They came first for John Deere, Caterpillar, AT&T and Verizon...

Dan Proft Apr. 11, 2010, 7:00am


Henry Waxman is confused and afraid.

Waxman is the California Congressman who looks like a fruit bat and heads up the House Committee on Wealth Extraction and Job Disappearance.

Waxman is confused by the growing chorus of U.S. corporations reporting that Obamacare will add tens of millions of dollars in cost to their bottom lines and afraid of the implications.

So Waxman and his colony of fellow bloodsuckers have descended on the CEOs of John Deere, Caterpillar, AT&T and Verizon and will hold hearings to find out if one of those CEOs can teach them how to read a balance sheet.

The irony of the federal government demanding an explanation of Caterpillar's accounting methods may be lost on Waxman but come testimony time I hope it's not lost on Caterpillar and the other companies being summoned.

It would be refreshing to see one of these Fortune 500 CEOs channel their inner Hank Rearden and defend capitalism instead of offering conciliatory boardroom pieties. It could be a Tiananmen Square moment for whomever is willing to defy Waxman and his assembled columns of IRS agents and protest the Obama administration's acts of violence against wealth-producing Americans.

If corporate America rolls over and, frankly, if ordinary Americans roll over and allow our largest employers to be plundered, the purging will not end with these four companies.

To paraphrase German pastor Martin Niemoller,

They came first for John Deere, and I didn't speak up because I had no interest in Deere.

Then they came for Caterpillar, and I didn't speak up because I had no interest in Caterpillar.

Then they came for AT&T, and I didn't speak up because I had no interest in AT&T.

Then they came for Verizon, and I didn't speak up because I had no interest in Verizon.

Then they came for my business, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

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