Is the Obama administration actually anti-business? In a New York Times op-ed this morning, Roger Altman, a former deputy treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, blasts the "poisonous dynamic" between the Obama team and the business community. But he suggests business leaders have little to complain about regarding the actual regulations pushed by the administration.
In recent weeks, Tim Geithner has been on a "charm offensive" to prove that the administration is not, in fact, anti-business, a move that Fox Business Network's Charlie Gasparino called "too little to late." The Business Roundtable, a prominent industry group with a strong lobbying contingent, has criticized the administration of late for what it sees as heavy regulations and taxes -- among other charges . The administration, as HuffPost's Dan Froomkin noted last week, has also reached out to the group for advice on which regulations are too burdensome.
Despite the passage of health care and financial reform, two historic pieces of legislation that have created a host of new regulations, Altman argues that the Obama administration has been a mini-boom for corporate America -- corporate profits are up 41 percent and the Dow is up nearly 30 percent since he took office. But when it comes to Wall Street reform, he suggests, business has dodged at least one major bullet. Here's Altman:
Yes, business sees both the health reform and financial reform legislation as establishing burdensome regulatory structures. It is right in this regard. But financial reform was mandatory. And while some on Wall Street naturally don't like it, most in our community view it as relatively harmless.
What can the Obama administration do to correct the perception that it is anti-business? For one, Altman suggests bringing on someone who's run a major company. "No important member of his administration has ever met a major payroll," he writes.
Check out Altman's full column at the New York Times here.