Congress Fiddles; Does Business Enjoy Being Burned?

By Eric Seidel, CEO
The Media Trainers, LLC

“Retention bonuses are a form of extortion.”—Barney Frank on CBS’ Face the Nation, 3-22-09.

While public anger in reaction to the AIG bonus payments is understandable, knee-jerk legislation from Congress is not. Yet, on top of the punitive 90% surtax bill already passed by the House, Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank now has his sights on all companies receiving federal bailouts (a/k/a TARP). He will be rolling it out this week (click on video below). In essence, it puts more of Washington into corporate boardrooms. Is that what you want, or need?

In addition, there’s talk of using “reconciliation” by the Democratic majority in Congress to stifle debate and amendments when the budget, healthcare reform, energy and bank bailout legislation come to the floor.

How far does Congress want to take this? And what is business willing to do in response? Is there concern about the federal legislature having its hand so deep into the management of private business? How are your most important stakeholders supposed to feel? What are you doing to address and impress their feelings?

While Congress is busy tapping into public anger with poorly thought out bills, the businesses of America seem to be MIA. Unless they’re called onto the Congressional carpet for hearings where members can make points with constituents, business leaders seem to be lying low. Yet, now is the time to speak up, as is so effectively explained in a white paper from Acumen Strategies.

There is too much at stake to remain silent.

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