployment didn't take off under Bush until Pelosi, Reid, Democrats took over. Just like when Clinton is in office, whom I voted for the second time, the economy didn't take off until the Republicans took over Congress. Thing that people don't understand, and this is why I am Independent, BOTH sides have good ideas and it is the compromise of both parties that makes for good policy. Dems policies are always to the far left and Repubs are always too far to the right. That is why when you have bipartisism, Washington actually works better.

    July 25, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. marxist dogs are out of control

    Business pays most of the taxes in this country and every country.

    Small business provides most of the jobs.

    Follow Mr. Obama's lead to cripple or destroy business just because it gives him some type of odd proletarian pleasure we wind up with Zimbabwe in North America. Grinding poverty eveywhere, And a police state. Reckon that is what Mr. Obama wants with his "armed civilian force, funded equally to the military".

    July 25, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. annie s

    The Chamber of Commerce is an extreme right wing organization, so if they are against Obama's plans, he must be doing someting right.

    July 25, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. samantha

    Forbes is right, just wait and see, the economy will get alot worse then what it is now.

    July 25, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. Gil

    That is why I voted for him and that is what we need to prevent Big Business, Big Oil and Wall Street from ruining America financially. They almost did and what another go at it!

    July 25, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. dominickspez

    Obama just said unemployment will stay above 9%thru 2012--was it really necessary to place a long term timeframe on bad news? It can only justify businesses not hiring when you tell them constantly "Things will get worse before they get better". This has been repeated so often it is destroying optimism in this country. A President should be able to see a brighter future and if not he should step aside for someone that focuses on the positives. I have no idea what drives a man to continue to undermine his own administration, but it seems few know whats going on around them.

    July 25, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Being anti-greed and corruption is not the same thing as being anti-business.

    Believe it or not, there are fiscally and socially-responsible companies out there that are doing just fine. It's not necessary to hide your assets offshore, screw over your lowest-paid, hardest-working staff, or get on TV and whine about how your profits are taking a hit.

    July 25, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Joey

    Obama's socialism is 100% anti-business. Without the private sector, who is paying the taxes to the government? Are the big government jobs creating revenue? Also, the private sector can beat the government at any and all businesses they run! So who really creates the jobs?

    July 25, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. chris

    Its funny how Republicans try to convince everyone that their party is actually supporting the middle class by way of the rich. If you really want to help middle class then stop playing rhetorical shell games and support them directly. Helping the rich just makes them a whole lot richer

    July 25, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. hypocricnnation

    Ooowww! The Same Business Community That's Whining About President Obama Being Anti-Business Is The Same Business Community Who Wants Their Cake And Eat It Too!

    July 25, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. RTB

    The mal informed trying to lead the mis informed.

    What do these two wind bags want -to go with their sour grapes?

    July 25, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I think Forbes is the whiner. Remember, without a bailout, our biggest banks would not be here today. Bank of America and Citibank were getting ready to bar their doors when they were saved by TARP money. Obama has tried to save industry, particulary automotive, which employs 10% of US workers, but not the banking industry, which was in dire need of regulation because they were the ones who created the economic mess he inherited and they are still out their trying to separate middle class Americans from their savings.

    July 25, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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