Saturday, June 3, 2017

Is Trump Losing the Capitalists?

CEOs grow skittish about public association with a leader who likes to describe himself as the most business-friendly president to ever sit in the Oval Office. This is especially true for executives at big public companies, who have to take into account how both employees and shareholders will respond to interactions with an unpopular and controversial president.


Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Disney CEO Bob Iger quit as outside advisers to President Donald Trump following his rejection of the Paris climate accords. Dozens of other executives also publicly rebuked the White House over the decision, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein—a former colleague of many top administration officials—used his first-ever tweet to criticize the Paris decision, calling it a “setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world.”

Chief executives and senior corporate lobbyists are also dismayed that the administration’s big Capitol Hill agenda – including repealing Obamacare and passing massive tax cuts – appears stalled. And the White House is now engaged in a very public fight with itself over how and when to raise the debt limit, a terrifying prospect for Wall Street and the rest of corporate America.


In response to a request for comment on the wave of public critiques from CEOs, a White House spokesman repeated Trump’s argument that the Paris accord would slow the U.S. economy. “The President is keeping his promise by working for a new or better deal for America,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Defenders of the administration note that CEOs quitting Trump’s outside advisory panels thus far are Democrats from blue states like California.

So that makes it okay? Are we really okay with being a deeply divided nation?

Actually, it seems to me that Trump is happiest when he's got someone to go up against, when he can exercise power. He seems more like a president who will gladly divide the nation and play to his "base". He's a pugnacious asshole, uninterested in bringing people together, and instead, eager to sue or fire somebody.
The White House is planning a day-long summit of technology CEOs at the White House for June 19 to discuss modernizing government systems, an effort led by Trump’s son in law and top adviser Jared Kushner. But Musk has already quit as an outside adviser and Apple CEO Tim Cook and other tech titans also criticized the Paris decision.

The tech meeting is now seen as a key barometer for whether more CEOs will put distance between themselves and the White House.


Alienating corporate executives and lobbyists could reduce Trump’s ability to raise money for an eventual re-election campaign and for other Republicans in the upcoming midterms. It could also make pushing through tough legislative items like corporate tax reform harder.

Changing corporate tax law always creates winners and losers and the White House will need to ensure that any industries who might take an initial hit from any final bill don’t organize to stop what could turn out to be the administration’s biggest first term initiative.


“If an administration wants something to happen and corporate America doesn’t believe in it, it’s pretty much dead in the water,” said Charles Geisst, a business historian at Manhattan College.
But if he gives them the tax breaks he's promising, they'll get over their aversion on climate change.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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