Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz might mean well. He is known for contributing heavily to Democratic candidates and supporting progressive causes. But, his latest stunt to halt campaign contributions until lawmakers "strike a bipartisan, balanced long-term debt deal that addresses both entitlements and revenues," is misguided and counterproductive, to say the least. Politico reports that "more than 100 business leaders have signed on to [his] pledge to stop making donations to incumbents until Washington gridlock eases, sending a message to lawmakers that they must make real progress in reining in deficit spending." The pledge also demands an economic package that includes long-term debt-reduction, entitlement "reforms," additional revenue, and measures intended to boost short-term economic growth. According to Schultz, his initiative has "triggered a national dialogue and a groundswell of support" since he launched it last week. Whatever national dialogue Schultz claims to have generated has not moved the Republicans towards any reasonable position and only reinforces the false notion that both parties are equally at fault. We know that there is only one party responsible for the gridlock these business leaders decry, while the other party has been seeking the very policies this group says they want. As Steve Benen puts it: The captains of industry surely realize that they're on the same page as the president, but instead of rewarding their allies for agreeing with them, the business leaders are withholding support from everyone. Republicans have made it clear they reject nearly every aspect of this wish list – the GOP opposes compromise, a balanced approach to debt reduction, and short-term stimulus – but Howard Schultz and his partners don't seem to care. Wouldn't it make more sense, if these business leaders really cared about gridlock and the economy, to help elect more Democratic candidates?
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