I think one of the hardest things about being a left winger must be keeping track of who the “little guy” is on any given issue.
A new proposal by Bernie Sanders shows you what I mean.
Bernie is now insisting that companies like Walmart appoint several of their minimum wage employees to serve on the company’s Board of Directors. Apparently the current “little guy” Bernie is most concerned about are the lowest paid employees.
But how does putting individuals with no management or financial experience on a company’s board line up with the fiduciary duty of board members to act in the best interests of a company’s owners — its shareholders.
It's still another case in which Bernie wants what clearly is not possible.
Bernie has gone off the rails. In the process he’s just endangered all the little guys involved — especially those regular folks who work on the floor of Walmart and are counting on that small amount of Walmart’s stock each month they receive as part of their compensation. Because Bernie’s plan ignores the fiduciary duty of the company’s board to protect all those people -- big and small -- who actually own the company.
Were I invited to his next campaign staff meeting, I’d suggest he make one of his volunteers with zero political experience his highest strategic advisor. I’d insist further that he appoint another equally inexperienced volunteer as his advertising director to make all his television and radio commercials. Finally, I’d direct that he install a third political novice as his lead pollster in charge of gathering all the public opinion information his campaign needs.
No experience? No problem. Even though they’d heretofore worked as volunteers, I’m sure they’d step up to the task. And I’m sure they’d appreciate the pay raise to over $100,000 per year. That’s comparable to what those in similar positions on other campaigns receive.
Of course, with advice like that, I don’t expect I’ll be invited back anytime soon.
But Bernie sees no problem holding private companies to a rule he would never consider for his own political campaign.
Corporate boards very often tackle overwhelmingly complex legal issues, design the strategy of the organization, plan for market growth, determine staff requirements, create product and corporate marketing, and immerse themselves in issues associated with finance and compensation.
Typically, board members in companies like Walmart are from the cream of the crop in business, finance, and law. They possess master’s degrees and often PHDs.
Bernie’s thinking, or his lack of thinking, is one of the reasons socialist economies always fail. Consider that Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s previous socialist president, in channeling Bernie, appointed Nicolas Maduro as his Vice President. Maduro’s qualifications? He was a bus driver with no experience in government, no college degrees, no experience running anything other than a bus. When Maduro took over after Chavez’s death what was once the most prosperous country in South America was driven into the ground. Today, thousands of Venezuelans are dying … some from malnutrition … some from lack of medicine or needed health care … and some because Maduro’s police guns down anyone who protests. Only his fellow socialist dictator from Cuba keeps Maduro in power.
Bernie doesn’t get that only capitalism gives workers a real chance at prosperity.
Under Bernie’s plan, some combination of three things will happen. The first is that the new “board members” will be marginalized and cut out of any real decision-making which will no doubt cost the company time, money, and inconvenience.
Second, the company will take a nose dive, eventually experience severe financial distress, and have to be rescued by other companies or the government.
And third, Bernie’s new “board members” will end up in jail. Not because they were crooked in any way, but because boards are legally responsible to their employees, managers, and shareholders. By insisting that incompetent people be placed in an area of vast and complex responsibility for which they are not qualified, lawsuits are guaranteed.
All of this will be lost on Bernie and his supporters. They don’t get it. Their world view requires them to ignore the lessons of history and promote an economic system that time and experience tell us doesn’t work … has never worked … and can’t work.
There’s no free education, free health care, free guaranteed income, free housing, free stuff — not for long anyway. Everything costs someone something. And, as Margaret Thatcher rightly said, the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.
What I find sad is that it’s not just Bernie. Most of the other Democrat candidates for president agree with him. And, according to a poll out on June 6th, the dozen or so most left-wing of the candidates are getting more than 50% of the vote from Democrats in the primary. That’s a lot of people ready to ignore reality and sign on to a failed socialist vision.
Even worse are the number of “little guys” who will end up getting crushed if Bernie or one of the other leftist Democrats wins. Instead of serving them, Democrats are using them. In the end, those little guys, along with the rest of us, will all be victims.