The electorate’s repudiation of Barack Obama and his Congressional allies was not only a rejection of Big Government, but also of business elites who were buffeted from the downturn by political dealing at the expense of ordinary people.
Unless Corporate America heeds the election results, it too will risk the wrath of an informed and energized public. Here are CEOs who must pay attention to what happened yesterday:
Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler– Not only did Kindler (above) lead the charge of Big Pharma CEOs for ObamaCare, he actually got a multi-million dollar bonus from Pfizer for doing so. This is not going to look very good once ObamaCare spikes insurance premiums, prompts hospital closures, and explodes the number of uninsured. Of course, Kindler wasn’t naïve or confused, he had reason to help destroy the health system. Big Pharma made a deal that guarantees it customers and insulation from competition. (I assume Kindler plans to retire before the government forces Pfizer to sell its products for less than it costs to produce them.)
Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke– His company used to be an entrepreneurial success story. Now it is a cheerleader for socialism, endorsing ObamaCare and Cap & Trade. Of course, socialism can be good for a business of Wal-Mart’s size. When government raises the costs of doing business, smaller competitors go out of business. Wal-Mart masks its shift to the Left with words like “social responsibility,” but society does not benefit by unholy alliances between Big Government and Big Business. To be fair, Wal-Mart’s culture shift began under Duke’s predecessor, H. Lee Scott, who was recently rewarded with a Goldman Sachs board seat. The Washington Post reported yesterday that this leftward lurch has not gone unnoticed by congressional Republicans.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon– He took offense that his friend Barack would vilify bankers, especially after they supported him for President. Moreover, Obama bailed them out, and even better, made sure they will never fail. Now savers get no interest while fat cat bankers get money to lend out at 0%, make a profit, and act like geniuses. The New York Times dubbed Dimon “Obama’s favorite banker,” as he flaunted personal relationships with White House figures like Rahm Emanuel. Suddenly, these connections don’t look so good. Dimon should try less partisanship and more humility.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi– She jumps on every politically correct bandwagon, but Cap & Trade sticks out this year. When an incumbent Democratic governor of West Virginia, running for the Senate, uses a copy of the Cap & Trade bill for target practice in a TV ad, something is up. Ironically, the company distributes Aquafina, the leading bottled water brand, which is under attack by the same people who push global warming alarmism. Nooyi can do herself — and her shareholders — by jumping off the Cap & Trade bandwagon.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein– Goldman has become synonymous with all that the American people resent about Wall Street. Blankfein claims that Goldman did not need TARP funds, but the fact remains that he took the money. And of course, TARP was the creation of former Goldman CEO Henry Paulson. Votes in favor of TARP were toxic in House and Senate races this year, and became proxies for the whole bailout culture whereby Goldman was probably saved from extinction when the government banned short-selling of its stock.
My prediction is that Blankfein will learn nothing from the election. He is too rich, liberal and arrogant. Goldman will react in its traditional way by seeking to buy influence with Republicans and placing its allies in the regulatory bureaucracy. So I guess we can cross Goldman off this list, but at least we are alert to the Goldman menace.