In 2009, when Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in a Wall Street Journal op-ed compared the health care "public option" then under consideration by Congress to socialism — a nationalized economic system wherein the government owns the means of production — hardly anyone batted an eyelash.
Sure, at the time, the left-wing site Daily Kos called for a boycott. And a Facebook group at the time managed to find a couple hundred users angry about the characterization. Whole Foods set up a special forum for customers to express their views on the op-ed.
But it was hardly the response Whole Foods got when on Jan. 16 in an NPR interview, Mackey was asked a follow-up question on what he thought about the current law.
After all, the "public option" was never adopted. What came afterward, now known in popular vernacular as ObamaCare, was a mishmash of mandates, regulations and price controls — but fell short of an outright nationalization of the insurance industry.
That was when Mackey used the F-word. No, not that one. The other one.
"Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism," Mackey said in the NPR interview, adding, "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."