Monday, August 15, 2011

Starbucks Chief Calls On Congress to Grow Up

First Buffett, now Howard Schultz. Some business leaders are stepping up to the plate. Seems with Congress away, people have room to breath. Seems to me the tone and the mood is shifting away from the tea party noise and toward solutions. Also seems the mainstream media has had an economic learning curve and is finally figuring out that those who holler the loudest aren't necessarily correct.
In effect, Schultz thinks the country should go on strike against its politicians. “The fundamental problem,” he said, “is that the lens through which Congress approaches issues is re-election. The lifeblood of their re-election campaigns is political contributions.” Schultz wants his countrymen — big donors and small; corporations and unions — to stop making political contributions in presidential and Congressional campaigns. Simple as that. Economists like to talk about how incentives change behavior. Schultz is proposing that Americans give Washington an incentive to begin acting responsibly on their behalf. It’s a beautiful idea.

To Schultz, the debt-ceiling crisis — so destructive to the country, yet entirely manufactured for political gain — was merely the final straw. “The debt crisis is really the symbol of a larger problem, which is that our leaders are not leading,” he said. The real crisis, he believes, is a crisis of leadership, both in the White House and in Congress, which is draining confidence. “America’s leaders need to put their feet in the shoes of working Americans,” he said. “ Instead, all they think about is their own political self-interest.” Read the whole thing in NYT