Mr. Sensitive

April 4, 2013

I Trust Corporate America

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 13:30

Who do you trust to work more diligently and rationally on behalf of their constituents: members of Congress, or the executives and directors of S&P 500 corporations?  I’m not suggesting one group or the other has the greater commitment to the long-term happiness and security of the American people—they both get low marks there—I’m suggesting that corporate executives are more willing and able to act in the interest of shareholders than state and federal lawmakers are willing and able to act in the interest of citizens.  Again, I hardly think executives are pillars of moral purity, and corporate America has more than its fair share of the immoral and the incompetent.  Executives can, however, enrich themselves while serving their constituents; if congressmen are getting rich (or planning to get rich by going to work for industry buddies after leaving office), it’s a safe bet they’re doing it without regard for the interests of those they’ve pledged to serve.  But it’s not just a matter of willingness—ability matters as well.  It’s tough to make it to the top of the business world if you’re not only ignorant, but defiantly and deliberately ignorant.  People won’t give you their money if you pledge to do nothing but impede progress; they will, evidently, send you to Washington on that basis alone.

The bottom line is this: I trust executives to do what they’re supposed to do, which is make money for shareholders.  I don’t trust elected officials to do what they’re supposed to do, which is govern responsibly, rationally, and ethically.  What do we, the people, do about that?  Banning lobbying would help; severely restricting large campaign donations would help more.  Would we have to amend the Constitution to impose those restrictions?  Yep.  Too bad the founders didn’t give us a mechanism to do that.  Oh, wait…they did.

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2 Comments »

  1. If only we could elect CEOs of S&P 500 corporations.. Not saying that it would structurally change anything, but it sure would shift the way that the cable news networks cover the business world. And it would be more entertaining than baseball. On a serious note, I don’t disagree with you. I’d actually say that they things are structured now, CEOs and members of Congress are accountable to roughly the same constituency – the wealthiest portion of those stakeholder groups.

    Comment by Jill Williams — April 4, 2013 @ 16:08 | Reply

    • Anything would be more entertaining than baseball.

      Comment by lbej — April 4, 2013 @ 17:45 | Reply


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