Business leaders better kowtow to the Obama administration or else his bureaucrats will cut off the company's ability to do business with the government. Since the government controls so many industries now, through regulations, threats and other means, these actions can destroy private companies.
The Wall Street Journal's Alicia Mundy reports that business leaders are anxious over this development:
A government attempt to oust a longtime drug-company chief executive over his company's marketing violations is raising alarms in that industry and beyond about a potential expansion of federal involvement in the business world.
The Department of Health and Human Services this month notified Howard Solomon of Forest Laboratories Inc. that it intends to exclude him from doing business with the federal government. This, in turn, could prevent Forest from selling its drugs to Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration. If the government implements its ban, Forest would have to dump Mr. Solomon, now 83 years old, in order to protect its corporate revenue. No drug company, large or small, can afford to lose out on sales to the federal government, a major customer.
The government is now in the business of bullying private companies into firing executives they dislike. What's next? I suppose what's next is the government forcing corporations to hire politically acceptable flunkies they prefer.
The "action against the CEO of Forest Labs is a game changer," said Richard Westling, a corporate defense attorney in Nashville who has represented executives in different industries against the government.
According to Mr. Westling, "It would be a mistake to see this as solely a health-care industry issue. The use of sanctions such as exclusion and debarment to punish individuals where the government is unable to prove a direct legal or regulatory violation could have wide-ranging impact." An exclusion penalty could be more costly than a Justice Department prosecution.
He said that the Defense Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, have debarment powers similar to the HHS exclusion authority.
So a business that is innocent of violating regulations and wins a lawsuit, can still be presumed guilty by the government agency that regulates them and lost the lawsuit. The government can punish them because they're in the mood to punish them.
This action by the Obama administration is nakedly evil. It would be easier to have sympathy for these businesses if they hadn't gotten into bed with a politician and his machine that clearly hated business and views winners at capitalism as villains rather than champions that fund their big government programs.
So many of these companies hopped on board the Obamacare train. They jumped on the Obama bandwagon. They thought that by being part of the process they'd be able to influence the process.
As my mom used to say: Play in a pit of vipers, you're bound to get bit.
It's not like President Obama was mysterious about his dislike for capitalism. Quite the contrary, he believes that anyone who is rich is, by definition, greedy. He believes that American corporations are the enemy.
And, now, if a business doesn't do what he wants, the way he wants, President Obama's administration will assert itself, despot-like, to coerce the changes they desire.
How can this happen? And will it continue to happen?
Well, President Obama is a true believer, for one. That makes him very dangerous. He's utterly ignorant of basic economics and believes that he and his bureaucrats know better than the market's self-correcting mechanisms. So, he has no problem interfering. He believes he's helping.
In addition, the class-warfare rhetoric works because the populace is equally ignorant about economics. They start believing that the president actually cares about them...because he says he does. Unfortunately, all his sophomoric policies start harming them. So, the black men who were expecting jobs that President Obama promised feel betrayed when the very policies that President Obama put in place to help, actually hurts.
In America, though, the market still works enough to reflect the pain fairly quickly to the average person. And so, average guy with no job and rising gas prices and now, no house, looks around and thinks, "this is not what I had in mind with hope and change."
Still, promises of punishing the rich sound good and since President Obama has no other plan, he seems intent to stay on this destabilizing course.
Businesses continue to be the butt of every Obama joke and the victim of every Obama bully. And businesses create jobs.
CEOs are now on warning: Do what the President wants, or else. When all Americans realize this attitude transfers to them, too, they'll reject the current leadership.
So far, though, it's been easier to imagine that President Obama only dislikes the "other". Hopefully voters will soon realize the "other" is them.