Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey, after calling Obamacare “fascism,” now says he never realized people associate fascism with Nazi Germany.
Mind you, this is the man who two years ago associated President Obama’s health care reform proposal with “socialism.” When asked yesterday by NPR if he still believed it was “socialism,” he said no, it’s more like “fascism.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Whole Foods’ Mackey has tried to retract an obnoxious right-wing Republican smear of the President and his health care reform. He previously tried to backtrack on the “socialism” smear too. So the question arises: How many times does Whole Foods have to prove to us that it’s run by a, to borrow a phrase, “fascist,” before we stop shopping there?
Here’s Whole Foods’ Mackey’s newest statement about President Obama’s fascism:
I made a bad choice of language. I was trying to distinguish it between socialism so I took the dictionary definition of fascism, which is when the means of production are still owned privately but the government controls it — that’s a type of fascism. However, I realize that that word has so much baggage associated with it from World War II, with Germany, with Italy and Spain, that’s a very provocative word, so I regret using it. What I do believe in is free enterprise capitalism, and I’d like to see our healthcare system really unleash the power of free enterprise capitalism to create innovation and healthcare progress. I don’t think we have that – I think we’re moving away from that. So I do regret using that word, I won’t be using it in the future.
I do believe that the government can provide subsidies for our poorer citizens so that everyone can afford health insurance. One of the great examples that I point people to is what they’re doing in Switzerland, where you have still private health insurance markets and yet the government creates subsidies for all of its citizens so that everyone can afford health insurance. There you let the private market, competitive capitalism work and yet the government makes sure that there’s a safety net for people – that’s where I wish we were going in the United States.
One of the books on the list was “Heaven and Earth: Global Warming—the Missing Science,” a skeptical take on climate change. Mackey told me that he agrees with the book’s assertion that, as he put it, “no scientific consensus exists” regarding the causes of climate change; he added, with a candor you could call bold or reckless, that it would be a pity to allow “hysteria about global warming” to cause us “to raise taxes and increase regulation, and in turn lower our standard of living and lead to an increase in poverty.” One would imagine that, on this score, many of his customers, to say nothing of most climate scientists, might disagree. He also said, “Historically, prosperity tends to correlate to warmer temperatures.”
I also got a kick out of Mackey’s earlier attempt to wiggle out of the “socialism” debacle – shorter Mackey, it’s your fault for thinking Whole Foods was some liberal do-good company:
“I was so viciously attacked for two reasons,” Mackey told me. “One is that people had an idea in their minds about the way Whole Foods was. So when I articulated a capitalistic interpretation of what needed to be done in health care, that was disappointing to some people.” He begrudges the extent to which people have projected onto Whole Foods an unrealistic and idealistic vision of the company. “The C.E.O. of Safeway, Steven Burd, wrote an op-ed piece in June advocating, basically, market solutions to the health-care problem, and nobody gave a shit,” he said.
Get that? You’re “vicious” for being upset that Whole Foods’ CEO basically called President Obama a socialist, which in American parlance, means Soviet communist. And you’re also naive for having some idealistic vision of Whole Foods as a “good” company. Silly you.
I’m guessing a lot of naive Whole Foods customers just grew up.