I found this column by Steve Pearlstein late last night - and cheered! Pearlstein gets it.
He shreds Ivan Seidenberg, the CEO of Verizon and this year's Business Roundtable [cheer-]leader for a speech he gave this week in Washington. Seidenberg jumped all over President Obama for being insufficiently reverent to corporate interests, and Pearlstein basically sneers at him.
If you actually read his speech and the accompanying 49-page bill of particulars, however, it would become clear that Seidenberg is anything but the economic statesman he fancies himself to be. Rather, he revealed himself to be nothing more than a corporate hack peddling the much-discredited country-club nonsense that what's good for corporate cash flow is good for America. His presentation was so riddled with hyperbole, junk economics and logical inconsistencies that it will be a long while before anyone in Washington takes him, or the Business Roundtable, seriously again.
It is truly refreshing to see a well-known, establishment columnist take on our "masters of the universe" (thank you, Tom Wolfe, for a great phrase):
It should hardly be a surprise that the business community is feeling a bit put upon these days. After all, it is coming off a glorious decade in which business lobbyists not only set the agenda for the White House and Congress but also headed many of the economic agencies and drafted the most important legislation and regulations. It is only now that the rest of us are having to clean up the mess left behind by this anti-tax and anti-regulatory orgy -- the enormous trade and budget deficits, the financial crisis, the environmental disasters, runaway health spending, and the widening gap between the rich and everyone else.
Pearlstein points out their hypocrisy in the healthcare debate, and on budget deficits, tax cuts for themselves, shipping jobs overseas, cap-and-trade, even the obesity epidemic facing our children.
And what's really great is that he manages to frame it in sound business principles:
The glaring omission from Ivan Seidenberg's big Washington speech was any acknowledgement that the current economic crisis results from the failure of the business community to wisely allocate capital, protect the interests of investors and consumers, and create a supportive climate for sensible regulation and prudent fiscal policy. Blaming it all on Barack Obama -- that took real chutzpah. Leadership it was not.
(I did a search to see if anyone else had posted on it - if I missed it, I'll take this diary down.)