Execs' Obama bashing may backfire

Public hatred of big business may outweigh the complaints of Jack Welch and others.

By Jason Notte Oct 10, 2012 4:14PM

Jack Welch trashes President Barack Obama's jobs numbers, a sitting CEO threatens layoffs if Obama is re-elected and a poll of bankers and private equity execs shows little love for the Commander in Chief.

None of that is necessarily bad for the president's campaign.

Given the American public's distrust and outright disdain for Wall Street and the financial establishment, the Obama campaign may be somewhat pleased with being disparaged by some of the sector's fatter cats.

Back in May, Gallup discovered that fewer than one in five Americans trusted big business. In August, a poll of high school students by the University of Arizona found that 75% agreed with the following statement: "The stock market is rigged mostly to benefit greedy Wall Street bankers."

During the Occupy Wall Street protests at this time last year, a CBS poll found that 43% of Americans agreed with the protestors, while 30% weren't sure. Wall Street is just as hard on itself; the Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study of financial industry marketing execs stated that 96% believed their industry invites negative public perception through its actions or inaction and 74% believe that increased industry regulation would help restore trust.

That wasn't the audience former General Electric (GE) chief Welch was addressing on Twitter last Friday when he suggested that "these Chicago guys" had manipulated jobs numbers that dropped the unemployment rate from 8.1% to 7.8% and added 873,000 jobs to the rolls -- the highest tally in nine years. It also wasn't the audience Welch was seeking on Wednesday when, after terminating his writing contract with Fortune in the wake of public criticism, he wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal bolstering his position and said that "to suggest that the input to the BLS data-collection system is precise and bias-free is -- well, let's just say, overstated."

Welch was clearly aiming for the 58% of bankers and private equity executives said they'd vote for challenger Mitt Romney, according to a poll by Fortune's Term Sheet newsletter. Of the Fortune poll's 1,800 respondents, 80% said the economy was the election's key issue. Only 28% of them contributed to a candidate's campaign, however, which puts some financial gravity behind Welch's words.

Unfortunately for Welch, there are plenty of folks critical of big business and folks like himself in his own industry -- and even at his own publication. Fortune's senior editor Stephen Gandel pointed out Tuesday that GE shed nearly 100,000 jobs with Welch at the helm, compared to the 800,000 jobs the BLS' survey of individuals says the economy added since Obama entered office. Even compared to the BLS' narrower survey of employers that leaves out groups including the self-employed, the 60,000 jobs lost in that survey still bests Welch's GM record.

Meanwhile, Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel sent out an e-mail Monday to his 7,000 employees of privately-held Westgate Resorts, many of them in the battleground state of Florida, warning them their jobs are at risk if the president is re-elected.

"The economy doesn't currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration," he said in the e-mail.

There's a chance that Siegel's still a bit irate that he had to stop work on his 90,000-square foot home four years ago to pour money into his company during the recession. The home, which is the subject of the pointed documentary, "The Queen of Versailles," merited a mention in the e-mail when Siegel hinted that he'd start working on it again if Obama loses.

Siegel said he was forced to stop work on the home four years ago because he had to pour all his money back into the company during the lean years. The only partially finished home is on the market for $65 million, but Siegel he's ready to start work on it again -- assuming Obama is defeated. Maybe he missed the portion of the Makovsky Wall Street study in which 81% of marketing execs believe Wall Street pay will continue to batter the industry reputation.U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference from the White House /Larry Downing/Reuters

So if that's who's against Obama, who in the business community is for him? Small business owners, if reluctantly. Though 47% of owners who responded to a survey released Tuesday by small business site Manta say they're leaning toward Romney, 57% say they believe Obama will win. Those completely supporting the president seem to like the Affordable Care Act and increased taxes on high income earners, as long as those taxes pay for better infrastructure. Even respondents who aren't leaning Obama's way say he's more in touch with average Americans.

If Obama can get his campaign literature into more mom-and-pop shops and boutiques and out of executive washrooms and homes fit for guillotine-bound French royalty, it may be his soundest campaign strategy yet.

Tags: GE
Oct 11, 2012 4:50PM
Ross Perot said when he was running for president that when the North American Trade agreement was passed America would hear a sucking sound . The sound of American jobs being sent overseas. He was tauted as a loon but he was right on that piece of advice.
Oct 11, 2012 11:24AM
If you could identify these so called 873,000 jobs that you so loosely claim, you would find that many of these jobs have been created by jobs that have been lost.  Simply put... employers are letting full time seasoned employees go to create part time jobs that are of lower pay scale with no employee benefits.  The net effect is the company drastically cuts their operational costs and the government then claims 2 new jobs for the price of 1.  This is happening across America regardless if it's a large corporation or small business.  Try to survive today on part time employment!

Secondly, as many as 70% of the jobs being created are government paid jobs.  I'm trying to save my 92 year old father's home of over 35 years.  For the past 7 months, I have been shuffled around to at least 6 different "Save My Home Govt Agencies" that were created by Obama administration Tarp Funds (govt bank bail out program).  All of these agencies essentially do the same thing in assisting you to modify your home loan... they shuffle your papers around to look good for the govt regulatory agencies, in the name of saving your home in good faith, when in reality the banks are foreclosing on your home while you're thinking your mortgage is being modified.  

All of these so called HARP, HAMP, CRAP govt sponsored programs are administered under dozens of govt agencies to create thousands of duplicated jobs... all paid for by your generous tax dollars.  These were the "Shovel Ready" jobs the president always referred to, that instead of helping the homeowner dig himself out of debt and save his home, they've just buried his home in overwhelming meaningless paperwork and bureaucracy that results in foreclosure.

For the writer of this article to suggest that short sales and foreclosures are down and that Obama is more in touch with the average American, IS OUTRAGEOUS!  The foreclosures are being manipulated by the banks and the govt agencies who are all in bed together.  Home prices are up in certain Hardest Hit areas only, and that's because the banks are controlling the release of foreclosed inventory according to supply and demand.  ONLY ONE OUT OF FOUR HOMEOWNERS WHO HAVE APPLIED FOR A GOVT-SPONSORED MORTGAGE MODIFICATION UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAVE RECEIVED PERMANENT HELP WITH THEIR LOANS.  It's one of the costliest political scams, that has been a 75% FAILURE TO DATE.  Read the Aug 19, 2012 article in the New York Times, titled "What Happened to Homeowners Seeking Help."  All the REAL DEAL 101 facts are there, provided by the Treasury Department (mortgage modifications), Standard & Poor's (housing prices), CoreLogic (foreclosures).

For the record... I am neither Democrat, Republican or Fat Cat, but I'm well informed and disgusted with the inaccurate facts and information the liberal press continually report for their self serving edification!     
Oct 11, 2012 11:27AM

where's the story on msn about the libya hearings?

where? if it was Bush about anything to do with

terrorism it would be plastered on every page!

Oct 11, 2012 3:18PM
Is there a Revolutionary party??? I don't agree with any politicians. They're all liars. Sometimes the best thing to do is just clean house and get rid of everyone... Presidents, Congressmen, Senators, Supreme Court Judges... All three branches need an overhaul
Oct 11, 2012 11:06AM
I'd reallly like to know where MSN got this data.  I am a small business owner; I don't talk to ANYONE that thinks Obamacare is a good thing, or this President is friendly to small business...
Oct 10, 2012 7:07PM

Considering how much Barack Hussein Obama has made villans out of corporate America why would they compliment him? We all know that the huge rise in those claiming "disability" and Americans receiving "food stamps" has to be related to those who have become ineligible for unemployment. Even after the unemployment benefits were extended to NINETY-NINE (yes 99) weeks we still have some that never found employment or are working part-time to get by.


Obama has taken every opportunity to preach about redistribution of the wealth so what incentive is there to work with the goal to become wealty? Keep making crap up to defend the "Chosen One" MSN but all the effort will be futile once the incompetent idiot loses the election and is evicted from the Whitehouse in January 2013.

Oct 11, 2012 1:08PM
I recently bought a GE washer and dryer and they are, hands down, the worst appliances I've ever owned.  GE apparently is making defective products, and the CEO of this company should be shown the door, without a "golden parachute.  I can only wash very small loads, as the washer leaves streaks of lint all over the clothes and the clothes must be re-washed a second time.  The interior parts are made of cheap plastic, and the rough edges tore the wash.  The appliance bulb in the dryer stopped working, and I cannot locate a replacement bulb.  I will never again consider buying a GE product.
Oct 10, 2012 9:18PM
High School students were polled ?  Yeah, they're experts on the real world.
Oct 11, 2012 6:48AM
I'm sure this will backfire in a huge way.  Does anyone really believe that those working for minimum wage are truly happy with their income and how the management is treating them?

Oct 11, 2012 11:01AM
Refresh my memory.  Hasen't gasoline doubled, unemployment climbed, the national debt increased by 4 times, the number of forclosed homes tripled, the economy and trade balance went straight downhill, 12 million more people on foodstamps, and Muslims get free health care but are exempt from paying any premiums?  Why would anyone vote for the current administration again?  
Oct 11, 2012 2:02PM
Nobody ever writes about the risks of bashing the American citizen, and god knows, we've been plenty pummeled.
Oct 11, 2012 10:51AM
A poll of  "High School Students" ? How does this represent what Americans are thinking?  the only party they care about is the one on Friday night.
Oct 11, 2012 5:05AM
One more NObama bash. I don't trust Wall Street, but I trust Obama even less.
Oct 11, 2012 8:33AM
To jukebox john:  I'm a deputy sheriff in Virginia and haven't had a raise in over 5 1/2 years.  We usually get a raise at the end of a republican gov's tenure, but with dems in office......no way in hell.  They gave that money away to minorities.  From Obama's debate performance you can tell he is out of touch with mid stream America and is used to being coddled and hearing what makes him feel good.
Oct 11, 2012 7:47AM

Obama, the trouble with him is he can't  handle the truth.  Guy has been a complete failure in all phases of the President.

Run on his record and the choice is pretty simple..



Oct 11, 2012 11:24AM

So where are the Democratic Business owners standing up now and pledging to hire a slew of new workers if Obama is elected for a 2nd term?


Republicans honestly saying that another 4 years of Obama threatens jobs. Democrats....... tell us are you hiring right after the election if Obama wins.

Oct 11, 2012 10:00AM

Worst recent flip flop


Attack on Libyan embassy caused by spontaneous protest over anti-muslim film.

Attack on Libyan embassy was organized terrorist attack.

Oct 11, 2012 1:43PM
Oct 11, 2012 11:28AM

First is was Solyndra and now Abound Solar.  Abound Solar cost us 400 million dollars people.


There's no telling what's next.  The only thing I can think to do is bash obama!

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

123 rated 1
266 rated 2
485 rated 3
660 rated 4
586 rated 5
652 rated 6
640 rated 7
504 rated 8
289 rated 9
159 rated 10

Top Picks

TAT&T Inc9



Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.