Bernie Marcus may deserve a Profile in Courage award for saying what a lot of business leaders are undoubtedly thinking, but fear saying in public:
IBD: What’s the single biggest impediment to job growth today?
Marcus: The U.S. government. Having built a small business into a big one, I can tell you that today the impediments that the government imposes are impossible to deal with. Home Depot would never have succeeded if we’d tried to start it today. Every day you see rules and regulations from a group of Washington bureaucrats who know nothing about running a business. And I mean every day. It’s become stifling.
If you’re a small businessman, the only way to deal with it is to work harder, put in more hours, and let people go. When you consider that something like 70% of the American people work for small businesses, you are talking about a big economic impact.
IBD: President Obama has promised to streamline and eliminate regulations. What’s your take?
Marcus: His speeches are wonderful. His output is absolutely, incredibly bad. As he speaks about cutting out regulations, they are now producing thousands of pages of new ones. With just ObamaCare by itself, you have a 2,000 page bill that’s probably going end up being 150,000 pages of regulations.
Bingo! Marcus’ comments dovetail with the Heritage report we blogged yesterday, which shows that the recovery got nipped in the bud by the passage of ObamaCare. Marcus is the second CEO to come forward this week, following casino CEO Steve Wynn. Wynn added that business leaders fear reprisals for speaking out, and why wouldn’t they. From the auto dealership seizures to the NLRB’s case against Boeing to the EPA’s assault on Texas energy producers, this administration has all but declared war on American business. Well, not all American businesses. The Obama administration is still chummy with the auto manufacturers it bailed out, and GE. But it seems that everyone else fears finding themselves in the administration’s crosshairs.
For speaking out, Marcus and Home Depot can probably expect boycotts from the left and some sort of regulatory attack from the administration now.