We’ve seen some serious pandering in our day, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen anything as cynical, stupid, and nonsensical as Elizabeth Warren’s latest attempt to woo progressives to her side. Warren, thanks to her war on Wall Street and her friendship with Bernie Sanders, is already seen as the likely Bernie 2.0 when 2020 rolls around, but she’s got fellow Democrats like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker (no slouches in the pandering department themselves) breathing down her neck. The Democratic presidential field will be a crowded one, and the game right now seems to be who can “out-lefty” the others.
Well, Warren made a hell of a go of capturing the title this week when she introduced a piece of go-nowhere legislation called the “Accountable Capitalism Act.” In it, Warren essentially proposes that the federal government creep in and begin making demands of any American company that makes more than $1 billion a year. This is enough red meat to throw to the left-wing base, and the mere prospect of forcing major American companies to be “good stewards” to their employees and their communities guaranteed favorable coverage in all the usual places: Slate, Vox, Salon, etc.
As for herself, Warren took her message to the Wall Street Journal, apparently hoping to convince even die-hard capitalists that this would be in everyone’s best interests.
“In the early 1980s, large American companies sent less than half their earnings to shareholders, spending the rest on their employees and other priorities,” Warren wrote. “But between 2007 and 2016, large American companies dedicated 93% of their earnings to shareholders.”
The plan, therefore, is to force any company with more than a billion dollars in annual revenue to obtain a federal corporate charter. This charter will require CEOs and corporate board directors to “consider the interests of all major corporate stakeholders – not only shareholders – in company decisions. Shareholders could sue if they believed directors weren’t fulfilling those obligations.”
Even if this were a well-defined, well-planned type of federal corporate takeover, the ramifications would be disastrous. Like really? We’re going to allow the government and its changing political winds determine what it is a company must do with its profits?
But this is actually worse than that, because there is nothing well-defined or well-planned about it. This bill is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez levels of nonsensical. It is nothing but a collection of buzzwords and feel-goodery, wrapped together in a legislative package that will do nothing other than give Warren something to talk about on the 2020 campaign trail.
Hell, we don’t know. Maybe you can accuse the people who run America’s largest corporations of being greedy and selfish. But why does that empower the government to go in and steal profits from these companies and their investors, just so some politician can strut around the country and tell socialist voters that she’s sticking it to the man? To us, that sounds at LEAST as greedy as any corporate CEO. And it makes a damn sight less sense.