Congress as Shareholder

Congress as Shareholder

Yesterday corporate stadiums were attacked. Many people, and many members of Congress, believe that a corporation should not be able to put its name on a stadium if it gets bailout funds. Here’s a short list of athletic fields adorned with corporate names; Petco Park, Energy Solutions Arena, Quiken Loans Arena, Minute Maid Park, Invesco Field, U.S. Cellular Field. Don’t forget the new Citi Field, named to advertise Citibank, the bank that taxpayers have bailed out twice. And the bank is asking again.

In today’s Wall Street Journal we read of an outcry over Northern Trust’s sponsorship of a golf tournament. It “paid millions to sponsor the PGA event.” Is that good advertising? Barney Frank knows. He says it is not. Within hours of the word getting to him, he demanded that, “it return to the federal government all the money it ‘frittered away on these lavish events’.” Maureen Dowd and John Kerry joined the criticism. Northern Trust had received TARP funds to the tune of $1.6 billion. And with the government as shareholder, they begin to act like a shareholder, demanding that “their” money be spent wisely.

When the government demands caps on CEO compensation, they pretend to know how much it takes to keep a decent CEO on the job- if there is such a thing. If they must control CEO pay, what about the other executive officers such as COO and CFO? They get high salaries. What about all those $100,000 middle managers? Should they get paid that much? Now the government will decide. The government will decide on the details of labor contracts, on how much to spend on R&D, and where to spend money advertising. If Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi have enough clout it will not be with Rupert Murdoch, that unashamed capitalist that owns newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and FOX TV. Not on Clear Channel Radio’s thousands of radio stations, because it allows Rush Limbaugh to speak. This is the problem with government as the shareholder. It acts like it can run a business.

Business that take the dole, acquiescing to the siren song, will find their other stockholders’ interests shunted. Instead of attempting to make products that consumers want and need, the slave corporations will have to produce things that Congress thinks people should want. Tinny cars, soppy magazine content, politically correct foods, drugs that Congress deems needful. It will be what Nancy likes. That’s what happens when you team up with the government. You get Barney’s New Business. He’s some manager!

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One Response

  1. I betcha Nancy would LOVE the idea of recycled magazine bracelets! Wealth (capped at a nice tidy sum of course) is just a few weeks away for me.

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