With Mackey on the ropes, a union pension fund advocacy group is calling for Whole Foods’ board of directors to dismiss him from the company he founded.
Although Mackey is far from a right-winger, his free-market view of health care and labor made him a target of Obama’s supporters.
In contrast, GE’s Immelt is “all in” with Obama’s policy agenda and it’s paying off handsomely.
Immelt embraces the notion of a new era of capitalism where companies coordinate their efforts with the government. In a speech to the Detroit Economic Club in June, Immelt said, “We should welcome the government as a catalyst for leadership and change.” He added, “America should get busy addressing the two biggest global challenges – clean energy and affordable health care.”
Immelt is doing more than echoing Obama’s campaign rhetoric of “change”: He has GE actively advancing the president’s policies, especially cap-and-trade.
Through its participation in the United States Climate Action Partnership – a cap-and-trade lobbying group – GE helped push the Waxman-Markey bill over the goal line in the House of Representatives. In doing so, the company was able to load the bill with provisions that will boost GE’s sales in “clean energy” products.
Even more disturbing, if true, GE’s support of Obama may have positively influenced the terms of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over allegations the company was “cooking the books” to meet quarterly earnings expectations.
For a mere $50 million, GE settled four instances of accounting irregularities including engineering fake sales of locomotives to accelerate end-of-year earnings.
Following Enron, Sarbanes-Oxley and concerns of Wall Street greed, it’s amazing that GE escaped stiffer penalties from the SEC and show trial inquiries from the anti-business Congress.
But then again, Immelt is on Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and the last thing the president needs is to draw public attention to the possibility that a Bernie Madoff-type CEO serves as a presidential adviser.
Unfortunately, it appears that CEOs whose business strategies are in sync with Obama’s calls for greater government control will be rewarded while those who confront Obama’s plans for America will be punished.
This observation may explain why drug companies are lining up to cut a deal with Obama on health care and energy and utility companies are cutting deals with Congress on cap-and-trade.
Because of the critical role corporations play in public policy, liberty-minded citizens need to be willing to engage CEOs as they do elected officials. Participation at shareholder meetings and tea party rallies at corporate headquarters should be on the agenda.
Otherwise, business leaders will take the path of least resistance. They will join Obama and selling all of us out.