Op-Ed Slams CEO Shortsightedness

The problem behind America’s jobless recovery is shortsighted CEOs, says Leo Hindery, Chairman of the Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation.

In an op-ed published in Bloomberg Businessweek, Hindery says too many CEOs focus on shareholders and short-term results. He says what the U.S. needs is stronger unions, a manufacturing surge and less laissez-faire.

“The lack of socially responsible—and sometimes even ethical—behavior by far too many CEOs, especially highly visible and prominent ones, at this time of pervasive economic distress is one of the unspoken tragedies of the Great Recession,” writes Hindery. “Now is especially when we need the nation’s business leaders to be particularly sensitive to balancing what’s right for their shareholders and corporate results with what’s right for their employees, the legions of consumers who buy their products and services, and the nation.”

The former CEO points out that our nation once enjoyed a history of CEOs who held themselves equally accountable to shareholders, employees, constituents and communities. But that has since been lost. It’s now time for the government to step in, says Hindery.

He calls on Congress to act immediately to strengthen shareholder rights; regulate CEO compensation; better protect workers’ right to organize; embrace an all-of-government, fully empowered manufacturing and jobs policy; reform unfair trade policies; adopt “Buy American” requirements; and fund a 10-year program to upgrade and rebuild our nation’s major infrastructure.

The goal, says Hindery, is a large and robust middle class that grows from the bottom up. “A robust middle class has always been the foundation of business prosperity in the U.S.,” he writes. “Enlightened CEOs who understand and are committed to this premise are key. CEOs need to be going to Washington as constructive participants in policy debates, rather than to fend off reasonable regulation.”

A complete look at Leo Hindery’s article is available here.