Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If I'm nuts, then Joe Nocera is too

I couldn't help but laugh when I read New York Times' op-ed columnist Joe Nocera's piece on Monday, "What Is Business Waiting For?"  In it he suggests that U.S. business leaders should consider hiring more people because that, in the end, will help the economy and thus, their business. "If enough companies started hiring — while wrapping their actions in the mantle of patriotism — even Carl Icahn might have trouble complaining about it," Nocera writes.

I proposed a similar idea deep in a column I wrote last December for The Charlotte Observer, "Is the U.S. entering a 'hate the rich' era?"

I wrote: "If you're a 'rich person,' especially if you run a company, should you be worried? Who knows? The wealthy still seem to have Congress in their pocket. But maybe now is the time to start heading off rising animosity. I know that some wealthy people truly do care about their country and their community. So prove it: CEOs could decide it's an act of patriotism to start hiring workers. Why not challenge fellow CEOs to a patriotic campaign to fill jobs, akin to Warren Buffet's push to get billionaires to give half their wealth to charity?" 

The commentariat, both online and in my email inbox, beat me up severely for saying I hated the rich – even though I specifically said I didn't – and for being so ignorant about business as to suggest such a dumb thing. Maybe I was just too far ahead of the curve?

And speaking of hostility toward the rich, check out Pulitzer-winning Steven Pearlstein's "Blame for financial mess starts with the corporate lobby" from the Aug. 13 Washington Post. It's blistering.


tarhoosier said...

Rich can come in several flavors. Some inherit. Some steal. Some buy the right lottery ticket. Some create the most have-to buy gadget. Others work hard, save, invest conservatively and reap rewards after years of waiting. I have differing attitudes toward each.
As to the Pearlstein dragon fire, it is directed not at the rich but the leaders and decision makers at corporate offices. Some rich, others not so. Their issues are greed and power, and misuse thereof. A small difference from feelings about the rich.
Subtlety and nuance likely do not exist in these environs.

motowntotreetown said...

Great minds think alike, Mary. I loved that Pearlstein column too. IMO the Nocera idea is great but there is absolutely no reason Big Business is suddenly going to decide to get patriotic. It's in their interest to keep the economy lousy just long enough to get a Republican elected to the White House next year.

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