Sunday, August 16, 2009

Me, Myself & I

Not seeing the "good for business" angle here, is how Brian Beutler of TPM describes it, Whole Foods CEO Slams Health Reform, Angering Liberal Pro-Reform Whole Foods Customers:

Here's a thought: If you own a major supermarket chain that caters to a great deal of liberal-minded people with money, don't rail against the evils of health care reform in the Wall Street Journal.

Unfortunately, that advice comes a few hours too late for Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who did just that.
Unbelievably, Whole Food's John Mackey penned an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal that dissed health care reform, with an 8-point free market counter proposal guaranteed to "fix" our health care woes. The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare. Revealing his true philosophy (who gives a hoot about the other guy), he argues:

Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?

Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America.

The reaction was swift. As the LATimes notes, Whole Foods is in a whole lot of trouble:
I am torn between disgust with and admiration for John Mackey, the ceo of Whole Foods Market. In an Op-Ed published in the Wall Street Journal, the organic food guru takes a swipe at universal health care as proposed by the Dems and gives his recommendations for reform.

* * * *

Translation: "We wouldn't be in this mess if you people would just shop at my stores!"

And how does Mackey suggest we pay for health care for those whiners without insurance who pretend they can't afford Whole Paycheck? This part is delicous:

Make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

That's right, pass the hat!

So where does my admiration come in? Well, if nothing else, he's a man of his convictions. He puts principles over profit. Because hordes of yoga mat-toting, wheatgrass drinking progressives -- you know, the ones who made him rich and keep Whole Foods afloat -- are livid.
See also, Ellis Weiner, Half-Assed From Whole Foods, for a point by point analysis of Mackey's piece.

Mackey reminds me of Richard Hayne, the owner of Philly-based Urban Outfitters, whose business is targeted toward trendy and liberal customers. Both then gleefully use that money to support conservative causes. I'm sure that these men get additional satisfaction, knowing that they are able to take the money from the pockets of liberals to advance goals that would be anathema to liberals.

Not surprisingly, the liberals who spend their money at Whole Foods have taken action, by proposing a boycott. As reported in All Spin Zone, Whole Foods Boycott Picks Up Steam:
Whole Foods has always marketed itself to a fairly educated and financially secure customer base. This is why they can successfully sell healthy (and primarily organic) foods, at a higher cost. The company has also fostered the image that it has an altruistic streak in supporting progressive causes.

With a single op-ed in an uber conservative national newspaper, this wholesome image has been blown to bits. In the course of writing 1,165 words, CEO Mackey has caused more potential damage to the Whole Foods corporate image than an e-coli outbreak in the meat room.

In fact, the company has already issued an apology of sorts. Whole Foods freaks out over CEO's anti-Obama health care op ed. However, weak as it is, I'm not sure that the explanation/apology will quell those liberal masses.

I would certainly support a boycott, but I already don't shop at that over-priced vanity store.

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