December 20, 2010

NOT THE CEO'S THEY NEED:

Why Progressives Need CEOs -- Really (E.J. Dionne, 12/20/10, RCP)

The central question in our politics is whether we can break out of formulaic discussions that always end up in the same place. Here's one major test: Can progressives change their way of thinking about business? [...]

It's also important to recognize that there is no single business class or corporate model. Obama doesn't need to coddle CEOs so they will say warm things about him at parties in the Hamptons. He should figure out which parts of the private sector share an interest in reducing the dreadful inequalities that have metastasized over nearly four decades and in creating an economy that produces well-paying jobs.

There have been moments in our history when important elements of business were "progressive" in the sense of recognizing that social reform was in capitalism's long-term interest.

In a seminal 1995 article in The American Prospect about business opposition to President Clinton's health care reform, the political writer John Judis recalled that during the Progressive Era, "business leaders and organizations played an indispensable role in developing and promoting the social legislation that first blunted the sharp edges of laissez-faire capitalism." Judis' conclusion still rings true: that "without a business community moderately supportive of social reform, little is possible in the present era."


One would have hoped that even the Left had figured out, from the disastrous Obama presidency, that what they need is a president who's been a chief executive and knows how to run a large institution.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2010 6:10 AM
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