President Obama made some big promises yesterday when he told recently laid off Caterpillar workers they would be rehired if the stimulus bill was passed. But it wasn’t meant to be.
CAT employees learned today that there was no hope and change in the president’s empty promise when CAT CEO Jim Owens admitted that the company would not be recalling employees any time soon:
Obama has said twice in the past two days that Caterpillar CEO James Owens indicated his company would be able to rehire some of the 20,000 recently laid-off employees.
“Yesterday, Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off,” Obama said today in Peoria.
But when asked today if the stimulus could do that, Owens said, “I think, realistically, no. The honest reality is we’re probably going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again.”
Even for a tin eared president permanently stuck in campaign mode this was an unusually cruel promise to make solely for the purpose of scoring cheap political points. These CAT workers likely face months if not years before they are rehired for many reasons, not least of which is the absence of any tax incentives for small business investment in the Pelosi/Reid/Obama political payback spending bill. Unable to get beyond the class warfare that paralyzes their better judgment, the Democrat spending bill ironically sentences heavy equipment workers like CAT’s to many more months of unemployment.
President Obama’s crass manipulation of unemployed workers is another chorus of the unrelenting anti business legislation and rhetoric emanating from Washington. This anti growth demagoguery is getting the attention of some executives and they are letting it be known that they will not be cowed into silence by the hope and change mob. In response to the corporate jet loathing that has so consumed House Democrats lately, Cessna chairman and CEO Jack Pelton noted (along with other industry execs) today:
“We think it’s time the other side of the story be told, and that support be given to those businesses with the good judgment and courage to use business aviation to not only help their businesses survive the current financial crisis, but more quickly forge a path toward an economic upturn,” said Jack Pelton, Cessna’s chairman and CEO.
Companies have long argued that it makes no sense to pay CEOs millions of dollars only to have them waste time in airport lounges while flying commercial. “Do you really want a major executive to show up three hours late to a big meeting because of flight delays?” said Robert Baugniet, director of corporate communications for General Dynamics Corp.’s Gulfstream Aerospace, which makes some of the higher-end jets.
While this message is anathema to the Barney Franks of Washington, it might sound familiar to conservatives that remember the havoc brought about by the luxury tax of the 1990’s and the change in tax policy that fiscal debacle wrought. In light of the Democrat’s recent accomplishments (failed Cabinet appointments, tax cheats everywhere, trillion dollar budget deficits, no plan for the financial crisis and no shortage of soaring rhetoric) Republicans should heed Napolean’s dictum and not interfere with an enemy in the process of destroying itself. If this week is any indication, conservatives should prepare to party like it’s 1993 all over again.