First of all congratulations! Truly a mission accomplished and job well done. You have undeferred the dreams of many.
But I am concerned about your stimulus package and approach to big business. So here goes:
You met the other day with some CEOs of large companies and said afterward, “These are the guys who make things.” I wonder if this is a good attitude to take re: CEOs. For the most part what CEOs try to make is good numbers in the current quarter. This has been true for a long time and is still true in this crisis. Nothing wrong with this unless it detracts from the design and production of the goods and services that the company is charged with making and/or if it detracts from making the investments in the future that company should be making. And sometimes — often — it does.
So here is my concern: please do not support companies who will take bailout money and still layoff people that they could afford to keep. US companies have long treated people as a disposable resource. Many companies do not try to keep people as an investment during hard times, instead they look for times when layoffs appear to be justified. Then they get rid of lots of people knowing they can rehire when they need to.
I know you are aware that CEOs also work very hard to protect their incomes and have gotten very good at it. In many cases the millions paid to top executives could have been used to avoid many layoffs. This attitude toward personal wealth and luxury as a necessity for top executives is a cancerous growth that has long ago metastasized.
So please question the CEOs you meet with closely: ask them if they are doing everything they can to keep as many people as possible. Ask them how important avoiding layoffs is to them. If they can’t answer you looking directly into your eyes, question them further (do it any way, many of them are excellent liars). I believe any bailout money should be given on two conditions: 1, executive pay will be reasonable and under control — no golden parachutes, and 2, that avoiding layoffs will be a top priority.
Watch out for companies who say they must lay people off. Some of them are taking advantage of a bad situation. In an economy where people expect bad news most people are not surprised to hear of layoffs or when they are laid off themselves. There are CEOs and other executives who are quite capable of taking advantage of this situation so, President Obama —
Please be aware and awake!
Many thanks for your hard work and your honest, intelligent approach to government. You are a blessing to the nation and world.