Posted by Dale Buss on August 29, 2011 01:58 PM
With his campaign to deprive incumbent politicians of corporate campaign contributions until they get the federal-debt issue right, Howard Schultz has certainly added to the increased noise by executives yammering about what's wrong with the American economy, and what to do about it. And at a time of continued economic distress -- including stubbornly high unemployment and the threat of a double-digit recession -- many CEOs aren't just talking. They're also putting -- or not putting -- their money and companies' resources where their mouths are.
Take Schultz and his simpaticos. “We’ve touched a nerve,” the Starbucks CEO said in an interview with TheWrap last week. "There’s such a groundswell of disappointment and concern with regard to the leadership in Washington and crisis of confidence that we have.” He called for a suspension of donations to all incumbents, including President Obama, and dozens of other CEOs have signed on to Schultz's pledge, including Tim Armstrong of AOL and Mickey Drexler of J. Crew. Schultz doesn't even want politicians on vacation until they get the nation back on a viable fiscal path.
But at the same time, another renowned CEO, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, made a tacit -- but very clear -- expression of confidence in the Obama administration last week by plunking down $5 billion to invest in and help the Bank of America through a rough patch. The renowned financier also promised to hold a big fundraiser in New York next month for the beleaguered president, who at some point last week interrupted his Martha's Vineyard vacation to call Buffett, presumably to thank him for his support. Of the same accord seems to be a new TV advertisement by Midwestern stalwart Fifth Third Bank, which says, "We're not waiting for the economy to improve -- we're helping businesses to make it happen."Continue reading...