Opinion: Whole Foods is in a whole lot of trouble

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I am torn between disgust with and admiration for John Mackey, the ceo of Whole Foods Market. In an Op-Ed published in the Wall Street Journal, the organic food guru takes a swipe at universal health care as proposed by the Dems and gives his recommendations for reform. Here’s my favorite gem:

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.


Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Translation: ‘We wouldn’t be in this mess if you people would just shop at my stores!’

And how does Mackey suggest we pay for health care for those whiners without insurance who pretend they can’t afford Whole Paycheck? This part is delicous:

Make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

That’s right, pass the hat!

So where does my admiration come in? Well, if nothing else, he’s a man of his convictions. He puts principles over profit. Because hordes of yoga mat-toting, wheatgrass drinking progressives -- you know, the ones who made him rich and keep Whole Foods afloat -- are livid.

Yesterday the company was besieged by enraged alfalfa eaters and had to set up a forum on its blog and a telephone hotline to handle the outpouring of anger. Boycott campaigns are popping up all over, including on facebook.

Mackey’s piece begins with a quote about socialism and the problem with living off other people’s money; now it looks as if some of his customers are going to help him out and take theirs elsewhere.

-- Lisa Richardson