by Madeleine Kando
Yesterday, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey made a splash when, during an NPR interview he characterized President Obama‘s Affordable Care Act as “fascism.” I decided to write him a letter.
Dear Mr. Mackey*:
If I could remember how long I have been a patron of our local Whole Foods store I would certainly tell you, but it’s been too long and I’d rather not be reminded of how much of my hard earned money I have put in your pocket over the years.
I know you like to be in the limelight and voice your political opinions, although I have read somewhere that it is sometimes a sign of an overblown ego. But that doesn’t apply to you, I am sure.
Your recent comment comparing Obamacare to Fascism was not as well received as you might have hoped, although hardly a shock for someone who is familiar with your strong support of ‘consumer-driven’ health care. You have compared Obamacare to Socialism in the past, so I am not surprised at your recent statement that:
‘[Obamacare] is more like fascism than socialism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it, and that’s what’s happening with our healthcare programs and these reforms.’
You tout your own company’s healthcare package, a high-deductible health plan combined with a health savings account, as an alternative to Obamacare. Your company benefits from this alternative option by shifting the burden of health care costs to your employees. I understand now why you hire mostly young, healthy, often clueless employees who do not need the coverage that a traditional plan provides. For the rest of us, less fortunate individuals, high deductible plans with health savings accounts are a scam.
You have managed to gobble up all the wonderful mom and pop stores in the business, the ones that actually stocked their shelves with foods that are healthy, that provided a large bulk section which is no longer available in most of your stores. You have managed to transform the concept of ‘Natural Foods’ into an overpriced, fancy delicatessen store, where ‘health foods’ now means vitamin pills and fancy take out, what is there left for you to do?
If the quality of your stores is an indication of how you view your social responsibility, you might want to do some serious soul searching. You moralize about individual responsibility for taking care of one’s health by eating better foods. I find this obscene. If you are serious about this concept, why not provide free ‘health food’ for the needy, or at best ‘free education classes?’ Put your money where your mouth is.
I don’t doubt that you are an excellent CEO, Mr. Mackey, but the world would be better off without your unsolicited political opinion. I, for one, would trade it for a better bulk section any day. leave comment here