Paul Holmes 29 Oct 2010 // 2:08PM GMT
Articles about the “anti-business” slant of the Obama administration have become a cottage industry in recent months, but when they cross the chasm from The Wall Street Journal to the normally sane Financial Times it is time to start asking whether something strange is going on. The FT’s John Gapper is the latest to pick up this theme, arguing—based on some harsh rhetoric about offshoring and what he sees as an unduly confrontational tone—that Obama “must learn to love business.” Gapper suggests that the overwhelming big business support for Republican candidates in the upcoming election is a reaction to the president’s supposed anti-business bent. All of which might make sense, if not for the fact that business is booming under the supposedly anti-business president. Profits have surged 62 percent during the first 18 months of the president’s first term. That’s the best profit growth of the past 50 years (although clearly some credit is due to the previous Republican administration, which was generous enough to leave Obama with nowhere to go but up). In other words, it is hard to imagine that corporate CEOs—who presumably are familiar with these numbers—seriously believe that the Obama administration’s policies are actually bad for business. They have been immeasurably better for business than the policies of the George W. Bush administration, which—lest we all forget—brought America to the brink of an economic precipice. Even if you happen to believe that Obama’s harsh language on off-shoring hurt corporate feelings, one might imagine that all the substantive good might make all but the most thin-skinned CEO forget that slight. So maybe there’s something else going on here? A cynic might wonder whether CEOs are not more concerned that refusing to renew the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich might impact their own compensation. A real cynic might question whether those CEOs are not misappropriating corporate funds to support Republican candidates because they are worried about their personal taxes going up.