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Whole Foods CEO Compares Obamacare to Facism

Later apologizes partially for remarks


Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) CEO John Mackey courted more controversy from the liberal shoppers who frequent his stores, saying that President Barack Obama’s health care law is “more like facism.

Mackey was revising a statement he had made previously in a Wall Street Journal editorial in 2009 that compared Obamacare to socialism. At the time, many liberals in the company’s customer base were displeased, and some boycotted the store in protest.

Mackey’s latest comments came during an interview with NPR. During the interview, he said:

“In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.”

With critics pouncing on the statement yesterday and posting on Whole Foods’ Facebook page, Mackey walked it back some in a posting on Whole Foods’ web site today. He started by saying “The term fascism today stirs up too much negative emotion with its horrific associations in the 20th century” and added:

“I believe that, if the goal is universal health care, our country would be far better served by combining free enterprise capitalism with a strong governmental safety net for our poorest citizens and those with preexisting conditions, helping everyone to be able to buy insurance. This is what Switzerland does and I think we would be much better off copying that system than where we are currently headed in the United States.”

Mackey joins the CEOs of several other companies who have complained about various aspects of Obamacare, including the CEOs of Aetna (NYSE:AET), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (NASDAQ:CAKE), and Papa John‘s (NASDAQ:PZZA).

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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