THE BLOG

CEOs Need to Run for Sheriff Just Once

12/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

And a white blinding light
Makes it all seem so right
And you feel like the king of the hill

-Roger McGuinn

At the beginning of John F. Kennedy's administration, Vice President Lyndon Johnson told Speaker Sam Rayburn about the well educated, Ivy League aides that Kennedy had attracted.

Rayburn responded, "I'd feel a lot better if some of them had run for sheriff just once."

Someone who has run for Sheriff has had a good taste of reality. Candidates for Sheriff don't drive flashy cars or wear Rolex watches. They have their thumb on popular opinion.

It's obvious from watching the parade of CEO's coming before Congress that none of them have ever run for Sheriff. They have a "posse" but it is the same kind of posse that heavyweight boxers get.

Sycophants and hangers-on shielding them from reality.

CEO's start to think that everyone flies in corporate jets, rides in limousines and get multi-million dollar bonuses. They consider them part of every day life. They can't imagine why they should give them up.

Even when their companies are getting bailed out by taxpayers.

Since the Wall Street bailout, you would think that someone, somewhere would get it. You see AIG have a $400,000 junket, followed by a $300,000 junket and announce plans to pay corporate bonuses.

People don't get upset that we have given AIG $150 billion but they go crazy about the junkets and bonuses.

You see three separate CEO's of auto companies, begging for tax dollars, fly from Detroit to Washington in separate private planes.

They would have made a better statement if they had driven one of the cars they manufacture to Washington. They are in the car business, not the private plane business.
I've driven from Kentucky to Washington many times, without a driver or entourage. Detroit is not that much further.

I can tip them off to places to buy gas in West Virginia.

I feel like I am in a Yogi Berra world of "Deja Vu all over again."

My first book in 2006 was about then Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher. Fletcher had been a fighter pilot, minister, and doctor. He had a short career in Congress before being elected the first Republican Governor of Kentucky in 33 years.

He was trounced in his bid for re-election. Sheriff had never been on his resume.

Likes the high powered CEO's, Fletcher was isolated from the outside world. One of his first acts was to spend $5200 of taxpayer money on a secret door to the Governor's office so that he didn't have to interact with the press or public.

His next move was to use a limousine to drive him 500 feet from his office to the Governor's mansion. He then spent thousands of tax payer dollars on a web site, video and book about his dog.

To the bitter end, Fletcher never got it. He was making million dollar decisions and the money spent on the door, dog and limo were pocket change.

Although it was pocket change, it was taxpayer funded pocket change. The voters were more angry about the door and limo than any policy decision.

The same way that people are angry about the junkets, bonuses and private jets.

I've been opposed to the bailouts since day one. They were a bad idea, poorly implemented, but they were sold as the only way to save the financial markets.

The financial system was supposedly broke. America wants the CEO's begging for cash to act like broke people.

It reminds me of the time my (now) former friend borrowed money from me and I saw him at a fancy restaurant a day later.

I felt like I had been conned.

A lot of Americans feel like they have been conned out of $700 billion.

CEO's need some kind of training on how to understand the average, working American.

Maybe they can get some former candidates for Sheriff to show them how.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC, is the founder of McNay Settlement Group in Richmond, Ky and an award winning, syndicated, financial columnist. You can write to him at don@donmcnay.com or read what he has written at www.donmcnay.com. McNay is Treasurer of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the author of The Unbridled World of Ernie Fletcher and Son of Son of a Gamblers: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win The Lottery.