What do business leaders really want?

WASHINGTON — Since capitalism is the nation’s official religion, President Obama must bow before business executives, who don’t believe he has been sufficiently fawning. It wasn’t enough for Obama to expend taxpayer funds, as his predecessor did, to save capitalism.

The president has had the effrontery to point out that free markets need sensible regulations to protect consumers from poisoned food, lead-laced toys and a reckless Wall Street — a position that has angered many among the mogul class. So, even with a roaring stock market and soaring corporate profits, Obama has been obliged to launch a charm offensive to re-assure the business executives that he’s no socialist.

This may be heresy, but here it is: The interests of Big Business and the needs of regular working Americans don’t always coincide. As just one example, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, newly appointed as the White House jobs czar, heads a company which relies increasingly on foreign markets for its profits and its workforce. Since Immelt took over in 2001, GE has shed tens of thousands of jobs here while adding tens of thousands abroad.

That trend is likely to continue, not just at GE but also at thousands of other U.S. companies as their managers find they can manufacture more cheaply abroad. They can also outsource accounting, engineering and technical support services, among others.

That’s why Obama emphasized “our generation’s Sputnik moment” in his State of the Union speech. He laid out a plan to rebuild our economic foundation with targeted spending in such areas as modernizing our infrastructure — everything from ancient sewerage to dangerous bridges to aging electric grids. “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” he said.

His call for new spending on research, education and infrastructure ought to make him the new poster child for business-friendly politics. For years, business executives have called for better public schools and more spending on highways, bridges and rail.

But Obama’s initiative also brings the backroom politics of the business lobby under scrutiny. Newer bridges and better schools may be a priority, but those issues are not as dear as keeping taxes low and keeping government regulations off the books. Emasculating the Environmental Protection Agency is more important than beating the Chinese at high-speed rail and solar panels. That’s why the business lobby spent millions last year to elect Republicans who would fight anything Obama proposed — infrastructure spending included.

That’s a bit awkward for Georgia’s business and political leaders, who have campaigned long and hard for $105 million in federal funds to deepen Savannah’s port. Now that the House has been taken over by no-new-spending, earmark-hating Republicans, where will the money come from?

“I just think it’s about priorities,” said Georgia Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Clark. “We’re not going to Washington asking for more money, more taxes. . . The president said we’ve got to be about jobs, and this project will produce jobs all over the Southeast.”

Georgia may get the money — with help from a well-connected Democrat. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has gone to the White House to to promote the Savannah port. (The process would have been easier if Republicans had not campaigned against earmarks, which would have allowed local Congressmen or Senators to quietly tuck the money into the budget.)

But the Savannah ports expansion will have to survive a starve-the-beast attitude toward government endorsed by the very politicians who are most favored by the business lobby. Bashing the government may keep taxes low, but it doesn’t lay a foundation for longterm economic growth.

143 comments Add your comment

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
3:40 pm

What do business leaders really want?

Tax cuts, what else?

Michael

January 28th, 2011
3:44 pm

Why do we need corporate welfare to dig trenches in a river? If it is economically viable to deepen the port, then build it with private money. Johnny ‘Banker’s boy’ Isakson loves to talk about less government and balanced budgets when it comes to entitlements for the ‘unwashed’. But when it comes to bailing out the bankers, handing out agribusiness welfare, and digging trenches in wet ground, he turns into a big spender.

Nothing Is Free

January 28th, 2011
4:03 pm

So the Liberal Darling Network: NBC (and C Tucker’s own MSNBC) was owned by GE who had taken thousands of jobs offshore and who’s head is appointed job czar and that’s the Republican’s fault.

Sometimes the posts here are so damned stupid that there’s just no answer to them.

This is one of those times.

willie lynch

January 28th, 2011
4:06 pm

Immelt is a repug isn’t he?

God Bless America... and no one else

January 28th, 2011
4:06 pm

Corporate Taxes = higher consumer prices and decreased competitiveness with foreign goods.

Subsidies = Corporate welfare

Get government out of business altogether.

arnold

January 28th, 2011
4:13 pm

If business wants to continue receiving their welfare support payments, they should be willing to undergo regulatory scrutiny.

J. Kase

January 28th, 2011
4:17 pm

Have heard the Department of Health and Human Services have issued more than 200 exemptions—mostly to the president’s financial supporters—from some of the more burdensome provisions of the healthcare reform law. The latest exemptions appears to be Service Employees International Union SEIU. I guess everybody has friends. Oh by the way,Wall Street had a blood bath today.

ByteMe

January 28th, 2011
4:17 pm

Don’t starve the beast. Starve the politicians. It’s their fault we elected them.

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
4:27 pm

Oh by the way,Wall Street had a blood bath today.

The DJIA lost 1.4%, the S&P lost 1.8% and you call that a bloodbath?

Someone please fetch this drama queen a fainting couch.

Tommy Maddox

January 28th, 2011
4:28 pm

What do business leaders want?

How about a leader who knows what it’s like to make payroll or an employment tax deposit?

DP

January 28th, 2011
4:29 pm

Tucker…what are you and Bookman smoking….the government can not afford to just keep spending and spending, sooner or later the money has to run out and it ran out about 7 years ago. Cut spending levels back to what they were in 2000, stop all raises, stop entitlement increases, stop everything until we get spending down to a semi-manageable level or are wanting to leave the bills for your child and her friends.

jconservative

January 28th, 2011
4:32 pm

I do not see why government needs to spend money to deepen the port at Savannah. Let the users pay for it. I do not have a single huge cargo ship scheduled to port in Savannah in the next 20 years.

So lets use my tax money to pay back the loan we are taking out to give Paris Hilton a tax cut. OK?

J. Kase

January 28th, 2011
4:37 pm

Ah Kamchak, nothing hurts my feelings more than a leg humping queen calling me a drama queen. Oh the pain, the pain. Get out much sport?

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
4:49 pm

Ah Kamchak, nothing hurts my feelings more…

I’m thinking you’ll get over it.

Kamchak's gerbil

January 28th, 2011
4:52 pm

Kamy – what time tonight?

■ⁿ

January 28th, 2011
4:52 pm

ZZZZZZzzzzzzz….

Most boring blog in the universe.

Good lord, somehow Cynthia has managed to reach another low.

Sometime it amazes me the wasted time and effort put into simply filling up a space (”blog”) in order to get a check. :(

Alatsea

January 28th, 2011
4:54 pm

Your boy BO has regulated business to the point they are sitting on investment capital. You need to put” I am a left-wing moron” after your name if you write crap like this and not see and know the truth. Oops I forgot your a left-wing moron you don’t know what truth is.

J. Kase

January 28th, 2011
4:54 pm

Well Kamy, yes I’m already over it. I knew you were very perspective.

Alatsea

January 28th, 2011
4:56 pm

Kamchak
January 28th, 2011
4:27 pm

Oh by the way,Wall Street had a blood bath today.

The DJIA lost 1.4%, the S&P lost 1.8% and you call that a bloodbath?

Someone please fetch this drama queen a fainting couch.

That makes you happy. Oops forgot your a socialist and that was brought on by both your parents being educators so that makes your whole family happy.

Once again Have a normal day

Owl

January 28th, 2011
5:03 pm

Sputnik? Not my generation. Praising Communism is not giving me any thrills any where.

Chuck

January 28th, 2011
5:06 pm

Arnold @ 4:13
“If business wants to continue receiving their welfare support payments, they should be willing to undergo regulatory scrutiny.”

I completely agree. Subsidies and tax breaks need to be called what they are: Welfare! Just like welfare, companies should have to apply for their welfare annually, prove that they are justified in receiving welfare, and be open to regulation and audit for the duration of their receipt of said welfare.

Otherwise, companies should be accurately taxed according to their annual profits and would be entiled to an opinion regarding tax and regulation.

retired early

January 28th, 2011
5:08 pm

Glad you brought up this port deepening in Savannah.
Briefly, shipping companies used to pay a ‘use tax’ for their containers to the ‘port of first entry’…in this case Georgia. That tax would have been sufficient to fund port improvements including harbor deepening. When Chiquita Bananas appealed an audit for this tax, around 4 million dollars, the Ga legislature promptly passed a law exempting “all shipping containers coming into Georgia ports”.
Those companies ‘use’ our port and therefore, should pay for that use, as the law intended.
Now, once again the taxpayers will foot the bill…all in the name of competition between ports. Most other states continue to collect this tax. Big trucks continue to pay ‘extra’ use taxes to DOT because their trucks are largely responsible for road damage. Someone please tell me what’s the difference…entitling these shipping companies to their exemption. This mentality in Ga is the reason we are in the financial mess. Eliminate ALL exemptions…budget balanced.

Keep up the good fight!

January 28th, 2011
5:09 pm

Ahh, the Palinistas now claim that when we lost the space race which bankrupted USSR (wait, I thought Ronnie had something to do with that) and mention the US reaction to Sputnik it is praising communism. May not be your generation but you could learn real history instead of looking to Snowbillie Snooki for your talking points.

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

January 28th, 2011
5:14 pm

“Snowbillie Snooki”

I don’t care what your stripes are – that is FUNNY!

Nothing Is Free

January 28th, 2011
5:16 pm

Companies that give jobs to the population, getting tax breaks: BAD

Individuals that set on their fat asses, haven’t worked in years pumping out babies: GOOD

Welcome to the Liberal Land Amusement park.

Good is bad. Up is down,

Step right up. It’s all about Hope and Change.

Nothing Is Free

January 28th, 2011
5:18 pm

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

Almost as funny as some of the names I’ve heard Obozo called.

Of course it is hateful and ignorant to call the idiot i9n the White House names.

He’s special, don’t-cha-know!!

Gm

January 28th, 2011
5:20 pm

Whats new about this, Rep have been hypocrites for years about spending, they only have concerns when Demo are in office.
typical Rep line, we need to stop spending, could you please help our ports with a bail out.

Ranger

January 28th, 2011
5:21 pm

“…GE has shed tens of thousands of jobs here…”

They’ll be OK, Congress just extended their welfare benefits by another 13 months.

Nothing Is Free

January 28th, 2011
5:23 pm

So according to Gm and Retired Early, it would have been good for Georgia to make our largest port less competitive.

This is what happens when the school system is put in the hands of liberals: one of the worst school systems in the civilized world.

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
5:26 pm

Most boring blog in the universe.

Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, meat.

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

January 28th, 2011
5:26 pm

NIF: Intelligent thinkers understand the difference between funny and malevolent.

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
5:26 pm

Cynthia Tucker woke up this morning, turned on the tv, saw the rioting in the streets in Egypt and exclaimed to herself- “What has Sarah Palin done now?”

Keep up the good fight!

January 28th, 2011
5:29 pm

FEAR — the key to your statement will never be comprehended by those it was directed at. Intelligent thinkers

The market

January 28th, 2011
5:32 pm

Kamchump doesn’t think that the S&P losing nearly 2% of its entire value is a single day is a blood bath? What a moron

markie mark

January 28th, 2011
5:33 pm

Dadgum CT…may I make a point on your endless criticism of outsourcing jobs? yes, I wish it wouldn’t happen. But the simple truth is that the largest potential markets for our goods are now overseas. Lets take one example – Caterpillar heavy construction equipment. According to a news report I saw, 49% of their sales last year was in China. 25 years ago, China was not booming and did not have the educated workforce they have today. So if they have a large portion of sales in India or China (the two booming economies in terms of potential in the world today) why in hell would they want to build here in the US and ship almost half of their production overseas half a world away?(or even 15%, 20%, etc). They do what any smart business IS going to do. They built the newer plants close to their customers, and have the an educated population so they dont have to ship Americans over as all major US companies had to do in the past. Do you really think all US companies would be posting record profits if only, or primarily, the American citizen was their consumer? It just doesn’t work that way anymore. And yes, some companies have and will take advantage, and we should not give tax breaks for companies to go overseas for whatever reason. But you do a disservice to your readers when you dont bother to give legitimate reasons for this trend instead of just taking your “capitalism is evil” approach.

retired early

January 28th, 2011
5:33 pm

Nothing is free

These companies use our port because it is logistically cost effective…all other states collect this tax…so what exactly is your point…you…the taxpayer… are paying for their ‘use’ of our port. I thought you were against ‘higher individual taxes’.

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

January 28th, 2011
5:33 pm

Keep – so true. Hope I didn’t go too far over his head.

Nothing Is Free

January 28th, 2011
5:34 pm

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

Of course:

Anything can be said about a Republican, especially Ms Palin. That’s been OK’d for all the intelligent people. That goes on the list of all other Republicans and Christians.

That’s of course for all the intelligent people. (The people who are so friggin’ stupid that they think that walking goose-step with what they are told makes them intelligent)

Malevolent is anything that is said about Democrats by those people who dare to think for themselves and not walk the goose step. Don’t those people understand how good it is that the government gains lots more power over our dumb little freedoms? What is freedom when the “intelligent” people know what’s best for everyone.

You intelligent people are so smart. After all, look at what intelligent people have done to the US economy. It’s really good that so many millions have lost their jobs.

You intelligent guys. Gosh, maybe some day i’ll start acting like a lemming, then I’ll be smart like you.

yuzeyurbrain

January 28th, 2011
5:38 pm

The even more basic hypocrisy is why the Federal govt. should help Savannah and Georgia over, for example, Charleston or Jacksonville?? Or why should govt. get involved at all? Pure capitalist theory would seem to dictate that private money be raised to build port facilities where economic logic points and where these private economic interests can make their best profit.

carlosgvv

January 28th, 2011
5:39 pm

If the interests of Big Business and the needs of regular working Americans are at odds, you don’t have to be a genius to know which group the politicans, especially Republicans, will cater to. I’ts no accident that we have the best Congress money can buy.

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

January 28th, 2011
5:39 pm

“then I’ll be smart like you”…

Then you better get started darlin – until then – have a wonderful weekend.

Nothing Is Free

January 28th, 2011
5:40 pm

retired early

Ports all over the east coast compete for business. These fees are constantly being manipulated by every port in the country. As a tax payer, that works great for me. More ships port in Savannah, more state taxes, more taxes paid by more truckers who bring the goods inland. It’s called capitalism. You know, what we used to have before 2008.

This may come as a shock to you, but some people might see the tax income from more business in those ports as being more than the port fees.

Nothing Is Free

January 28th, 2011
5:41 pm

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

So you aren’t even smart enough to recognize satire. What a surprise. A dumb friggin liberal that thinks they are smart. Who would have thunk it?

God Bless America... and no one else

January 28th, 2011
5:43 pm

To all you Palinphobics – what does she have to do with this topic?

Keep up the good fight!

January 28th, 2011
5:46 pm

FEAR, walking erectus at ground level is far over his head…but you’ll soon told to control your emotions (a continually recycled insult directed a people who disagree with nonsensical absurdity) used earlier today at 3:33 or something about drug use (another common theme already used today also at 2:43)

We can see that someone is already throwing in goose stepping references and a rant beause you have a sense of humor. Tick, tick, tick.

Thulsa Doom

January 28th, 2011
5:47 pm

After lamenting the Palin induced rioting in the streets of Egypt Cynthia Tucker then turned her attention to the markets only to see the Dow was down 1.5% and S&P was down 1.8% in one day. And Cynthia thought to herself- ” Michelle Bachman had a hand in this. I just know it!”

Scout

January 28th, 2011
5:47 pm

“What do business leaders really want?”

Obama back in Chicago organizing communities and sipping coffee in the living room of his convicted terrorist friends.

Nothing Is Free

January 28th, 2011
5:48 pm

God Bless America… and no one else

Palin is on the “approved to hate list”

When they can’t think of anything intelligent to say, they go after Palin. And considering how seldom liberals say anything intelligent . . . .

Nothing Is Free

January 28th, 2011
5:51 pm

Ahh. The twit who accuses other of raping women and killing family members is giving a sermon about the emotional control of others.

Friday night. Let me guess. You will be alone, blogging your little nonsense.

It’s not my fault that you are a loser, Pal. Get your nose out of my ass.

Kamchak

January 28th, 2011
5:52 pm

It’s not my fault that you are a loser, Pal. Get your nose out of my ass.

Oh, the irony.