KATIE ZERR: Congress needs to wake up and smell the coffee


by Katie Zerr

As we watch the gridlock in Washington as Congress refuses to work together for the good of the nation, a group of the nation’s CEOs have launched a jobs creation plan.

Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz introduced the “Create Jobs for USA” fund in October saying the fund would help compensate for a lack of national political leadership on unemployment.

Pointing out that problems in Washington are contributing to the slow economic recovery, Schultz decided the American people needed to do more on our own.

A foundation was formed late last year that raises money for U.S. job creation. To help address the jobs crisis in America, Starbucks and Opportunity Finance Network have teamed up to launch the network, which is a national campaign to help jumpstart the economy with a focus on job creation. The goal is to help create and sustain jobs. With financing opportunities for community businesses the group hopes to spur growth by allowing businesses to hire and preserve jobs.
Other CEOs have joined the effort, and recently Schultz reported $50 million has been raised and is being distributed qualified small banks that are lending to the public.

Schultz also created a controversy last year with a call to his business peers to withhold campaign donations to the president and members of Congress until the government reached a deal on the country’s debt, revenue and spending.
He has also pushed for keeping manufacturing in the U.S. and has asked fellow business leaders to pledge to step up hiring.

Schultz has pushed his company to bring back their overseas manufacturing to the U.S. and will this summer begin selling coffee mugs made at a factory in Ohio. Many of the mugs and other products the company now sells are made in China. The company also has plans to build a factory in Georgia to produce drink ingredients used at the outlets throughout the world.

This is not praise to the business practices of Starbucks or any other big corporation that may have contributed to the state of this nation’s manufacturing industry and other economic woes. It is a wake-up call to those who are in the leadership position in this country.

We should applaud this action by Schultz and others who decided they no longer could do what is the most profitable while our country flounders to recover.

They are bucking their shareholders to say we need to help others grow in order for there to be money to be spent in all businesses.

They are doing something for the good of the many instead of the good of the few.

It is time for Congress to wake up and smell the coffee (bad pun intended). We have people in this country who are standing up and taking initiative to help others, knowing that eventually it will trickle down and create a larger customer base.
It shows that there are people who understand more than Republican and Democrats, red against blue or rich versus poor. Congress should try and do the same.

Unfortunately, the people we elected to be leaders of the country are way too busy throwing blame and trying to make the opposition out to be the “bad guy,” that they have forgotten that our country is in an economic crisis.

They spend so much time and energy blaming the other party and so little time trying to find solutions to the problems.
The solutions they do propose are based on making the other party look incompetent and are not real proposals of merit and solution.

It is time for our Congress to grow up and deal with the issues as a group bent on finding real solutions to real problems.
Both parties are to blame for this. Both parties need to fix it.

Shame on them for dinking around for so long that others decided to take the lead in creating jobs and bringing our country back from the brink of economic devastation.

Maybe those who are working on real solutions should be paid the salaries and benefits of those who talk a big game but do nothing.

– Katie Zerr –

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