Nick Nichols

On February 3, 2009, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told a gathering of news media lapdogs that the House Financial Services Committee—Barney chairs the committee—would consider legislation to apply compensation restrictions to all financial institutions and that the salary restrictions might be extended to all U.S. companies. News reports indicated that Barney and his buddy Barack were working closely to craft the particulars of the bill.

Just a few weeks later, the beloved and munificent (with our money) Leader decided it was time to take a private sector scalp—the masses craved a sacrificial goat and he was going to deliver.

How about an AIG executive? No, that might be awkward since The Leader accepted $130,000 from AIG on his campaign collection plate in 2008. In fact, he and Sen. Chris Dodd ranked first and second on the AIG gravy train.

What about Ron Gettelfinger, the Grand Poobah at the United Auto Workers union? After all, many believe that Gettlefinger and his union brethren ransacked, pillaged and plundered the U.S. auto industry to the point of collapse. No, garroting Gettelfinger might prove disconcerting to the rank-and-file; wouldn’t want them to show up with pitchforks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So, in response to voter outrage over executive bonuses, The Leader decided to circle the wagons around Rick Wagoner, the CEO of General Motors. Never mind that Wagoner is (was) one of the few leaders in Detroit who actually made progress toward becoming more competitive in the global market. No matter, he was ceremoniously sacked by POTUS on March 29th in return for 60 days of gold supplied by the American taxpayer.

Four days later, on April Fools Day, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CBS Evening News anchor, Katie Couric, that the administration would not rule out sacking other corporate CEOs. The timing could not have been better for a Geithner-Couric confab! Need I say more?

What is my point in regurgitating these recent attempts at destroying our free enterprise system, and turning the presidency into something akin to what Italy experienced under Mussolini?

For years now a small band of not-so-merry conservatives (yours truly among them) have been warning American business leaders to stop appeasing anti-corporate activist groups seeking to advance their socialist political agendas through the so-called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement. We were concerned that appeasement might embolden the socialists and enable them to take power.

Nick Nichols

Nick is a retired crisis communications executive. He also developed and taught graduate-level crisis management courses at the Johns Hopkins University. Nick is the author of Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to Fight and Survive Attack Group Shakedowns. He is a Vietnam veteran.