President Obama is offering a theory of the modern CEO: the enlightened captive.
He said that on topics including the environment and education, CEOs who say they want to act in the public interest are stymied by Capitol Hill Republicans or may not be pushing their own lobbyists hard enough.
“There’s a huge gap between the professed values and visions of corporate CEOs and how their lobbyists operate in Washington,” Obama told The Economist in the interview published Saturday. Obama said he has a challenge for CEOs: “[I]s your lobbyist working as hard on those issues as he or she is on preserving that tax break that you’ve got? And if the answer is no, then you don’t care about it as much as you say.”
He applauds business community efforts to win immigration policy changes, but says business leaders are running up against a GOP that sees the need for an overhaul yet is “captive to the nativist elements in its party.”
What about climate change? Obama said CEOs, as a population, have split with “denialists.” “There aren’t any corporate CEOs that you talk to, at least outside of maybe—no, I will include CEOs of the fossil-fuel industries—who are still denying that climate change is a factor,” he said.
This real-or-not-real framing is helpful to Obama at a time when many Republicans remain climate-change skeptics. But if these CEOs may split with the GOP on science, when it comes to policy, the common ground between business groups and Republicans remains a huge piece of real estate.
Sure, a number of major companies back the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Corporations signed on to a supportive letter to Obama in June included Nike, Unilever, Levi Strauss, and others.
But in the main, powerful business and industry groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are battling the EPA plan at the heart of Obama’s second-term climate agenda.
Obama, however, told The Economist that CEOs’ overriding interest is in predictability.
“What they want is some certainty around the regulations, so that they can start planning. Given the capital investments that they have to make, they’re looking at 20-, 30-year investments. They’ve got to know now, are we pricing carbon? Are we serious about this? But none of them are engaging in some of the nonsense that you’re hearing out of the climate-change denialists,” he said.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."