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Four Minnesota business leaders endorse Obama economic plan

Four prominent Minnesota business leaders endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s economic plan today, arguing John McCain would continue ineffective Bush administration policies that have left out the middle class.

Endorsing Sen. Barack Obama's economic plan today were, from left, Ed Phillips, Robert Pohlad, Robert Ryan and Lois Quam.
MinnPost photo by Dan Haugen
Endorsing Sen. Barack Obama’s economic plan today were, from left, Ed Phillips, Robert Pohlad, Robert Ryan and Lois Quam.

Four prominent Minnesota business leaders endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s economic plan today, arguing John McCain would continue ineffective Bush administration policies that have left out the middle class.

“If you take care of that middle class, that foundation of America, and everything builds off of that,” said Robert Pohlad, CEO of PepsiAmericas. He argued that programs and tax incentives that help lower- and middle-class Americans climb the economic ladder — even if creating them adds to his personal tax burden — are ultimately a good thing for his business.

Pohlad was joined at a press conference at the State Capital this morning by former Medtronic CFO Robert Ryan, Piper Jaffray managing director Lois Quam and Phillips Beverage CEO Ed Phillips.

In addition to tax distribution, the executives focused on health insurance. Ryan, who retired from Medtronic in 2005 after 12 years with the company, said today’s health-care system is “extremely cruel to families with no coverage or who are under-insured.” Obama’s health care proposal will help take care of more Americans who need coverage than McCain’s proposal will, he said.

The bottom line, Quam said: “Barack Obama is good for business.”

John McCain’s economic policy is available at his campaign website. Also, the Tax Policy Center provides an analysis of both candidates tax proposals here.

Asked for comment on the business leaders’ announcement and about their views on the presidential candidates’ economic plans, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Minnesota Business Partnership both said they focus on state policy and do not endorse national candidates. By publication time, the Midwest office of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had not returned a phone call seeking comment.