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March 3, 2008

Michelle and Barack Obama’s Corporate Confusion


It is no secret that Democrats have long had a love-hate relationship with corporate America. On the one hand, they often emerge from careers in corporate America and usually get political support from it. On the other hand, they can’t seem to win an election without scathing attacks on this vague entity of “corporations,” as if actual corporations literally sit around a gigantic table every week to discuss how to prevent people from enjoying the “audacity of hope.”


Michelle Obama is a perfect example of this schizophrenic relationship between Democrats and corporations. Campaigning for her husband in Ohio, she urged her audience: “Don’t go into corporate America.” She went on to suggest a couple of career choices they can make, including becoming “a nurse,” which could very well mean working for corporate America, but I digress.


It is indeed an interesting thing to say for Michelle Obama, who began her career in corporate law, much like Barack Obama. And until her husband remembered last year that he needed to start bashing Wal-Mart in order to secure the Democratic nomination, she had served on the board of TreeHouse Foods, Inc., a company that had as the biggest customer for its pickle and pepper products – you guessed it – Wal-Mart!


None of which, by the way, is bad in and of itself. In fact, these are good jobs that many Americans legitimately aspire to secure. But why the hypocrisy and inconsistency? If Wal-Mart is so evil that Barack Obama won’t even shop there, why was it acceptable to sit on the board of a company so dependent on Wal-Mart? If Michelle Obama had such ties to Wal-Mart, why is it reasonable to attack Hillary Clinton for her Wal-Mart ties? And just because corporate America helped make the two rich enough to no longer need corporate jobs, why are they discouraging others from getting corporate jobs? The whole thing is a joke.


Corporations on the whole are very good for the United States and the world. They provide jobs to millions, which also means that they provide better benefits to their employees than their competitors would. They offer us products we couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago and couldn’t have afforded three years ago. They scour the globe for the cheapest way to produce their goods to the benefit of both their customers, whose standard of living is improved for a lower price, and of host countries that get rewarded for low taxes and business-friendly environments.


Now of course, corporations have their problems too, but not the kind you would expect. Oftentimes, and contrary to popular belief, big corporations will cooperate with left-wing big government with destructive results. Take the corporations that have come out in favor of the minimum wage, knowing it would put their smaller competitors out of business, leaving the big boys with a greater market share. The same thing goes for polluting corporations that embrace new environmental rules that would put a bigger dent in their weaker competitors’ productivity. It goes on and on. Little do liberals realize that their policies often help large corporations instead of having the opposite intended effect.


But on the whole, corporate America is a force for good. And if the Obamas truly disagreed, they never would have worked for corporations, or represented them for that manner.


It thus says something when Michelle Obama asks her fellow Americans to stay away from corporate America. It is equally problematic that Barack complains about corporate profits, while at the same time insisting that they maintain their headquarters in the United States. Which is it? Would he like to make up his mind about this?


Or does he expect corporations to stay in the United States and happily embrace some of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, which they end up passing on to consumers anyway?


And how does Barack’s insistence on corporations keeping their jobs in the United States square with Michelle’s suggestion that Americans not take corporate jobs?


Let me get this straight. Barack Obama will do everything in his power to prevent valuable corporations from leaving America for other countries. But once he makes sure the corporations are going to stay, he won’t want them to make a profit and will discourage Americans from working for them. But hey, at least those unprofitable, unstaffed headquarters would still be in our good old U.S. of A!


Sounds like Barack Obama is not just bringing change to Washington, but he’s out to change common sense as well.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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