Yet, note Obama's remarks in a Business Week interview last week, "Obama's Corporate Messaging":
Some of that anti-Wall Street rhetoric is heard by businesspeople outside of Wall Street. Do you think that they take that as a lack of confidence and, therefore, they are hesitant to invest?RTWT.
I do think that the anger directed toward the big banks had a spillover effect. As much as we have actually been restrained this year, if you look at the statements coming out of this White House, the irony is, is that on the left we are perceived as being in the pockets of Big Business. And then on the business side, we are perceived as being anti-business.
We are pro-growth. We are fierce advocates for a thriving, dynamic free market. But we do think that there have to be some rules of the road in place in the financial sector that will create an even playing field and allow businesses to raise capital and consumers to buy products with confidence.
Coming out of this past decade, there has been a sense on the part of a lot of middle-class families that they have been left behind, even when we were expanding. And I talked during the campaign about the need for us to restore a sense of balance to the compact between business, government, and employees all across the country.
If businesses are making record profits but employees are seeing their wages flatline—and in fact, incomes decline over the course of the decade—that puts enormous strains on families. It puts, I think, a dampening effect on consumers who help drive this economy. We are going to be better off if everybody feels like they have got a stake in growth and innovation moving forward. And I think that balance got lost.
Now, making sure that we restore that balance without tipping too far in the other direction in ways that squelch innovation and investment is going to be an important challenge, and one that we take very seriously. But the important message I would have for the business community—and this is something that I emphasize every time I have lunch with CEOs, and we have had a lot of them in here—is we have every interest in you succeeding.
In the international marketplace, the more the American brand and American products and American services are thriving, the better off we are going to be and, by the way, the better off I will look as President of the United States.
Every American President in the last 30 years has had a major CEO as a member of the Cabinet in the inner circle. You don't so far. Why is that?
It just has to do with who the particular individuals who were needed at a time of crisis. I thought it was very important to have Larry Summers and Tim Geithner as two of my key economic advisers early on because they had gone through significant global economic crises before.
But I think it is a legitimate point to say that we want and need more input from the corporate community, if nothing else, just so that we can communicate to the corporate community and to the business community the fact that, if you look at our actual policies, as opposed to the speculation around our policies, they have been fundamentally business-friendly.
One of Obama's favorite CEO's is GE Chairman and progressive-socialist Jeffrey Immelt.
Added: From the New York Times, "Obama Defends His Policies to C.E.O.’s" (via Memeorandum). And at The Lonely Conservative, "Obama: Enough with the Socialist Rhetoric!"