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This is just absolute malarkey from Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini:

Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Mark Bertolini, who is among a dozen chief executives meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama later this week, on Monday warned that companies are preparing backup plans that include layoffs if the White House and congressional leaders are unable to reach a deal to avoid the combination of tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff."

"The American people are going to suffer because we'll lay them off--because we know how to respond to these kinds of situations," Mr. Bertolini warned at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council event.

How dare you, Mr. Bertolini, yourself a multi-millionaire CEO, threaten to make hardworking Americans—to which you disdainfully refer to as "them"—"suffer" unless you get your way on pro-corporate tax policy.

And what's with this "us" (we'll) versus "them" rhetoric? Shockingly transparent behavior that speaks to Krugman's blog post today about conservative patriarchy:

There’s a strand of thought — I identify it especially with Corey Robin, although he’s not alone — that says that conservatism isn’t really about the things it claims to be about. It isn’t really about free markets and moral values; it’s about authority — the authority of bosses over workers, of men over women, of whites over Those People.
Bertolini has this:
Mark Bertolini and his wife, Susan, just back from Italy in 2001, were sipping Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine in the hot tub of their spacious Avon Mountain home and reveling in their good fortune.
And he threatens to fire Americans and make them suffer over—in the broad scope of things—extremely minor tax policy issues.

Dare I submit this guy is more of a dick than Mitt Romney? Not only does he want to fire people just to show he can make "them suffer," but he also cruelly thinks limiting access to the Affordable Care Act is a much better way to handle the deficit than him paying more in tax:

Bertolini said delays or cuts to Obama’s $1.2 trillion health-care overhaul may be part of the solution as the U.S. seeks a long-term fix to its budget deficit. The overhaul’s subsidies to help the uninsured buy coverage may be scaled back or phased in, or their onset delayed past a scheduled 2014 start date, he said.
Shame on Aetna's CEO for cruel language and even crueler threats. American workers are not hostages whose livelihoods can be treated like pawns by ego-maniac CEOs.

Mr. Bertolini, you may have the power to fire your employees and drive the sick into bankruptcy with your limited-benefit plans, but this is still a democracy.

Thank heavens for the leadership of Barack Obama and the newly elected progressives in Congress.

Mr. Bertolini should be careful as to how he speaks about the American people when discussing deficit issues, because, as most experts will admit, an Aetna-free America with Medicare-for-all is considered one of the best ways in which to sustainably lower the federal deficit.

8:21 PM PT: This CEO has a Twitter presence (@mtbert) at which we might share -- respectful -- thoughts as to our opinions regarding this economic hostage taking.

Thu Nov 15, 2012 at  7:20 AM PT: Folks, we don't win the argument by suggesting guillotines or any sort of violence. We win the argument by pointing out how single payer (Medicare for all) is the best possible way to cover everyone AND reduce the deficit.

Originally posted to james321 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:40 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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