In last week’s Wall Street Journal, CEO of Whole Foods John Mackey argued against Obama’s health care plan and laid out eight of his own ideas for reform. “The last thing our country needs is a massive new health care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health care system,” he wrote. Sure enough, Mackey’s words sparked an uproar on Whole Foods’ website, some of which called for a boycott of the grocery empire. Did Mackey exhibit a lapse in judgment? Will his ramblings be bad for business?
The assumption: Whole Foods shoppers tend to be on the liberal side of the spectrum. Talking Points Memo’s Brian Beutler sums it up well: “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.”
For others, boycotting the superstore might not be necessary. Jill Richardson, a former Whole Foods employee, posted her thoughts at La Vida Locavore: “First things first about Whole Foods: The CEO, John Mackey, is a nut. He’s a Libertarian, he’s anti-union, and he stupidly went on financial blogs — anonymously — to praise WFM (and he got caught doing it). . . .So is it a shock he just came out with an idiotic and harmful statement about health care? No. Is it an outrage? Yeah. Does it necessitate a boycott of WFM? I don’t know.”
Tell us what you think.
And check out the New York Times opinionator blog for a sampling of reactions to Mackey’s rant.