The President, Big Business and the Republicans

You may have noticed that the President has met more than once with various business groups and corporate leaders about fiscal and economic issues.  In today’s New York Times, Jackie Calmes has an interesting analysis.

Corporate chiefs in recent months have pleaded publicly with Republicans to raise their taxes for the sake of deficit reduction, and to raise the nation’s debt limit without a fight lest another confrontation like that in 2011 wallop the economy. But the lobbying has been to no avail. This is not their parents’ Republican Party.

In a shift over a half-century, the party base has been transplanted from the industrial Northeast and urban centers to become rooted in the South and West, in towns and rural areas. In turn, Republicans are electing more populist, antitax and antigovernment conservatives who are less supportive — and even suspicious — of appeals from big business.

The article quotes Senator Cruz

“One of the biggest lies in politics is the lie that Republicans are the party of big business,” Ted Cruz, a new senator from Texas and a Tea Party favorite, told The Wall Street Journal during his 2012 campaign. “Big business does great with big government. Big business is very happy to climb in bed with big government. Republicans are and should be the party of small business and of entrepreneurs.”

Senator Cruz

This brings me to the question, once more, as to who is actually represented by people like Senator Cruz.  OK, I get the small town and rural but what I don’t get is what exactly does he and his wing of the party want to do for those they represent.  My husband would tell me that they don’t want to do anything except blow up government.  Maybe so, but how politically popular would it be to do away with money for roads and railroads that move the farm products that are produced?  (Heard of infrastructure, Senator?)  Or the rural subsidies that provide phone and internet services?  Or the various farm subsidies?  I admit, that I’m not clear on where they are on the corporate farm versus the family farm issue.

But big business isn’t interested in blowing up the government.

Big business is so fearful of economic peril if Congress does not allow the government to keep borrowing — to pay creditors, contractors, program beneficiaries and many others — that it is nearly united in skepticism of, or outright opposition to, House Republicans’ demand that Mr. Obama first agree to equal spending cuts in benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

That explains the administration’s outreach to corporate chiefs, like Monday’s conference call. Mr. Obama wants business’s support to buttress his vow that he will never again negotiate over so essential an action like he did in 2011, when the nation flirted with default and the economy suffered. Vexing Republicans, many business leaders are siding with him.

“I’m agreeing with the president — you should not be using the debt limit as a bargaining chip when it comes to how you run the country,” said David M. Cote, chief executive of Honeywell, and a Republican. “You don’t put the full faith and credit of the United States at risk.”

And the party reaction?

Some of the Republicans’ distancing from big business is a matter of political tactics — to alter their image as the party of wealth and corporate power. A writer for the conservative Weekly Standard said of the fiscal fight last month, “While big business cozies up to Obama once again, Republicans have an opportunity to enhance their reputation as the party of Main Street.”

But if we default on our debt by no raising the debt ceiling, what will happen to all those small Main Street businesses?  People with no social security, unemployment, and in the case of thousands of furloughed government workers at all levels will have no money to spend and those very businesses will be at risk.

Let’s face it.  No one “likes” government until they want or need government to do something for them then we all love government.  All those Republican’s in Congress, many from the South, who voted against Sandy relief will be crying in August and September when a storm hits the Gulf.

President Barack Obama talks with Michael G. M...

President Barack Obama talks with Michael G. Morris, right, of American Electric Power Company, and David Cote in the Cross Hall of the White House, before a dinner with CEOs, Feb. 24, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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