‘I get it,’ Obama tells business, vows cooperation

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, February 7, 2011 15:21 EDT
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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama warmly courted top US executives Monday, pledging to scrap regulation and lay the groundwork for innovation in a bid to “make America the best place on Earth to do business.”

But he also stressed the “mutual responsibilities” of business and government in his speech to the US Chamber of Commerce, saying corporate profits needed to lift the standard of living for American workers, not just meet the corporate bottom line and fatten the pockets of executives.

Obama and the chamber — the most powerful business lobby in Washington — have been at odds over economic policy in his first two years in the White House.

Their differences have narrowed in the months since Republicans handed Obama’s Democrats a major defeat in November elections, and Obama’s address Monday suggested he was keen to bury the hatchet and move on.

“I’m here today because I am convinced… that we can and we must work together,” Obama told hundreds of the country’s business leaders at chamber headquarters, just a stone’s throw from the White House.

“Whatever differences we may have, I know that all of us share a deep abiding belief in this country — a belief in our people, and the principles that have made America’s economy the envy of the world.”

“I get it,” Obama said of the challenges businesses face to cut costs and maintain profit margins amid ever-present pressure from shareholders in the aftermath of the worst recession in generations.

“But as we work with you to make America a better place to do business, ask yourselves what you can do for America. Ask yourselves what you can do to hire more American workers, what you can do to support the American economy, and to invest in this nation.”

The president has sought to reach out to the business sector since a wave of anti-Washington anger swept Republicans to power in the House of Representatives.

He has reversed his position on the Bush-era tax cuts and, faced with unemployment levels that remain at a stubbornly high nine percent, has placed business-savvy staff in key positions.

Last year, the chamber opposed Obama’s health care reform, his drive to change Wall Street practices as well as other legislative initiatives. The group also gave millions of dollars in campaign donations to Republican candidates.

The White House publicly responded by accusing the chamber of funneling money from overseas to US political candidates.

Last month the powerful lobby, which claims to represent three million businesses, offered qualified backing for key legislative fights ahead but warned it would not walk in “lock-step” with Obama in the second half of his four-year term.

The administration would “help lay the foundation for you to grow and innovate and succeed,” by upgrading transportation and communications networks, investing in education, and working “to knock down barriers that make it harder for you to compete, from the tax code to the regulatory system,” Obama said.

“We need an economy that’s based not on what we consume and borrow from other nations, but what we make and what we sell around the world. We need to make America the best place on earth to do business,” he said.

But he was quick to stress that reforming the tax code and boosting exports should not just “translate into greater profits and bonuses for those at the top.

“They have to be shared by American workers, who need to know that expanding trade and opening markets will lift their standards of living as well as your bottom line,” he said.

“We cannot go back to the kind of economy — and culture — that we saw in the years leading up to the recession, where growth and gains in productivity just didn’t translate into rising incomes and opportunity for the middle class.”

Obama’s address built on his State of the Union speech last month, in which he highlighted the need to revitalize US business, create jobs and invest in world-class infrastructure in order to boost American competitiveness.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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  • Anonymous

    Why didn’t he say, “I’m a Progressive, and I’ve been reading all the comments online, therefore I have now signed an Executive Order turning all privately owned business over to The Federal Government?”


  • Guest

    O’blow-me, O’bummer!

    The only business you give a fat fuck about are the businesses lining your pockets.

  • Anonymous

    What a completely DUMB VOW (“Obama vows to cooperate with business”)
    1. Does Obama have any proof that business wants to cooperate with him??????
    2. Hasn’t he been bending over backwards in the past 2 years to give them a lot of breaks (and hmmmmm, what breaks did business concede as part of the previous “cooperation” by the admininstration????)
    3. At his age and with his pre presidential background, did he not ever learn that there can only be COOPERATION when BOTH SIDES WANT TO DO IT??

    I think the process is otherwise called “giving in” or “bending over and kissing your a__ good bye”

  • Don Corleone

    It should be the other way around, Mr. President. Your wife is one thing, but you have to draw the line.

  • Anonymous

    You mean he wasn’t already cooperating with business?

  • Anonymous

    he gave me $3 million in tax breaks to hire 4 people……….i did at $0.25/hour in China….

  • Anonymous

    3. At his age and with his pre presidential background, did he not ever learn that there can only be COOPERATION when BOTH SIDES WANT TO DO IT??
    Well, you have to accept that HE WANTS THE SAME THING AS BIG BUSINESS. HE’S A REPUBLICAN. Pay no attention to what he says. Watch what he does!

  • Anonymous

    Obomber and beeg beezneez in bed together? This is news?

  • Guest

    That’s news, because it’s not like Obambi hasn’t bent over backwards $8 trillion times over to give big business, banks and plutocrats EVERYTHING they want.

    They’re making record profits, they’re giving themselves bonuses out of this world, they sucked up the TARP and stimulus and Fed dollars, they are steadily shipping US jobs overseas and paying less and less taxes, the insurance/Pharma/hospital corporations were given a gigantic gift with the health insurance bill (which does little about affordability or ensuring real care), the Financial Regulations bill is as full of holes as a moth-eaten rag, the corporate hog leaders got yet another massive tax cut in December, and yet they ranted and raved that Obambi wasn’t giving them what they wanted.

    Screw them. They all need to be frogmarched into a tribune of the majority of American people who are struggling to make it every day. And let’s reset the top marginal tax rates to 90% just as a start to the proceedings!

  • Guest

    gee, barry, why don’t you just roll over and go fetch their slippers while you’re at it! I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. Bill Cosby (1937 – )

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    The American Street knows they have been lied to.
    both of our corrupt political parties
    all of our corrupt controlled media

  • Anonymous

    If you get it, gives us some crow bars so we can use them to pry the money out of the “dead cold hands” of the fucking banksters that are holding onto it to buy food commodities that are raising food prices all over the fucking world.

  • Anonymous

    President Obama is correct, in my judgment, to try to reach out to the CofC members; but mark my words, these rich bastard SOB’s to whom he spoke won’t cooperate with intelligent prodding or visionary leadership. They made their money on the backs of working people, many of them employed by them; then laid millions of them off and left them to twist in the wind. Now they demand election of a President who’s “business friendly”, and they pour their money out on the likes of the stupid Alaskan half-termer, ole Newto Gringrincho, quick to break wind Romney–whoever marches most faithfully to their music and sings their song. They don’t give a rat’s patooty about the US as a middle class haven. I steadfastly believe they’ll destroy our country to achieve their own self interest. That’s why they have President Obama pathetically promising less and less valid governmental regulation, and it’s why they claim they’re against providing adequate health care for everyone. My bet is everyone who heard the President speak, by overwhelming majority at least, are screaming for repeal to these RePUKEliCUNTs who’re their advocates in Congress. I say none of them can be trusted, so good luck on prying their bi$$ions into long-term business growth. Yet, I do believe if anybody can herd these shitheads in a progressive direction, it’s possibly President Obama.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    To progressive Americans the gulf between what we voted for in Barack Obama and what he delivered is like Hosni Mabarak’s claim that he represents the people of Egypt.Barack Obama doesn’t represent me, he represents the privileged elite, just like Hosni Mabarak does in Egypt.Defending Obama by virtue of the fact that he weaseled a path of ambiguity through his campaign carries no weight. His election was a repudiation of past. He has failed and perhaps never thought of “hope and change” as anything more that advertising slogans.Barack Obama deserves the scorn of the American people that Hosni Mabarak earned from the people of Egypt. Mabarak represents 30 years of corrupt rule. Barack Obama has taken Ronald Reagan’s ossified and out of touch mantle.

    Trickle down was a cruel trick 30 years ago. Dressing it in a new “hope and change” suit doesn’t sell.

    It is time for them to go.

  • Anonymous

    He gets it about like Oprah did that first time she lost all that weight. Cue tape of Kathy Griffin bellowing in her Oprah voice, “I get it, people, I get it!”

  • Anonymous

    I think that gulf you speak of is more like the Grand Canyon!

  • Anonymous

    I get it too, I think it is time for what Gandhi called “non-co-operation” or a kind of active passive resistance against the Obama administration.

    I’m starting to believe that Obama thinks the Republicans are going to run Sarah Palin so he doesn’t have anything to worry about. His handlers must still be telling him that the left really doesn’t have anywhere else to go.

    I don’t know what I am going to do but it is becoming increasingly clear that I can no longer in good conscience vote for him in 2012.

  • Anonymous

    “I get it, I’m not allowed to get uppity”

    That’s what he’s saying, instead of what he should be saying

    “You’re under arrest”

  • Anonymous

    President Barack Obama warmly courted top US executives Monday…

    ‘Cause that’s where the campaign money comes from…

  • Anonymous

    What a fucking joke…. a sad, pathetic, depressing joke.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    Too bad the criminals in the “US” Chamber of Crooks doesn’t get it. Hanging a few of thieves would send a strong and well deserved message.

  • Roberthe

    He may be getting it about Big Biz now but he’s not going to be getting it from me in two Novembers. I don’t care if Sarah Palin’s evil twin runs, politicians need to remember it’s the people who elect them (unless, of course, it’s the Supreme Court…) and that it’s the people, not the Corporaiders, they ultimately need to satisfy. Barry, you make me feel like I married a (you know, one of those people who sell their body for $$$).

  • Guest

    watching the expressions and body language in this video tells us that the chamber of commerce knows they have Obama right where they want him, and so does he. The next two years is not going to be pretty for the american people, the expression is “sold out.”

  • Anonymous

    Unlike FDR who admitted that he had to betray his class in order for us to survive, Obama is betraying his own class – most of us – in order that we become even more destitute and powerless. The Chambers back door is now open for business – just follow Obama!

  • dula

    Hey dumbass Obama, we already tried Reaganomics/deregulation for 30 fucking years and it resulted in the collapse of our economy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TTCYMSQW7E5EVBYYMS2YSNCSAM Anonymous

    If you get it, Mr. Obama, then why do I see so much new legislation that hinders small business, currently touted as the backbone of employment in this country? What about the rider tucked in the health care bill requiring monstrous amounts of new 1099 forms that will eat up valuable time and energy for small employers, or the pending new food safety act that threatens to burden small farmers until only the large agricultural businesses are left… I think the only thing you’re getting, Mr. Obama, is a very cushy happily-ever-after-your-presidency-is-over from some very large corporations who hire most of their employees in foreign countries while they hold their hands out for taxpayer money. With apologies to a comedian for borrowing such a pertinent quote, “Thanks for ruining it for everybody else.”

  • Anonymous

    That man is astounding. I really can’t believe anyone but a fascist could utter such hatred for freedom:

    “”I’m here today because I am convinced… that we can and we must work together [with corrupt corporations],” Obama told hundreds of the country’s business leaders at chamber headquarters, just a stone’s throw from the White House. Whatever differences we may have, I know that all of us share a deep abiding belief in this country — a belief in our people, and the principles that have made America’s economy the envy of the world.”

    What beliefs and principles is Mr. Obama referring to? Could it be to steal as much as you can while you can, kill as many as you can, enslave as many as you can and then lie about being a beacon of liberty and freedom? By the way, I would suggest that Obama get rid of the exceptionalism, but why would he ever listen to me when I’ve never given him a dime. This man is worse than George Bush and he didn’t even have to work very hard to do it.

    The reason Americans don’t pay attention to what’s going on in Egypt and why the media is keeping a lid on it or spinning it wildly is because they don’t want Americans to know that not only is Egypt’s political and economic conditions identical with Egypt, if not worse, but the Egyptians are far more sophisticated and articulate than Americans as a whole.