The U.S. economy is limping along. The job market is in rotten shape, and business investment is hitting historic lows. And, if you’re looking for a culprit for this dismal state of affairs, many businesspeople would be happy to point you to the White House. Companies aren’t hiring or investing, businessmen say, because the combination of Barack Obama’s anti-corporate attitude and a blizzard of new regulations and proposed taxes has created what Ivan Seidenberg, the C.E.O. of Verizon, calls “an increasingly hostile environment for investment and job creation.”Disappointingly, even Fareed Zakaria, whom I always thought of as quite clear-headed, is jumping on the let's-bash-Obama bandwagon.
In a recent Newsweek column, Fareed Zakaria pointed to the fact that Fortune 500 companies are sitting on a cash hoard of $1.8 trillion, and suggested that a “profound sense of distrust” might be why they weren’t spending it.Surowiecki goes on to point out how wrong this all is.
What struck me, however, is that Obama is getting the worst of both sides. Business trash talks him, but he isn't getting any applause from people who think business deserves some restraint. I find him peculiarly silent about the evils that business has done perpetrated the past decade. If he is going to earn the enmity of business, at least he should do something to deserve it.