Over the weekend, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz spoke to the NY Times about being fed up with partisan politics in Washinton, D.C., and how big business needed to stop feeding the beast with campaign contributions. On Monday, he reached out to a handful of other top execs to join him in his boycott.
“I am asking that all of us forego political contributions until the Congress and the President return to Washington and deliver a fiscally disciplined long-term debt and deficit plan to the American people,” wrote Schultz in the letter, which went out to business biggies like the heads of the NY Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, both of whom forwarded the missive on to the companies listed on their exchanges. “Record levels of cash are piling up in corporate treasuries, idling,” he said. “The only way to break this cycle of fear is to break it.”
“I think that Howard’s idea is a great one, and I have told him that he can count on me,” wrote Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld in his forward to the heads of Nasdaq-listed companies.
Schultz also urged fellow CEOs to invest in projects or new products that will perk up the economy at a time when fear and uncertainty have made businesses unwilling to invest, consumers unwilling to spend and banks unwilling to lend.
What remains to be seen is whether the early applause is genuine or if Schultz is about to be ostracized — a la Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire — for saying something that makes a bit of sense.
Starbucks chief calls on CEOs to stop political donations, create jobs [Chicago Tribune]
Boycott Campaign Donations! [NY Times]