Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Man Who Calls Obamacare Fascism

Do you have to go off the deep end to become a multimillionaire in this country or does the process do it to you or are normal people simply unlikely to become millionaires, because they are , you know, normal?

So I'm listening to this interview with John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, a store I like a lot, and cannot find in New Hampshire and he observes, without vehemence,  the strains any business like his has to face. He says this matter of fact, just to enumerate what every corporate CEO has to balance and face:  "Customers want lower prices and higher quality. Employees want better benefits, and higher wages and better working conditions. Suppliers want to give you fewer discounts and want you to pick up more of their products. Communities want more donations. Governments want higher taxes. Investors want higher dividends and higher stock prices. Every one of these stake holders wants more. They always want more."

From that rather dispassionate appraisal, he then launches into his opinion that Obamacare is fascism, whereas he had formerly called it socialism. But, he informs us,  in socialism the government owns the means of  production, in fascism it does not , it just controls the products produced by private means.  This strikes Mad Dog as an opinion bereft of real understanding--but like so many libertarians, Mr. Mackey is not encumbered by  much formal education--he is (like Bill Gates) a college drop out.

He considers unions a herpes on the genitals of capitalism.

He has read Milton Friedman, who advocated allowing the free market to control drugs  by lawsuits, after they had done their damage, who advocated abolishing the FDA and allowing the drug company  which produces the next thalidomide to simply be sued out of existence, after  the babies with no arms get born. Who needs an FDA, when you've got personal liability lawyers? Who needs prevention when you have lawsuits?

He also believes climate change is a hoax and there is too much hysteria about global warming. 

On the other hand, he has instituted caps on executive pay, advocated for the humane treatment of the animals whose meat he sells in his stores and he has moved his stores away from selling endangered species of fish.

And why do we care what this confused white man thinks? Because he is rich, possesses $100 million dollars and is still the CEO of a chain of very nice food stores and he employs a lot of (non unionized) people. The same can be said of Donald Trump, another rich man who says things people listen to, no matter how bizarre. After all, he is rich. He must be smart.

For Mad Dog, the intriguing thing is how beguiled one can be listening to someone who sounds so reasonable, who, when you question him long enough, about enough topics,  you find yourself  backing out of the room, keeping a path to the door well cleared.

Which is probably how people get elected to Congress and other deeply disturbed people look and sound pretty normal, until they open up with their AR-15's.


  1. Mad Dog,
    As opposed to some of our fine Republican congressman that can have the intelligence of a prairie dog, but the ability to spout enough right wing crazy talk to get elected, Mr. Mackey actually had enough talent and intelligence to conceive and create an innovative company with successful, appealing stores to get where he is. Yet his concern for the planet doesn't extend to the climate and his concern for living things doesn't appear to extend to humans. He's able to look at Obamacare and see fascism. It's as if something has crawled into his brain and is eating away at rational thought. I understand someone like Glenn Beck being unable to connect the dots, but I agree, people like Mr.Mackey are more than a little puzzling and disturbing..

  2. Maud,

    It is curious. I suspect Mr. Mackey, the Tea Party and most people who use the word "fascist" have never bothered to so much as look it up in Wikipedia. They simply want to throw around the most evocative, inflammatory phrase to say the thing or person they oppose is a dictator, over bearing and pernicious.

    Mad Dog