Starbucks’ Chief Drinks the Kool-Aid

I just figured it out — “CEO” stands for Caffeinated Executive Outburst.”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is pleading to other corporate execs to stop contributing to political campaigns until the president and Congress come up with a realistic way to cut budget deficits, reports Politico. “This is a time for citizenship, not partisanship,” he wrote. “We just believe that in this moment of great uncertainty, the government needs discipline, the people need jobs—and leaders need to lead.”

Schultz first distributed a memo to company employees last week, lashing out against “the lack of cooperation and irresponsibility among elected officials as they have put partisan agendas before the people’s agenda.” Positive response encouraged him to take his call to action to other CEOs. “The fundamental problem is that the lens through which Congress approaches issues is reelection. The lifeblood of their reelection campaigns is political contributions,” Schultz said in a New York Times interview. “Whether big donors or small ones, Americans should stop giving and see if it galvanizes Washington to act.”  –Newser

Not bad, Howard.  Just wrong.  You’re right about Congress’s apathy toward finding genuine solutions to the nation’s problems, but you’re ‘way off about their motivation.  Your idea is worth a try, though, if only to show how corrupt and impervious to reform our system really is.

But let’s see where you went wrong.

  • First of all, it’s been rather well documented that the most intransient, uncooperative members of Congress in this session are the activist Teabaggers, who are almost unanimous in their conviction that they don’t give a damn if they’re re-elected or not.  They have a message and an agenda and they’re not worried about its impact on their political future.
  • Second, yes it’s about money, but no, it’s not about re-election.  Most of these elected invertebrates would happily slink back to their lairs if they could collect the power and perks as well as cold cash elsewhere. Their time sucking the Federal teat is all about positioning themselves for the private sector — lobbying, trading on connections, deploying their contacts and insider status to grab even more money.  Only the lame and the losers make Congress their careers — like Nancy Pelosi, Turtle McConnell, John Kerry, etc., whose motivation to hang around is just laziness.  They’re content to wallow where they are.  And they’re already wildly rich.
  • Third, if you take away the money, only the monied will prevail.  The ones who need the money to make their voices heard — little guys who lack connections and haven’t been bought off (yet) — won’t have a chance.  So least slimy have the smallest chance of getting elected.  Take away their revenue and you guarantee a Congress of fat cats because that’s all who can afford to run for office.

It’s a pleasant notion, Howard, but like most business people, you don’t have a clue about the way government thinks, and this sincere if beetle-brained solution belies your naiveté.  You can’t subdue this beast by starving it any more than by overfeeding it.

I see the problems, but I don’t have a solution.  The problem is the culture we’ve created and the values on which that culture is based.  We’re cynical people who turn our backs on anything tainted with intelligence and judgment, preferring to battle in darkness behind walls comprised of shallow ideology and bigotry  instead of opening ourselves up to dialog, accommodation,  and compromise.  Fuck the money.  If our elected leaders were first-rate men and women of honor and integrity, no amount of money would have the slightest impact anyway.

But (1) they’re not, and (2) earnest clods like Howard Schultz would never understand.  So this is the leadership we get, and Schultz’s zaniness is what passes for a good idea.

I like Dunkin Donuts better anyway.

[Image Credit.  It’s a great image and the artist will probably send me an email demanding I remove it, so enjoy it while you can and visit his web site.]

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This entry was posted in Gen. Snark, Maj. Snafu, Corp. Punishment. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Starbucks’ Chief Drinks the Kool-Aid

  1. Merkin Way says:

    I’m not convinced it would be ineffective, if only to send a message in the only language they understand. Some of these guys openly complain that they have to raise money for their next election starting the day after their last election, and it dominates their activities. If that’s how they operate, they’re ‘way off goal.

    Just having the idea out there might prove valuable.

  2. Trotsky says:

    Line them up and shoot them. Works every time.

  3. Miami Harold says:

    I agree.
    The problem isn’t the money, it’s the people.
    As you state, the “right” people wouldn’t be swayed by the big money.
    But the “right” people are turned off by the system
    And they’re largely powerless, disorganized, and disgusted.
    I agree we need a paradigm shift in the culture
    But I fear the one we’ll see will be violent and destructive.
    It won’t be flowers and folk songs this time
    But it might be Burn Baby Burn.

  4. Ruh Roh says:

    I think the boycot idea is worth exploring. Not only would it be good for the political system, it would reduce corporate expenses to the benefit of shareholders. (Well, maybe just ownership and management.)

  5. Well, Yomama’s out on the stump, doing what he does best, campaigning, saying he’s gonna do all the things that he was supposed to do by now ( which is why I voted for him) and pretending that he doesn’t cave on them the minute the Pub’s respond. We shall see!

    Boy these fucking candidates really fucking stink to high heaven…candidates indeed and and it’s only August 2011…..these people are elected officials with full time jobs. This simply points to how little we really need them.

    • Dawgbowl says:

      Exactly — he’s out raising money for his own campaign and for Demos so they can get elected and imediately start raising money for the NEXT election, which they do in part by making deals favorable to the wealthiest donors who pressure them for favors that damage the majority of the population. The party is irrelevant; the sole concern is money and power. Welcome to America.

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