Powerful they may be within their own realms, but when it comes to macroeconomics, even the most imposing CEO is powerless. No single CEO can do anything to change Washington to any meaningful degree. The nation’s top corporate leaders have been hapless and helpless in the face of a Congress and, yes, a President who have pushed us constantly closer to the fiscal cliff. Until now.
Now they finally got their act together – organized to urge Washington to get America’s economic house in order. The CEOs of more than 80 big-name companies joined to push Congress to reduce the federal deficit by increasing taxes as well as cutting spending. Together this band of mostly brothers issued a statement that was centrist in its tone, specific in some details, and organized around the recommendations of the widely praised but long ignored Simpson-Bowles Commission.
This is no revolutionary move. But it least it herds many of the nation’s top CEOs into a critical mass. Standing alone is tantamount to standing still. Only together do they have a prayer of making their voices heard, of actually affecting the national debate on deficit reduction. Of course their level of impact will depend on their level of aggressiveness and relentlessness. Unless they keep up the pressure loudly and clearly between now and the end of the year, their effort will have been in vain. For only the fiercest followers can lead leaders.