How 10 of the most well-known CEOs in America rate Obama’s policies

Whether you love or loathe President Obama’s policies, chances are, you’ve got an opinion. Check out how 10 of the nation’s leading CEOs differed when Business Week recently asked them to rate the current administration’s  policies on healthcare, taxes and business (then tell us your own thoughts in the comments section below).

On healthcare reform:

  • Angela Braly, CEO of WellPoint (the nation’s leading health insurer): “The President is doing the right thing by bringing in leaders from hospitals, physicians, nurses, employers, advocacy groups, and private insurers, among others. Only by working together will we be able to develop a sustainable solution for America’s healthcare system.”
  • Jeffrey Kindler, CEO, Pfizer: “Obama’s healthcare reform is making more progress than a lot of people would have predicted. We’re on the verge of a bill coming out of the House that’s clearly going to happen … The biggest challenge is this issue around the public plan. How do we pay for it? I do think we have to accept the reality that the vast majority of the people in this country get their insurance from employers and if we create a system that provides incentives for employers to not provide their employees with insurance, then under certain scenarios huge numbers of people under public option would move out of the employer system and into the public system. That would not be a good outcome because it would impose a tremednous financial burden on the taxpayers.”

On tax reform:

  • Charles Schwab, Founder and Chairman, Charles Schwab: “What we haven’t done is restore the confidence of the people who create the jobs … The biggest uncertainty is: Where are taxes going to go? The quicker you can bring certainty[on that issue], the quicker you restore confidence.”
  • Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext, which operates the New York Stock Exchage: “A place where I do not think they struck the right chord is on the tax proposal regarding overseas earnings of multinational corporations headquartered in the U.S. The overwhelming view from that constituent group is that if the proposal were to go through, it would at best require a lot of U.S. headquartered companies to eliminate jobs to reduce costs and make up for the increased tax burden. More challengingly, it would encourage a lot of these companies to contemplate being incorporated elsewhere and potentially moving jobs out of this country.”

On business and regulation:

  • Robert Greifeld, CEO, Nasdaq: “Within the leadership of the business community, there is concern and I would say that the attitude is not so much wait-and-see, but wary. They’re wary with respect to trade policy. They’re wary with respect to tax policy and obviously are also concerned with the burden of health-care costs. There’s a fair amount of trepidation in the business community and what the Administration policies might mean to their success in the future. In terms of the concern in the business community, I think, it is greater today than it was back in November.”
  • Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext: “We all know we need some regulatory reform here and to bring the opaque markets out of the shadows and into the light. But there’s a real danger, in our view, that there ends up being excessive regulation that stifles creation of new business and new jobs.”
  • W. James McNerney, Jr.: “A level playing field for American companies and workers in international markets is more important than ever. I see clear evidence that the Administration understands the issue and its importance to U.S. economic health.”

Overall assessment:

  • Donald Trump, CEO, The Trump Organization: “He’s handled the tremendous mess he walked into very well. He still has a daunting task ahead of him but he appears to be equal to the challenge. He has kept his eye on both national and international issues and his visits to foreign countries have shown him to be warmly received, which is certainly a change from the last Administration. I believe he should pay more attention to OPEC and what’s going on there, but overall I believe he’s done a very good job.”
  • Michael Dell, Founder and CEO, Dell: “There are some aspects of what is in the economic recovery act around broadband, healthcare, and IT spending that we think are good things. We’re concerned, like many, that one word that seems to be missing from a lot of discussions is competitiveness. How do all of these things make America more competitive? It’s a word that should be used more in Washington.”
  • Jeffrey Katzenberger, CEO, Dreamworks Animation: “I don’t think that any President in modern history has had to face a deeper or more difficult or more complicated set of issues from the first moment he set foot in the White House, and I think he has done an exceptional job of methodically working his way through that horrendous set of problems. He had to make a lot of decisions, and some of them will be wrong, but many, many of them will turn out right.”
  • Mohamed El-Erian, CEO, Pimco: “On one side he has been able to stabilize the financial center and institute major structural reforms. And he still maintains enormous popularity with the American people. On the negative side, the jobs picture is worse than anticipated, and unemployment itself is becoming a big policy challenge. It’s going from being a lagging indicator to being a leading indicator. The major issue people are going to second guess in the next six months is his decision to pursue both agendas. Was that the right one or should have he done it sequentially?”

So what do you think? Which CEOs make valid points, which ones are off target? Where do you think the current administration’s succeeding, and where could it be more effective?

We welcome opposing (and parallel) points of view in the comments section below.

For the full article, including a complete breakdown of quotes from all 10 CEOs, check out “CEOs Rate Obama’s Performance,” by Joseph Weber,
Business Week, 8/3/09.

0 thoughts on “How 10 of the most well-known CEOs in America rate Obama’s policies”

  1. I think these guys have their heads in the clouds – much like our Congress and President. They don’t have a clue what the real people in this country are facing. Big companies are in bed with Congress and the White House. I don’t think anything they say can be of any value to me.

  2. I WOULD SAY THAT 90% OF THE ABOVE RESPONSES REFLECT EACH OF THEIR POLITICAL PREFERENCES NOW AND BEFORE THE ELECTION. IN OTHERWORDS, THEY WERE ALL POLITICAL. THEY DON’T MEAN ANYTHING. THEY REPRESENT THE SAME OLE CRAP THAT CORPORATE AMERICA HAS BEEN FEEDING US FOR YEARS. SHORT TERM THINKING WILL FINISH US EVENTUALLY. IN MY OPINION CHANGE IS NEEDED MORE NOW THAN BEFORE THE ELECTION!!

  3. Porter Kauffman

    I think that the President understood that he had to act quickly to get his full agnenda in place. Today, ones political capital does not last long. The sharks are swimming (both parties) and as soon as Obama starts bleeding they will deviour him. His inner circle had conflicting agenda’s during his campaign – and now they are asked to support him. Doesn’t work in business and it certainly will not work at the White House. To ask CEO’s to rate the President is like asking an employee to rate his/her boss in public. These CEO’s will do and say what is necessary to advance there companies agendas.

  4. It’s good to hear some actual, thoughful response from Industry, as opposed to the kind of knee jerk, partisan shouting exemplified by the two responses above.

  5. I could have guessed what each of them would say before I even read a word of it. It’s no surprise, they are all in it together and all for themselves. What do they care, they aren’t footing the bill, middle class America is.

  6. In a climate where snitching on your neighbor is encouraged, I don’t blame these CEOs for sticking to the politically correct script. Come out and interview us working folks!! Let us tell you how WE think the President is doing.

  7. I think that these business folks opinions are based on whats good for their companies. That said I am not sure that what is good for business at this time is good for America. Don’t take this as anti business or anti capitalism, I just believe that governments should focus on the people, jobs, healthcare, housing, stable and available credit and security. With the foundation which is the people the creative business minds will be able to competitively produce the goods and services the citizens of the world will require. Business may not be able to be as profitable as they like, but they will be sustainable in the long run when they are built on an economy that is responsive to the people and not just a few corporate executives.

  8. It is unfortunate that the bigger and larger a company gets the more distant its top management is from the everyday world. They have forgotten how at the start they were cutting every counter in order to move to the next level. Cash flow planning was an absolute must – conservative spending a necessary approach. For them to be required to put money in a pot to hand out to others who were not working and not managing their funds with the same deligence as they were would have offended them to the fullest. Many CEO’s enterprentures have failed – actually gone into bankrupty and then tried again and again until they succeded. The Federal government did not interced but rather the “free market” was allowed to function. Why is the Federal Government stopping the “free market” system from working – to save the “free market” system? Please note how politically correct these responses were – they knew their statements were going to be published and politically safe is protection of corporate image

  9. It’s called CYA…cover your Axx. They don’t want to be fired by Obama like the President of GM. It’s kiss’n government Elite’s butt right now. This is disgraceful. Socialism here we come.

  10. What planet are these people on???
    I tink they are afraid to say what they really think so it will not reflect on their companies.
    It sure makes me retink my dealings with their companies.
    If the President continues on his same path, they had better pay more attention to their companies.

  11. Unless we were really wanting our government to take over our banks and automobile industry, destroy creative thought and innovation incentives, and dismantle the best healthcare system in the world when it only needs to be fine tuned (how about some medical practice tort reform ???), then only an “F” grade can be given to our new administration. Also, apologizing to a world that the United States has only made better this past century by spreading technological innovation, providing unmatched humanitarian aid, and sacrifificed American lives to to save and protect entire nations is inexcusable…….strong words to follow !

  12. It looks loke B.O. has big business on his side. This is not unusual for the prez who says that it is time for a change and then brings the Clonton cronies on board. The change is obviously from conservatism back to socialism. Is there a need to mention the witch who shut down congress when she did not get her way. Thanks to all the hard working dems who ran out at the first oppirtunity.

  13. I think that most of them are afraid to tell it like it actually is for fear if they need a bailout it won’t be
    there.
    I think government can run very smoothly if we would only get down to basics. If you haven’t
    read and understand the bill you can’t vote on it, and you should be required to swear that YOU have
    read it and UNDERSTOOD IT not your staff…
    I think bills should be one subject at a time. If it is save the whale, it should be save the whale not 800 tag ons. Look how fast and efficient government would work with the people running it making
    decisions based on only one thing at a time that they and everyone else can understand.

  14. I guess these folks are resigned to working for the federal government in the near future, otherwise they would be more protective of the various businesses they “represent”. They see the trend toward “let the government do it” thinking and firmly desire to still be part of the new power structure after the power finally passes from the people to Washington. I hope the scraps doled out to them by their new masters are enough to help them forget the good old days when Washington politicians worked for them and not the other way around.

  15. Heads of major corps are going to protect their positions no be forthcoming with honest assessments.
    We should be grading Rahm Emanuel — he’s pulling the strings.

  16. Government Health Care is like helping starving people only by giving them food, but not teaching them or giving them the tools to feed themselves. Eventually they will starve.

    We should put Americans back to work, protect our jobs against unfair trade agreements and most of us will take care of ourselves. The government can then help those who cannot help themselves.

  17. Mr. Trump…you are fired for such a dumb endorsement of the President’s policies. Who in government even reads proposed legislation before they vote to pass it. If the President wants to insure the uninsured, then insure them first,and let me take care of myself.

  18. This administration has been a failure to anyone that wants to take care of themself and strive for success. If you want to be taken care of and punish success, then this is a great time to be in America. Stop punishing the successful and stop rewarding failure. We are all strong enough to take care of our own be we companies or individuals. These CEOs are no more than mouthpieces and offered very little worthwhile commentary.

  19. Big business and the administration along with congress has thrown small business (which provides approximately 68% of the nations payroll) under the Buss. Change is inevitable, required and desired to keep this great nation at the top. Change without time to absorb causes turmoil and the news surely reports turmoil.

    The main stream news is not reporting the decay of tax receipts or the tremendous loss of jobs in small business America. The president expounds his ever changing views, giving us a new insight and fresh look at his daily changing position with each visit to the microphone. It is time to calm down, take time to make change correctly with bipartisan support.

    It is time to stop rewarding the non-productive citizens and let the productive citizens succeed.

    Leadership from main stream America ch

  20. Obama has filled his administration with socialists and we are paying for it. CEO’s are typically cowards when it comes to politics and offer neutral answers or supportive answers. They know as well as many of us know that he and his administration has been doing exactly the wrong things–on very front.
    America has slipped the veil and allowed the no liability voter to punish the responsible voter.

  21. They don’t dare say what they REALLY think, but if you read between the lines you can grasp it. Guys like Trump are looking for favors from the Obama administration. (He’s a guy who uses bankruptcy as a standard business tactic). Others are saying, “Whoa….take a breath, will ya?”. There is caution throughout. Perhaps the CEO expressing concern with the Health Care Public Option is an “angry mob”.

  22. I think these gentlemen don’t have a clue what the working person in this country is facing especially the middle class. Most of them don’t care about the tax burden that Obama is putting on Middle Class America. To them 10 percent increase in taxes and a 2 or 3 percent surcharge is nothing. They will still take home millions in salary and bonuses. They, like congress will be able to afford private healthcare while the rest of middle class America will pay for all this with higher taxes, higher energy, higher food and clothing and get sorry public healthcare. The only good thing is that we can vote Obama out in four years and the shareholders can vote these CEO’s.

  23. Wow, kinda obvious who frequents this website, eh? I, for one, thought their answers were right on, mostly. Its funny how when the conservatives are in charge people listen to the leaders of big business. However, when the democrats are in charge, suddenly the big business heads don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.

    And you people who complain about socialism need to get a clue. Most of you couldn’t possibly get through a single day without utilizing the government’s “socialist” programs. Paying taxes is socialist. Social security (built right into the name) is socialist. The roads you drive on were built by YOUR tax money that was pooled into a big socialist pool. The Doritoes and all the other corn-based products were subsidised in a completely socialist way to make them cheap enough for you to buy.

    Stop complaining about “socialism” and take a look deep into yourself and figure out why you’re so angry. My guess is that a lot of you are still afraid that he’s “The One” or simply that you grew up to hate democrats, or the most likely solution is that you’re incredulous that people you know actually voted for *gasp* a black man.

  24. The folks making comments show more sense and understanding of the plight of the American People and our country than these “Leaders in Business.” I tend to agree with the rest of our commenters in that either these “Leaders” are consigned to
    1) living under a socialist form of government.
    2) hopes the government suceeds in creating a mandatory “government” insurance, thereby releaving thier companies the responsibility of providing insurance to us drones.
    3) or that they hope to move completely out of the U.S. until such a time that we are weak enough to come back in and take our natural resources and do it with cheap labor…
    The real question is what country will have a lucrative enough consumer base tto sell their products too?

  25. John Says:

    “Wow, kinda obvious who frequents this website, eh? I, for one, thought their answers were right on, mostly. Its funny how when the conservatives are in charge people listen to the leaders of big business. However, when the democrats are in charge, suddenly the big business heads don’t have a clue what they’re talking about…

    Stop complaining about “socialism” and take a look deep into yourself and figure out why you’re so angry. My guess is that a lot of you are still afraid that he’s “The One” or simply that you grew up to hate democrats, or the most likely solution is that you’re incredulous that people you know actually voted for *gasp* a black man.”

    Straight out of the Rule for Radicals handbook #5 with a little rule #6 thrown in. 🙂 http://vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/rules.html if you’d like to reference all of the rules. Print them off and play “RfR Bingo” during the nightly news with your friends.

  26. ROFL—-as long as the simpering, whimpering, sniping continues, we’re headed down the drain faster than eel-sh**. the fact of the matter is we are a gluttonous, self-serving lot, whose selfishness is being used to manipulate us. Blame BO, the welfare state, Socialism, whatever, when the Bush Adm did nothing but cater to Corporate interests–remember pharma competition from Canada? Or how would Clinton have been received were he to have tried to implement reasonable fuel efficiency standards in the 90’s? I’ll tell you: “town hall meeting”! BO in fact wants to help build the middle class back, but many of em are too damn stoodpid to do anything but be a tool for Corporate Welfare (Corporate Socialism????)

  27. The American People need to read the Marxist Reader, and the history of the communist movement. I was at the U. of Illinois , Chicago Circle, when these Marxist terror groups like Acorn were born in the late 1960s. Obama and his Chicago Communist friends (they had no problem calling themselves that, back then), will use anyone they can to meet their dream of a Communist USA. Bobby Rush, a Chicago Black Panther Communist , and mentor of Obama, became a Congressman. Obama became the first true Communist President of the USA. Marxist ideology tells us that, when Communists do not need their rich industrialist friends anymore, they kill them and anyone else who was foolish enough to help them . ABC, NBC, and MSNBC, among others, beware! Americam citizens should hold on to their firearms!

  28. You have an administration that is against the very freedom that has allowed success to a greater extent, and to more people, than in the history of the world, and these men all say what a wonderful person Obama is?? How absurd!

  29. Fred –

    That rules for radicals list is great, thanks for the link. I will be sure to utilize it from now on. 😉 Having read that entire list, I noticed that Fox News must be following that list to the letter. Its amazing, really, how very much that list reflects Fox New’s tactics.

  30. Charles and John–why don’t you pay more in taxes if you want to?
    There is a sad dearth in education in our country and government schools are even worse now.

  31. wtf does that have to do with my post about Corporate welfare/subsidies? Why don’t YOU double-down on your already inflated prescription drug prices? In my line of sales, there isn’t enough margin to do things like buy an entire doctor’s office staff lunch, or send the Doc to the Bahama’s. I’m sure it would make closing a tad easier, but not sure it would truly be “free-market” if there was that much fat. But hey, long as I’ve got a job, f*** em, right? BTW–you’re right about the state of many public schools–I chair the Landscape committee at my son’s MS, and we’ve added considerably to the appearance and pride of the school….exactly wtf do you do besides whine?

  32. Wow, I’ll bet I can guess what network news most of you are watching: it starts with and F and ends with an X. Please, do yourself some good: get the real facts and stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

  33. As a small business man the health care cost is killing us. We need to do something now and not wait another 5 years before we get some relief. The health care industry is broken and lets start fixing it now. At least Obama is doing something.

  34. “Brown nose” comes to mind when I read these CEO’s politically correct comments. They make millions in compensation, pay as little taxes as possible and employ lobbyists to further their corporate interests and agendas. I am a small business CEO who has an entirely different view of this administration and Congress. I emigrated from England and I see an exact repeat of what I thought I left behind the other side of the ocean. You ain’t seen nothing yet if we dont wake up and honestly voice our opinion about these power hungry politicians.

  35. If this administration is so great, why are a lot of the people in congress and senate quitting and not running again? If this administration is so great, why are most of the countries laughing at us? stop and think about it. This administration has no clue as to what we the people have to go through just to keep making a living and keeping a roof over our heads. Ask the people who have lost their jobs and homes, then see what this administration had done for them. They keep raising taxes and pretty soon every one will be on the street. Lets take our country back!

  36. I see that as usual only large corporations were interviewed for their opinions. Try talking to the small businesses across the country…those of us called the backbone of the economy…..and you will see a different reponse. What has all this meant to us….that banks are hesitant if not down right reluctant to lend money to help the small businesses through these bad economic times which can only mean that even they do not have faith in the so called “Economic Turn Around”. Personally….I don’t see it and either does my bottom line. The sooner we break the spend thrift Obama’s contol the better. I can’t see where he has done anything other than to reward big business for their bad business decisions while the rest of us are still struggling to make the best business decisions we can to keep afloat.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *