Boycott Campaign Donations! - NYTimes.com ⇢
Joe Nocera writes about Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, who is advancing the idea that we should withhold campaign contributions until our elected officials start working on creating jobs. I’m down with that:
Joe Nocera via NY Times
The contribution boycott, as Schultz envisions it, would be completely bipartisan; indeed, it would have to be for it to work. Schultz isn’t calling on Washington to come up with solutions that are aligned with his political leanings (which are Democratic). Rather, he wants solutions, agreed to by both parties, that will help get the country back on its feet.
He believes Congress needs to come back from the August recess now, instead of waiting until September. Then, he says, the president and Congress should hammer out a debt deal, which will restore confidence. And finally, and most importantly, they should start focusing “maniacally” on the nation’s most pressing concern: job creation. Once they’ve done that, the boycott would be lifted.
What I particularly like about Schultz’s idea is that it is not just another plea for compromise and civility, which does nothing to affect political behavior. It is hardheaded and practical, the kind of idea you would expect from a good businessman. Although it would require contributors from both the left and right to join arms, it seems to me that there are enough people in both parties who are fed up enough to give this a try. He’s already lined up one organization, Democracy 21, to support the idea; he’s searching for more.
Is Schultz’s idea a long shot? Yes. Is it worth trying? You bet it is.
I wonder if Schultz will be the populist I have predicted, who will rise up and create a new party:
Stowe Boyd, The Fall Of The Unions, The Rise Of Trade Populism
It will take the people to take our future back.
The form this might take? I foresee the emergence of a grassroots movement, based on what I call ‘trade populism’: an ideology that explicitly identifies a globalized business ecology, made up of wall street bankers, multinational corporations and their leaders, and booming foreign countries (China, India, Brazil, etc.) as the enemies of our freedoms, and channeling the anger of Americans of all political stripes. This movement will not be the Tea Party, although it may attract tea partiers.
And this new populism will also revolve a few other premises, including the idea that we are in a crisis, so special rules apply. For one, they will argue that we need to put aside issues on which we cannot agree for the duration of the emergency. So the leaders of this movement will explicitly defer taking a stand on abortion, foreign aid, or climate change.
Trade populists will argue for the creation of trade barriers, as a support for the American worker, and as a start at dismantling the global business economy of interlocking banks, global business, and state capitalism.
Another bit of ‘trade populism’ will be that foreclosures must stop for the duration of the emergency, pensions must be paid, and elected officials and businesses that don’t meet their obligations to plain folk will face criminal penalties.
Nearly all union members will join this movement, perhaps even some of the police and firefighters. Progressive democrats, tired of being part of the centrist wing of neoliberal capitalism, will break with the national party. Libertarians will join. The Greens will join. Even moderate Republicans, weary of the clamor, might join. The unemployed young and the disheartened old will join. The poor will join. Maybe even some rich people will join.
This new populism will emerge piecemeal, a little here, a little there. But by 2012 it will be the swing force, and with the right charismatic and confident leaders (Elizabeth Warren, Sheila Bair, Will Allen?), it could shake the elections.
And now, maybe Howard Schultz? With Paul Krugman as Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Reich back in Labor, Will Allen as Interior, and Sheila Bair and Elizabeth Warren on the Council of Economic Advisors.