Following his re-election President Obama wasted no time in rallying his progressive and crony capitalist allies to address the fiscal cliff.
Just one week after the election Obama met in successive days with progressive activist groups including labor organizations and advocacy groups such as Moveon.org and then with a select group of twelve CEOs representing a broad spectrum of industry sectors.
Some mistakenly believe Obama organized these meetings to solicit ideas to find a consensus solution to the emerging fiscal deadline.
Don’t be mislead. With his progressive base energized about the legislative prospects during Obama’s second term, the President is not about to veer from his leftist ideological core and not let this crisis go to waste.
According to Reuters, during his recent press conference, President Obama declared that Republicans must concur with his view that raising taxes on top earners was a prerequisite for a budget agreement. "What I'm not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it," said Obama.
Using history as a guide, it’s much more likely Obama is exploiting CEO panic over the simultaneous hit of significant spending cuts and tax increases to use big business to pressure the Republican lead House of Representatives to accept tax increases.
Capitalizing on big business fears to achieve his progressive goals is a core part of our community activist President’s playbook.
After demonizing the pharmaceutical industry during his 2008 presidential campaign Obama used the fear of draconian regulations to get the industry to lobby for ObamaCare. The rest is history.
Similarly, during Obama’s first term energy and utility companies were terrified over the prospect of the Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
To avoid that crisis, CEOs lead a corporate effort that joined with progressive groups to lobby for cap-and-trade regulation. Too many anti-free enterprise CEOs believe if you can’t beat big government you may as well lobby for expansion of federal power and then profit from it.
That plan almost worked. With the help of big business the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill passed the House of Representatives but it failed in the Senate.
Now, not only is Obama using the same political strategy, he is using many of the same CEO players on his second term team.
The CEO group of twelve included many of the same anti-free enterprise business leaders that lobbied for cap-and-trade.
Six of the twelve CEOs that met with Obama on the fiscal cliff led companies that lobbied for cap-and-trade. General Electric, PepsiCo, Dow Chemical, Xerox, Ford and Honeywell were members of the United States Climate Action Partnership - a lobbying group that pushed for cap-and-trade legislation.
The sudden concern of these CEOs over our deficit is hypocritical and laughable.
Many of the CEOs that met with Obama were huge beneficiaries of the President’s big government spending.
In addition to seeking to profit from wind turbine and solar energy sales from the consequences of cap-and-trade legislation, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt lobbied for Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan and got over $100 million in grants and contracts from his effort.
At the same time Immelt expresses concerns over the fiscal cliff, GE is actively lobbying to keep the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) from expiring at the end of this year. The Joint Committee on Taxation reported in August 2012 that renewing the PTC would cost taxpayers $12 billion over a ten year period.
Dow Chemical, IBM and Honeywell also were rewarded with millions of taxpayer grant money from the stimulus plan and Ford got a $5.9 billion loan in 2009 from the Department of Energy to assist the company’s effort to make more fuel efficient vehicles.
As big defense industry contractors, GE and Honeywell are also threatened by the looming cuts in military spending. They would easily trade higher taxes on wealthy families for millions in defense contracts.
Our country can no longer afford big government and allow the likes of Immelt to feed like parasites from our bloated national budget.
By rejecting the anticipated lobbying efforts of Obama’s crony capitalist allies over the fiscal cliff, Congressional Republicans can heed the advice of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to show the public they are not the party of big corporations.
Now is the time for Republicans in Congress to stand with Tea Party grassroots activists and reject Obama’s conspired big business strategy and stand on the principles of limited government and lower taxes.