Axelrod on the Obama Administration and Business

By July 12, 2010Economy

ABC’s This Week program had as a guest David Axelrod, the White House senior advisor, and host Jake Tapper inquired about the recent, more public expressions of unhappiness with the Obama Administration coming from prominent business leaders. Excerpt from the transcript:

AXELROD: This is important, Jake, because you — you have to recognize what the kind of — you know, there’s no doubt that there was a kind of “Katie, bar the doors” philosophy in Washington during the eight years previous to us. And what it led to was a financial disaster.

And all these companies were — were in very difficult straits. In fact, their — their profits are up 65 percent since — since that time, over the last two years. Our financial system is now stable instead of collapsing, which would have been a devastating thing for every business in this country, large and small.

But, yes, and we’re working closely with business and we want to continue to work closely with business, but working closely doesn’t mean that we — that — that we simply turn away from the kinds of corrective measures that are necessary to prevent that kind of disaster from happening again, and that’s what we’re pursuing.

We need a financial reform that — that is commensurate with the challenges that we saw, and we pushed for that. We need commonsense environmental policies to — to prevent what happened in the — in the gulf, and you can’t simply let industry in each and every case self-regulate. We’re not micromanaging anything, but we are looking after the public interest.

You can’t simply let industry in each and every case self-regulate? When was that ever the demand from business? Straw man …

Reuters examined the issue in an article this weekend, “Businesses step up criticisim of Obama agenda.” Excerpt:

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist who was a top adviser to 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain, said Obama’s agenda has “nothing in it” for the business community.

“We are growing too slowly,” said Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. “Households are broke. Governments have to retrench. The only places to get strong growth are in the business community and in net exports and that’s where they have nothing.”

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