Ezra Klein: the notion that Obama is ‘anti-business’ is ‘ridiculous on its face’


One of the more popular Republican criticisms of Obama is that he’s “anti-business.” But, as Ezra Klein pointed out on Tuesday’s edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, the exact opposite is true.

“If President Obama is so anti-business—if he’s engineering a hostile government takeover of the entire economy—he’s hiding it very, very well,” said Klein, who guest-hosted the show that night. “Because President Obama’s policies have, in fact, been very pro business.” He went on to note some of the ways in which big business has profited during the Obama era, including:

  • Corporate income taxes have plunged during Obama’s time in office.
  • Corporate profits in 2010 as a percentage of GDP were at their highest level since 1966.
  • “Practically the very first thing” Obama did as president was to pass a “hideously unpopular” (in Klein’s words) bailout package, rescuing the private financial industry.
  • Shortly afterwards, Obama also bailed out the automotive industry.
  • In 2011, the effective corporate tax rate was 12.1%, the lowest rate since 1972. Had Congress passed Obama’s proposed employer side payroll tax cut in the American Jobs Act, they would have been even lower in 2012.

“So if we’re going to have a real, serious discussion about Obama’s policy,” Klein concluded, “one criticism people can make of Obama’s policy is he’s arguably been too pro-business.”

He went on to lay out the argument. Arguably, he said, Obama has “spent too much time trying to pass corporate tax cuts and rescuing banks, and too little time rescuing home owners or trying to get corporations out of American health care choice. Maybe he’s been too quick to come to accommodation with American corporations.”

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Ezra Klein and Barack Obama

Ezra Klein: the notion that Obama is 'anti-business' is 'ridiculous on its face'