When it comes to political parties, this blog has a certain instinctive sympathy with the words Shakespeare put into the mouth of a man dying in a pointless faction fight: “A plague on both your houses!”
So we are not being partisan, merely stating an objectively verifiable fact, when we say that much of what is called, rather optimistically, the “business community” does not feel that it has received much sympathy and understanding from the current White House. At the same time, the Obama Administration is frustrated by the slow pace of job generation by the private sector.
These two facts are obviously connected.
However, following his party’s defeat in November’s Congressional elections, the President has expressed a desire to build some bridges. He held a high-profile meeting with 20 selected CEOs, supposedly representing that elusive “business community”. He also agreed with his Republican opponents a compromise on extending Bush-era tax cuts which has now passed the Senate.
So far, so good, but only time will tell if this represents a real change of direction. The CEO meeting was obviously cosmetic, with the President urging the businessmen to invest their surplus money without giving them any new reason to do so. Needless to say, small business was not represented at the meeting.
Meanwhile, with far more fanfare, the same Obama Administration has initiated massive litigation against BP, suing them for just about everything imaginable over the Gulf oil spill. BP certainly ought to be (and is) paying compensation to a lot of people, but endangering a legitimate business by claiming unlimited damages is all about politics, not justice.
The Federal Government is responding to, perhaps even stirring up the same lynch mob mentality we noted in our previous post, on the Madoff case. In doing that, it is also distracting attention from its own culpability in the Gulf disaster. It is particularly hypocritical that the lawsuit blames BP for not using the latest equipment – since when has the Government ever done that?
The message is clear: the Administration is backing business – except when it’s not.