Wednesday, April 9, 2008

McCain's bully pulpit would be bad business

An interesting story I found by Reuters had McCains top economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin telling Reuters that, "Job No. 1 of the president is to use the bully pulpit to shine a light on behavior that is less-than-exemplary." He was referring to John McCain lashing out at "lavish pay packages for corporate CEOs.

I completely understand the frustration of some Americans that many of our jobs are being moved to overseas markets mainly because labor is cheaper over there than in the U.S., and then the products made over there by American companies are not sold in the foreign market where they are made, but are shipped back to America and sold to Americans.

Thus, American products are made in, say, China for instance, benefit ting the Chinese economy and hiring Chinese workers, and then being sold back in America for the same price as they were always sold. Yet, at the same time, the company CEO is being paid exorbitant wages and bonuses because he is saving the company billions of dollars a year for taking advantage of free trade agreements that have been popping up in recent years.

And, despite some misconceptions, both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush signed Free Trade agreements into law. Bill Clinton started with NAFTA, and George W. Bush has continued with many more.

I'm not going to go into detail about free trade agreements in this post, as that will be a discussion in a soon to be post at Freadom Nation, but what I would like to discuss here is John McCains desire to use the bully pulpit of the presidency (if he gets that job), and force companies to not pay their CEOs too much.

This is a perfect example of why many conservatives say they do not think that John McCain is any different than a liberal, in that he wants to use the government to make businesses do this or that. Quite frankly, it is none of the governments business what businesses pay their workers, let alone their CEOs.

While wages are set by fair market value just like prices, the salaries of CEOs are set by the shareholders. They are the one's who decide who gets hired and who gets fired. And, representing the shareholders is a board of directors. It is this board of directors that decides what the CEO gets paid. It has nothing to do with the government. It is none of governments business.

And, for the government, for a president, to stick his nose into, and make the government involved in what CEOs get paid, is tinkering with the free market -- something that conservatives believe the government should never do. In essense, this is liberalism to a tee. In this area, John McCain is a liberal.

The government cannot even manage it's own affairs let alone the affairs of a business. And, when the government tinkers with the free market, that's how problems get started in the first place. Some people may say it's not fair that these CEOs get paid so much, when there are so many poor people in the world.

I say, the fact that there are rich people, the fact that there is the opportunity to get rich, is the one incentive people have to get off their couches and go out and make something of themselves. I can think of a lot of examples of people who got rich in this country. If it weren't for this opportunity, even if it's a small one, America would not be the greatest nation on the history of the planet.

The only reason I can think that John McCain would say such a thing would be to cater to those people who envy the rich; people who are sick and tired of the fact that there is a gap between the richest people and the middle class. However, this gap is good, as I wrote a moment ago, because this gap is the incentive Americans use to make something of themselves.

I have been becoming more and more impressed with John McCain in recent days. He seems to be a very noble, intelligent and honorable man. He is right on the War on Terror, he has proclaimed that he will not raise taxes, and I think, of the three remaining candidates, he is the best candidate.

And, while I understand he wants to cater to independents and moderate democrats, tinkering with how private sector businesses manage their affairs is not a good idea. Unless, of course, he's simply using words. But, as we know, McCain doesn't just use words: he sticks to them, as we have seen with McCain-Feingold and other bipartisan efforts on his part (some good and some ridiculous).

Until the government becomes proficient at running it's own business, it should stay out of the job of telling businesses in the private sector how to run their business. Someone ought to tell McCain that (and Obama and Hillary) his bully pulpit would be bad business for the U.S. government.

On the other hand, perhaps it would be a good idea to bring in a business man to run the affairs of government. Perhaps then we'd have a welfare program that worked, or a social security program that was efficient.

Yet, while you might think it's unfair one man can make seven plus figures in a year while you are stuck making five, don't think of it as something bad, think of it as something good. And, instead of punishing people for making lots of money, perhaps we should be out there teaching people how they too can get rich.

Personally, I'm not motivated to get rich. But I don't think the rich should be punished because of my lack of motivation. I don't think it would be fair for me to blame them for me not having any money, when all I'd have to do is go out and make myself competitive.

I'd rather be poor than competitive. But that's my prerogative, and it should stay my prorogative, not the prerogative of the government.


Nikki said...

Hey I have a new link on my blog from a guy from Michigan, I think you would really enjoy his blog, I referred him to you but I think you guys should connect. He is the Khaki Elephant and he has a link on my blog...hope you are well! :)N

Freadom said...

Thanks Nikki. I will check out his blog later tonight.

Khaki Elephant said...

I was going to drop an agreement that this is one of the things that bugs me about McCain (and I am a fan who actually worked for his campaign 8 years ago) and then I read the notes. Thanks for the referral Nikki. And for guiding me to this site.