Oh, the ironies of the Obama era! Last week John Mackey denounced Obamacare as “like fascism.” This was a few years after damning it as socialism. The Whole Foods co-CEO doesn’t see, or pretends to not see, that Obamacare is a gift to hospital chains and health insurance companies — corporate monsters, just like Whole Foods. Under Obamacare, the government doesn’t control “the means of production” in health care, as Mackey charged. It merely ensures that Aetna and the other companies remain a wastefully expensive obstacle to health care for most Americans.
But enough about the big chief, it’s the day after the inauguration, let him enjoy his eloquently empty promises. Let’s dwell on the ironic fact that Mackey, a right-wing, low-paying, union-busting, small business-killing, Romney-endorsing, climate change-denying megalomaniac is one of the the most well-known advocates of organic foods.
It’s one thing — a good thing — to support farmers’ markets and independent health-food stores, but anyone who thinks of him/herself as a progressive and shops at Whole Foods is a hypocrite or just D-U-M dumb. Mackey’s organic foods chain is eating up all the smaller stores and paying rank-and-file workers next to nothing. When it comes to labor relations, Whole Foods is about as progressive as Walmart.
Mackey was in The New York Times Magazine this week, bragging about his vegan diet and describing a recent meal he made for himself, a vegan stir-fry that included kale, chard, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, a walnut-cashew-based dressing and almond milk. The sort of foods most people who get paid Whole Foods-level wages couldn’t possibly afford on a regular basis unless their other expenses were minimal and they were receiving food stamps.
Bottom line: I like to eat healthy, when I can afford to, but I’d rather buy lunch from a grungy hot dog vendor than from the cold-blooded plutocrat who runs Whole Foods. He’s a multimillionaire, well-fed and fit, but all the vegan stir-fry in the world won’t cure what ails him.
Footnote: Mackey later said he regretted using the word fascism in regard to Obamacare, but he clearly remains confused. Someone should send him reading material for when he’s not puttering around the kitchen. Maybe a Political Science 101 textbook.