Whole Foods CEO: Obamacare = Fascism

Whole Foods CEO: Obamacare = Fascism January 18, 2013

For some reason, people tend to think of Whole Foods as the exclusive province of limousine liberals, what with all that “organic” and “sustainable” food. But the founder of the company, John Mackey, is channeling Glenn Beck and declaring Obamacare to be fascist.

When Inskeep asks him if he still thinks the health law is a form of socialism, as he’s said before, Mackey responds:

“Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. 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 health care programs and these reforms.”

Mr. Godwin, clean up in aisle five.

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  • slc1

    Mr. Mackey is a libertarian. Paging Raging Bee.

  • Trebuchet

    Is this the same guy who was caught using sockpuppets to spam financial blogs a couple of years ago?

  • Now, look, Ed, he’s a libertarian. Government isn’t supposed to so-called “fix” Market so-called “failures”. Only the Market can do that. Which it didn’t. Because there’s no money in poor people.


    So it’s the Market’s job to make healthcare cheaper, but it can’t do that as long as government is sticking its head in and telling the Market to make healthcare cheaper!

  • Alverant

    Yet another reason why I hardly go there. (I only go around Christmas time to buy cheese for a homemade cheese box I give as gifts. They have the best cheese counter around.)

  • slc1

    Re Trebuchet @ #2

    Mackey is a climate change denialist, much like our resident libertarian, Sir Lancelot. The answer is yes, he is the same guy.


  • I happened to catch the tail end of that interview driving home the other night. Being a New Yorker driving regularly on the Long Island Expressway, I’m made of sterner stuff and did not crash the car. But I couldn’t help wondering how the US survives when just about every other industrialized, economically powerful, nation on Earth is fascist.

  • hexidecima

    Does one have to be an asshole to make money? I guess so, cause, you know, those $0.14 cents do add up……

  • slc1

    Re hexidecima @ #7

    Well, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and the late Steven Jobs are considered pretty grade A assholes.

  • Sassafras

    I used to work at a WF and it was probably the worst job I’ve ever had. I got sick about every other week because the store promoted homeopathy, so lots of the customers wouldn’t go to the doctor and would bring sick kids in with them. It was also a nasty place for getting sexist, racist, and transphobic abuse from the customers.

  • twincats

    I know there’s a WF in town somewhere, but Sprouts, Henry’s and Trader Joe’s are all closer.

    Yet another reason why I hardly go there. (I only go around Christmas time to buy cheese for a homemade cheese box I give as gifts. They have the best cheese counter around.)

    If you have a Trader Joe’s somewhere in driving distance, their cheese is not too shabby. No counter to order from, but you can’t beat their prices and there are quite a few lovely imported varieties to choose from. Plus TJ’s doesn’t promote homeopathics.

  • @John Pieret @ 6:

    I happened to catch the tail end of that interview driving home the other night. Being a New Yorker driving regularly on the Long Island Expressway,

    I pity you.

  • nohellbelowus

    And now he’s apologized.

    Oh look, Johnny Mackey has discovered a “new” trick. Say something really stupid and controversial, and then apologize for saying it. Bingo! Instant karma.

    Fucking dork.

  • inquisitiveraven

    AFAIC, John Mackey first demonstrated his jerkitude when he decided that he was going to reduce the employee discount to anyone who smoked or didn’t meet certain health measurements (BMI, cholesterol level, you get the idea). Then he declared that he thought high deductible health insurance through one’s employer was the best way to control health costs. I think he lost a lot of liberal customers when he did that, but gained a bunch of conservative/libertarian customers. Not sure how it affected his bottom line.

    Frankly, there’s two reasons I still shop at Whole Foods, 1) they have the best prices on dairy substitutes. 2) It’s almost the only place I can find yogurt that isn’t low fat or fat free. Trader Joe’s might be an option, but it’s farther away, and oddly, more expensive for those specific products even if they’re cheaper for most other things.

  • lancifer

    And now he’s apologized.

    Apparently he remembered which side of his whole grain, no-pesticide , gluten free bread is organic, free range, humane treatment buttered on.

    I can hear the sound of Birkenstock’s running to the phone to pull money out of socially responsible investment accounts as we speak.

  • regexp

    Sigh. The problem with Mackey (and many big L libertarian like Ron Paul) is that they have some really good ideas. And then they say something so batshit crazy you wonder what planet they live on. The last time Mackey opined on health care – I generally agreed with most of his points – but he opened up the OpEd with a quote from Thatcher. I just wanted to bitchslap him right then.

  • Synfandel

    I look forward to the Stürm und Drang of the Obamacare rallies. Should be quite a spectacle.

  • frog

    I was very sad the day I learned the Whole Foods CEO is an asshole. I have found a better cheese counter, but they still have the best bread. Sometimes I compromise my principles for a loaf of their pecan-raisin bread.

    Carb addiction makes bread junkies do desperate things.

  • frog

    Alverant, I don’t know where you live, but you can order online from Murray’s Cheese in NYC, which kicks Whole Foods’ ass any day of the week and twice on Thursdays, without cracking a sweat. They ship overnight in insulated boxes.

  • Whaddaya need me for? It’s not like this guy’s made a plausible-sounding argument that needs debunking.

  • jnorris

    If the government controls the health care industry, including the insurance companies, why is government medicare cheaper than private commercial health care?

  • Wes

    I’ve heard second-hand stories of epidemiologists who say something along the lines of, “When I here about a new outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases, I start my search by finding the nearest Whole Foods and drawing a two mile radius around it.” Wouldn’t surprise me at all if that were an effective strategy, given their clientele.

    Whole Foods has long seemed to me like a nexus of various groups that I can’t stand: Dirty hippies, new-agey types, survivalist libertarians, hipster food snobs and limousine liberals. In fact, the whole “organic” foods market seems to me like naive people patting themselves on the back for buying stuff normal people can’t afford.

    I say all this up front so that everyone knows I’ve long hated Whole Foods and all that bias built up in me is fueling what I’m going to say next. Fuck Whole Foods. Fuck John Mackey. And fuck every liberal who ever implied that I should shop there to be a good liberal. At least fucking Wal-Mart never hid the fact that they’re ruthless capitalists supporting a bullshit right wing agenda and crapping all over their labor force. Why aren’t the fucking hippies and environmental types telling me that I should shop at Wal-Mart? Oh, that’s right, because fucking poor people shop there.


    Okay, rant over. I need a beer.

  • Wes

    That should be “hear”, not “here”. Stupid homophones.

  • meursalt

    fascism (fash-`iz’em)



    3. All that political and government stuff done by someone I don’t like. Definitely completely unrelated to nationalism, xenophobia, or the concept of strength through cultural unity.

    See also: communism, socialism, atheism, hating puppies, Islam.

    I’ll be waiting for my check, Merriam-Webster.

  • Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

    Guy who charges those kinds of prices thinks someone else is a “Nazi?”

  • rowanvt

    But but but…. Whole Foods is the only place to find bison! And the bacon they have is awesome. And I love the lemon scented soap they have…. noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  • lofgren

    Is this a general Whole Food haters thread? Sweet! I hate that they use three levels of packaging when none would do, and I hate that they throw away perfectly good food. I pulled an unripe avocado out of their dumpster that wasn’t ready to eat until two days later. That’s bullshit.

    (Also, they have bison at two Stop & Shops in a ten mile radius around me. I love bison. It’s the ethical meat!)

  • drivenb4u

    Used to do IT at their corporate HQ. The pay sucked. Got a better job doing the same thing at the state for almost 10k/yr more.

  • nohellbelowus @ 12

    I think it could be better classified as a notpology:

    “I regret using that word now because it’s got so much baggage attached to it,” Mackey told HuffPost Live on Thursday. “Of course, I was just using the standard dictionary definition.”

    Dictionary definition? Like this?:

    a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

    In what alternative reality does Mackey inhabit?

  • cactusren

    *sigh* I’ve known the Whole Foods CEO is an ass for a while now. Sadly, I still shop there, mostly for baking supplies, since my blood-sugar issues require me to use various whole-grain flours and agave nectar. While I can still find that stuff at a local health food store, it’s farther away and more expensive. Maybe I just need to start shopping online.

  • Is “agave nectar” code for “tequila”?

  • Michael Heath

    Huffington Post:

    “I regret using that word now because it’s got so much baggage attached to it,” Mackey told HuffPost Live on Thursday. “Of course, I was just using the standard dictionary definition.”


    “We no longer have free-enterprise capitalism in health care,” he said. “The government is directing it. So we need a new word for it.”

    Mackey’s apology isn’t really an apology, we need a word for that.

    It would take a longish magazine article to unpack all the falsehoods and dishonesty by Mr. Mackey in that short article. That’s an effective advantage liars have; the volume of the response needed to clarify falsehoods. It’s one reason why I so appreciate Chris Rodda’s work when it comes to revealing the dishonesty of David Barton and other Christianists, it’s damn hard work.

  • lofgren

    Again, I find agave nectar and whole wheat flour at my local generic super market. I’m sure the availability of such things varies by region, so I’m not saying you shouldn’t be shopping at Whole Foods because your local supermarkets might have less variety than mine. I just find it interesting that you need to go to a specialty supermarket for items I can find at “normal” markets.

  • Friends of mine call “Whole Foods”, “Whole Paycheck”. I wouldn’t shop in one if there was one near me. I go to Aldi (the people who OWN Trader Joes and try not to trumpet that fact too loudly) for some staples, a local supermarket for some stuff and wherever else I have to go to get what I want.

    Baking bread and making yogurt are not difficult or really that time consuming–if you can multi-task.

    “I love bison. It’s the ethical meat!”

    Only if you kill it yourself, with a sharp stick! {;>)

  • leftwingfox

    Is “agave nectar” code for “tequila”?

    Only if “Honey” is code for “Mead”.

  • Doug Little

    Want good cheese,

    Zingermans deli in Ann Arbor is second to none. They also have mail order, so anybody not within driving distance can sample their wares.