Whole Foods CEO John Mackey backs off the F-word in part because, while fairly accurate and defensible, it hurts the feelings of people who have no problem using it inaccurately and indefensibly all of the time:
JOHN MACKEY: I made a bad choice of language. I was trying to distinguish it between socialism so I took the dictionary definition of fascism, which is when the means of production are still owned privately but the government controls it — that’s a type of fascism. However, I realize that that word has so much baggage associated with it from World War II, with Germany, with Italy and Spain, that’s a very provocative word, so I regret using it. What I do believe in is free enterprise capitalism, and I’d like to see our healthcare system really unleash the power of free enterprise capitalism to create innovation and healthcare progress. I don’t think we have that – I think we’re moving away from that. So I do regret using that word, I won’t be using it in the future.
I do believe that the government can provide subsidies for our poorer citizens so that everyone can afford health insurance. One of the great examples that I point people to is what they’re doing in Switzerland, where you have still private health insurance markets and yet the government creates subsidies for all of its citizens so that everyone can afford health insurance. There you let the private market, competitive capitalism work and yet the government makes sure that there’s a safety net for people – that’s where I wish we were going in the United States.