Starbucks' (SBUX) Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz has a better idea for CEOs who want to contribute to a political campaign: use the money instead to create more jobs.
Earlier this summer, Schultz offered a solution for the nation's partisan political divide that's prevented (so far) a substantive, long-term plan to cut the budget deficit: boycott donating to political campaigns. Now, he's issued a challenge to CEOs to put that money to use to tackle the United States' No. 1 problem: its shortage of jobs. The nation is short about 11 million full-time jobs.
Schultz underscored that corporate America has the cash to deploy in new business projects, and, by extension, in new jobs.
We have to understand that the problem we have in America today, unemployment, the fracturing of consumer confidence, the lack of lending - all of these things are tied, unfortunately, to the dysfunctionality and the ideology of separate agendas in Washington, Schultz told CBSNews.com.
Schultz' no-contributions call earlier this summer was also direct. I am asking that all of us forgo political contributions until the Congress and the president return to Washington and deliver a fiscally disciplined long-term debt and deficit plan to the American people, Schultz wrote earlier this summer in an e-mail sent to business leaders that was obtained by Bloomberg News.
Schultz encouraged fellow business leaders to voice your perspective publicly and said businesses need to do all they can to accelerate job creation. Starbucks shares closed Monday up $1.96 to $41.16.
The U.S. Congress passed and President Barack Obama recently signed a $2.4 trillion, 10-year debt deal that calls for about $900 billion in agreed-to deficit reduction, with about $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction project to be identified by Thanksgiving by Congress' new 12-member, bipartisan super committee.
Despite the above modest first step on the debt, some in Wall Street, economics, and now corporate circles want more progress on debt reduction. For example, due to Tea Party faction pressure, the signed debt deal contains no revenue increases from tax code changes or outright tax increases. Some economists say the only way to eliminate the budget deficit and national debt in an enduring way is to include a tax increase; they say a better debt reduction program would call for at least $4 trillion in debt reduction over 10 years, including a revenue increase.
Political/Public Policy Analysis: Schultz is on-the-mark with his request -- more corporate cash should be deployed to create new jobs, not fund Congressional campaigns, and if Schultz's call leads to one new job it's worth it.
Joseph Lazzaro, U.S. Editor, served as Managing Editor of New York-based financial news web sites WallStreetEurope.com/WallStreetItalia.com, 1999-2004, and as Economics...