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TheStreet Open House

Obama Outdoes Pro-Business Republicans

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Don't listen to all the balderdash coming from the Republican Party, especially its shrinking roster of presidential candidates, about how President Obama is anti-business. Or JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon whining that the Obama administration has some kind of animus toward Wall Street.

The truth of the matter is that Barack Obama is a pro-business president. He may not be up there with the comatose Herbert Hoover or the regulation-chopping Ronald Reagan, but the anti-business rap on the man is sadly misplaced. This is a man who appreciates business and isn't terribly concerned with consumer or small-investor interests, and he and his team prove that just about every day.

It's not just his big-ticket pro-business moves, such as the auto-industry bailout and the economic stimulus -- ultimately a business-revival program -- that have put Obama way up there in the pantheon of pro-business presidents. We have his appointments, which hardly have been flag-waving Marxists.

There is Bush administration retread Timothy Geithner, a close friend of the banking industry and Wall Street, as a Treasury appointment. And his failing to go to bat for Elizabeth Warren as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Board. Important as all these pro-business actions and omissions surely are, Obama has been pro-business in a lot of little ways that often go unnoticed.

There are two recent examples of what I'm talking about.

First there was the announcement that came out of the White House the other day that the president was elevating the head of the Small Business Administration to a Cabinet post, while consolidating and reorganizing other business-related departments, eliminating the Commerce Department as it is currently constituted.

I have to admit that I did not react favorably to this idea at first. The White House fact sheet pretty much oozes election-year politics: "Looking to make our government leaner, smarter and more consumer-friendly, the President will call on Congress to reinstate the authority that past Presidents had, over decades, to reorganize the government."

Since Congress isn't going to do a blessed thing that Obama wants, even if he just needs a new pair of shoelaces, you can bet that this government reorganization isn't going to happen. But notice that immediately thereafter, Obama actually invokes our 31st president: "With the exception of President Ford, every President from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan had reorganization authority." That was a tipoff to the true impact of this proposal.

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