The president and his top advisers have kept an open door for CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, keeping almost 1,000 appointments with them, a Reuters review of White House records shows. Of the hundreds of appointments listed, Obama himself was present at about half. As the corrupting hand of government intervention spreads, so CEOs and the White House have become allies in advocating for immigration reform, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and reauthorization for the Export-Import Bank. So who really owns The White House?
And the winner is...
"I do take a fair amount of grief from Republican colleagues who think that I've just like totally lost my mind," said Honeywell International Inc's David Cote, 63, the most frequent CEO visitor to Obama's White House, having turned up more than 50 times.
Cote was part of a high-profile commission on the nation's debt in 2010 and serves on another advisory panel on technology and manufacturing. He said he thinks CEOs should not delegate their responsibility to help politicians understand business. "You've got to be able to talk about this stuff and have both sides understand the needs of the other," he said.
Cote, a life-long Republican, said he doesn't always agree with Obama but enjoys talking with him, calling him "a very smart guy" who doesn't get enough credit for his work on the economy.
Since the economic downturn of 2008, the critics of capitalism have redoubled their efforts to persuade the American people and many others around the world that the system of individual freedom and free enterprise has failed.
The first observation to make is that many if not most of the social and economic misfortunes that are most frequently talked about are not the product of a “failed” free enterprise. The reason for this is that a consistently practiced free enterprise system no longer exists in the United States.
What we live under is a heavily regulated, managed and controlled interventionist-welfare state. The over 80,000 pages of the Federal Register, the volume that specifies and enumerates all the Federal regulations that are imposed on and to which all American businesses are expected to comply, is just one manifestation of the extent to which government has weaved a spider’s web of commands over the business community.
As we detailed previously, the Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises, described this twisted, corrupted, and politicized capitalism over 80 years ago, in 1932, in an essay on “The Myth of the Failure of Capitalism,” published shortly before the coming of Hitler and the Nazi movement to power.
In such a politicized market economy, working for and serving “national” and “social” interests become the guiding principle of business decision-making.
What all these examples and facts about lobbying activities, campaign funding and government-business partnerships highlight is the pervasive extent to which “capitalism” as it now exists in the United States or Europe – or in fact all other parts of the world – has nothing to do with free market, laissez-faire capitalism.
In a real free market, there is no place for politicians to offer privileges and favors, because there are none to sell. There is no motive or gain for special interest groups to spend huge sums of money in campaign contributions or lobbying expenses, because political benefits for some at others’ expense cannot be bought.
Wasteful and corrupting “partnerships” between government and business enterprises cannot occur because political authority is restrained from any task other than the securing of each individual’s right to his life, liberty, and peacefully acquired property.
As Ludwig von Mises said, the political and economic crises through which the world suffers is not the crisis or failure of the free market. No, it is the crisis and failure of the interventionist-welfare state, and its anti-free market capitalist ideology.