You can’t be President, and use business as your personal whipping boy for over a year, upset the fundamentals of business and expect businesses to lead the country out of the recession.
Of course businesses are not going to spend money. They are scared to. Any money they spend could be effectively lost forever if the government decides to make some stupid rule that chokes that investment.
It’s too dangerous with Obama in the White House to do much of anything.
Fareed Zakaria calls this Obama’s CEO problem, but that is the wrong way round. The CEO’s have an Obama problem. So, he went out and asked numerous CEO’s who voted for Obama what the problem was:
The Federal Reserve recently reported that America’s 500 largest nonfinancial companies have accumulated an astonishing $1.8 trillion of cash on their balance sheets. By any calculation (for example, as a percentage of assets), this is higher than it has been in almost half a century. Yet most corporations are not spending this money on new plants, equipment or workers. Were they to loosen their purse strings, hundreds of billions of dollars would start pouring through the economy. These investments would probably have greater effect and staying power than a government stimulus.
…The key to a sustainable recovery and robust economic growth is to get companies investing in America. So why are they reluctant, despite having mounds of cash? I put this question to a series of business leaders, all of whom were expansive on the topic yet did not want to be quoted by name, for fear of offending people in Washington.
Economic uncertainty was the primary cause of their caution. “We’ve just been through a tsunami and that produces caution,” one told me. But in addition to economics, they kept talking about politics, about the uncertainty surrounding regulations and taxes. Some have even begun to speak out publicly. Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric, complained Friday that government was not in sync with entrepreneurs. The Business Roundtable, which had supported the Obama administration, has begun to complain about the myriad laws and regulations being cooked up in Washington.
One CEO told me, “Almost every agency we deal with has announced some expansion of its authority, which naturally makes me concerned about what’s in store for us for the future.” Another pointed out that between the health-care bill, financial reform and possibly cap-and-trade, his company had lawyers working day and night to figure out the implications of all these new regulations.
Obama’s personal philosophy is that government should stick its regulatory hands into everything. It should watch everything like a hawk. It should constantly harass and oversee.
No wonder the economy is weaker than a dog.