Whole Foods CEO: To Increase Jobs, Increase Economic Freedom
In August, 2009 just as debate over Obama's health care legislation was at its fiercest, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey took to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal to outline eight market-based solutions to America's ailing health care system, which he termed "the Whole Foods alternative to ObamaCare."
Mr. Mackey's stance provoked the ire of progressives everywhere, and Whole Foods ended up with a high-publicity boycott on its hands. The company eventually issued an apology to angry customers, and before too long, progressives forgave and forgot (Whole Foods' stock price has more than doubled since the boycott).
But John Mackey is at it again, this time laying out the solution for those persistently high unemployment numbers.
So why is our economy barely growing and unemployment stuck at over 9%? I believe the answer is very simple: Economic freedom is declining in the U.S. In 2000, the U.S. was ranked third in the world behind only Hong Kong and Singapore in the Index of Economic Freedom, published annually by this newspaper and the Heritage Foundation. In 2011, we fell to ninth behind such countries as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland.
Most importantly, we need to radically cut the size and cost of government...
Only if we focus on cutting costs in the four most expensive government programs—Defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which together with interest account for about two-thirds of the overall budget—can we make a significant positive impact.
John Mackey's ideas–scaling back our military engagements, steadily raising retirement ages, means testing for safety net programs, and overhauling the tax code–are certainly sweeping in their scope, but they're nothing new. What's notable about Mr. Mackey's op-ed, though, isn't what he's saying, but that he's saying it at all. When Obama first took office, his critics in the business world quickly learned to hold their tongues, lest they be subject to retribution. But the past six months has seen a steady trickle of CEOs and business leaders speak out against Obama's absurd economic policies. Let's hope the trend continues.