Devil's Grand Bargain

Devil's Grand Bargain

by digby

I don't know if the following is cover for Obama to do what he wants to do already or if it's just thuggish behavior designed to bend him to their will, but it really doesn't matter does it? It's the biggest load of lies that any PR shop has ever manufactured and the Politico willingly carries it's fetid water without even questioning its assumptions:

After business leaders sank millions into the midterms to defeat Democrats, a chastened Obama administration is seeking reconciliation with the corporate community.

But after two years of building frustration, the executives say they won’t be won over by another round of private lunches and photo opportunities at the White House.
If President Barack Obama has any hope for a truce with corporate America in time for his 2012 reelection campaign, he needs to drop the name-calling, try to see their point of view better and step up with some specific proposals.

“No amount of relationship-building is a substitute for policy,” said Johanna Schneider, executive director for external affairs at the Business Roundtable, which was once one of the administration’s most enduring corporate allies.

“We have to see some concrete policies that will help grow business because everyone’s goal is to grow jobs. This isn’t hocus-pocus. There are concrete steps to take for job growth,” she added.

Right. Because business is really hurting. Here's the NY Times from just this morning:

The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms.

Corporate profits have been going gangbusters for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history...

“The economy is not growing fast enough to reduce significantly the unemployment rate or to prevent a slide into deflation,” Paul Dales, a United States economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients. “This is unlikely to change in 2011 or 2012.”

Meanwhile, back in the Village:

The White House’s relationship with the corporate world has always had a sort of Mars-Venus quality to it. Business leaders say Obama simply doesn’t get them and has no one in the White House with corporate experience or who is steeped in the daily challenges of operating in a global economy. It didn’t help when Obama lashed out at “fat cat bankers” on Wall Street at the height of the regulatory reform effort or attacked BP, a onetime White House ally on energy reform, in the midst of the Louisiana oil spill.

The message to other sectors: "You could be next," said one corporate lobbyist.

Some White House officials, in turn, privately express frustration that the business world seems to give Obama no credit for supporting bailouts of Wall Street and the auto industry as well as an economic stimulus bill that likely spared the country a deeper recession. Many CEOs now are enjoying hefty corporate profits and a Dow at healthy levels in part because of Obama’s efforts in steering the economy through the global meltdown, administration officials contend.

Sure, they may be making record profits and cleaning up like a bunch of rapacious vultures while the rest of the country spirals into economic despair but he said something mean about them! They're scared! They're uncertain!

Yes, that may be so silly as to merit derisive belly laughs from any sentient being, but we are talking about the Politico here:

But the stakes for Obama couldn’t be higher, economically or politically, in rebuilding relations. Cooperation with the business community is vital for job growth and economic recovery. Expanding trade and cutting the deficit, two other Obama priorities, will require Republican votes — which the business community could deliver.

Yeah, business is going to deliver Republican votes for Obama on trade deals and the deficit. I have serious doubts that Republicans will need to be "delivered" on some job destroying trade deals or tax cuts and those are going to be the only deals that might come to the table. (And I don't know if anyone can deliver a free trade deal right now.)But business doesn't deliver Republicans. It is Republicans. They are not "honest brokers" or mediators. That's just laughable.

The article goes on to name a few picayune policy disagreements in the Finance reform bill that allegedly account for this estrangement and doesn't even mention the fact that these Big Money Boyz are all whining like a bunch of five year olds over having to pay a little bit more in taxes on the the billions they're making at the expense of average workers. The piece credulously states that Obama has been anti-business when the truth is that he saved their asses when they didn't deserve it. (When will Democrats learn that no good deed for greedheads and wingnuts goes unpunished?)

The fact is that these businessmen believe they should be worshiped like Gods and they get very cranky when they are treated like ordinary mortals and subjected to the same scrutiny and criticism to which other elites are subjected. They are America's big winners and it's simply not acceptable that they be held accountable for ... well, anything.

More importantly, they rightly understand that if they can take advantage of this situation and punish the Democrats for their mild criticism, they can guarantee that that CEOs and Master of the Universe will never personally be held responsible for anything they do going forward and will be guaranteed the right to gobble as much profit as they can and give back as little as humanly possible.

Is this a great country (for rich people) or what?