Free Markets, Free People

Just words

Not that I’m particularly upset by this (liberal certainly are), however, it again makes the case that this president should never be judged just by what he says (see below). He should always be judged by what he does and how it all turns out. For instance:

The White House is intervening at the last minute to come to the defense of multinational corporations in the unfolding conference committee negotiations over Wall Street reform.

A measure that had been generally agreed to by both the House and Senate, which would have affirmed the SEC’s authority to allow investors to have proxy access to the corporate decision-making process, was stripped by the Senate in conference committee votes on Wednesday and Thursday. Five sources with knowledge of the situation said the White House pushed for the measure to be stripped at the behest of the Business Roundtable. The sources — congressional aides as well as outside advocates — requested anonymity for fear of White House reprisal.

Tough talk, populist rhetoric (CEO’s get paid too much and we need to rein them in) and when it comes to actually doing so? Yeah, not so tough at all. Like I said, the outcome doesn’t bother me and, after publicly taking corporate CEOs to task, attempting to shame them and cut their pay, someone must have alerted Obama to the fact that they mostly paid the campaign freight during his run for the presidency.

Why do I say that? Well the “Business Roundtable”, which so vociferiously opposed this is a lobby of corporate CEOs. And the White House liason to that lobby is Valerie Jarrett.

The White House is now saying that the provision allowing investors proxy access which would allow them to have a say in CEO salaries was never something they explicitly backed.

“It was not part of our original financial reform proposals, and we have not taken a position explicitly. We have heard from and understand the various concerns on this critical corporate governance issue from multiple stakeholders including business, investors, labor and others. We are confident that the House and Senate conferees will come to a resolution and deliver a consensus view,” said the spokesperson.

Of course that, along with much of what they say, is not true. Huffington Post reminds us of two administration officials who took very explicit positions in support of the provison:

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin addressed the provision. “The Senate bill will make clear that the SEC has unambiguous authority to issue rules permitting shareholder access to the proxy. We support that proposal. The SEC’s rulemaking process will define the precise parameters of proxy access,” he said. “But the principle is clear: long-term shareholders meeting reasonable ownership thresholds should have the ability to hold board members accountable by proposing alternatives and making their voices heard.”

Valerie Jarrett followed Wolin. “The Senate bill will make it clear that the SEC has unambiguous authority to issue rules permitting shareholders access to the proxy — essential, as I know you guys know,” she said. “We agree that corporate governance means more transparency, more responsibility, more accountability, and once again — I can’t say it too often — we stand firmly with you on that point.”

Any questions? Does this leave you with the impression that the administration never explicitly took a position on that provision? Are you still convinced Obama means what he says, or are you beginning to understand that he’s mostly show and not much “go”?

Oh, and yes, this would be called “crony capitalism” if you were wondering.

~McQ

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13 Responses to Just words

  • I guess they managed to hammer out acceptable deals for private-sector jobs after 2012 or 2016.

  • This is Obamic normalcy; he contradicts himself in virtually every paragraph of his SOTUS.
    But the formula goes something like this; demagogue private enterprise to the nines; broker separate peace with compliant large interests; let the Congress do the heavy lifting for the mau-mau project.  Corruption writ IMMENSE.

    •  
      These folks have been huffing their own gas for so long they think it is perfume.

  • You really have to wonder who it was that got this changed.  Sure they say it was the Business Roundtable, but really which business pushed so hard that they relented on a clearly stated position ?  Google, Apple, Microsoft, … ?

  • Environmentalists are much more like battered spouses, returning again and again to their abuser based on another promise to do good. And nothing in President Obama’s June 15 oil spill and energy speech should offer environmentalists any hope that this is going to change.

  • Tempest in a teapot. Let’s be realistic. The majority shareholders in 95% of major corporations are mutual funds and pension funds. Just the type of guys who view shareholder democracy/activism as poison populism. There’s a reason why proxy fights over executive compensation hardly ever succeed. The guys who control the most votes are not boat rockers. As long as the company pays its dividend on time and doesn’t blow up an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico (or kill you know customers) the big investment houses are going to vote as suggested by the board. The crazy lady with 100 shares who wants to divest from Israel or name your cause of the day makes for great TV, but that’s about it.
    If you don’t like the way the company is governed, there are another 10,000 companies out there that would like your money. This is a Seinfeldesque issue.

  • The White House is intervening at the last minute to come to the defense of multinational corporations in the unfolding conference committee negotiations over Wall Street reform.

    What was BP promised in return for their $20 billion?

    • I thought it was obvious from the Congressional testimony … they won’t be criminally prosecuted.

  • > He should always be judged by what he does and how it all turns out
    Come on, man…his wordz so pretty!  Whut, U racis o sumfin?

  • I think the method to their madness is as follows:
    1) Speak Truth to Power.
    2) Get some Power.
    3) Hey, this is sorta nice.
    4) But I need to keep power, so I will keep shouting the empty slogans – the idiots don’t know what’s going on and the smart leftists have no other choice anyways – maybe I will throw them a bone. What are they going to do, vote Palin? Meanwhile, my nudge nudge wink wink has worked, and the corporate fat cats know that its all talk – just keep the donations coming, and you’ll be taken care of.

  • Obama seeks to make the government vast, but there isn’t enough revenue to make it that large, so instead he gives us a half-vast government
    .

  • What’s wrong with the below statement (think grammar)

    “Not that I’m particularly upset by this (liberal certainly are), however, it again makes the case that this president should never be judged just by what he says (see below). “