Republicans: US CEOs Are Wimpy, Girly-Men; Obstacles to Growth. Question: Has Corporate Welfare Made Them Lazy?

09/26/2011 10:37 am ET | Updated Nov 26, 2011

Listening to Republicans, it appears as if America's major affliction is a generation of wimpy, girly-men CEOs.

Their fathers and mothers muddled through the Great Depression, and then mobilized, fought and won the Second World War. They used the GI Bill (a government program) to get their education, and created a juggernaut of an economy.

Although it required major struggles, they also tore down the walls of segregation, and opened the doors of opportunity to people from widely diverse backgrounds.

But, their offspring? Especially, those who have made it to the top of industry?

Not a patch on their parents. Indeed, an embarrassment.

Listen to their whiny, petulant, petty complaints.

It appears that they are no longer interested in making profits if they may have to pay a bit more in taxes on the profits. Their parents paid far higher taxes, sucked it up, helped grow the middle class (aka consumers, remember those folks, they buy what businesses made) and laid the foundation for a vibrant economy.

OK, it is not the taxes, they whine, it is the uncertainty. Uncertainty! If you go to corporate boardrooms, THAT is what they get paid the big-bucks for tackling. And now, they are sitting on their hands because their profits-after-taxes may be a slightly lower percentage.

Imagine the dread, the nightmares, the unspeakable terror! I mean, the men shivering in foxholes that were being bombarded by Nazi artillery at the Battle of the Bulge, they did not suffer such horrors. Or, perhaps those profits-after-taxes (just to be clear, all employee expenses are deducted BEFORE taxes) might actually be 50% higher if the economy had recovered and consumers actually had some money to spend.

Or, it is really regulation, they moan. Look at these poor, poor banks, making money hand-over-fist by borrowing money from the Fed, purchasing Treasury securities and pocketing the difference in interest rates. But, you see, they are shaking in their shoes because the Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- newly created under Dodd-Frank -- may require them to let everyone know the truth about a loan or investment they are about to make. The truth!! How can they make good money telling the truth?!?!

OK, the real problem, they whimper, is that President Obama doesn't like them. Sure he has lathered benefits on them, sure some of his best friends are corporate executives, sure his Administration is not prosecuting the fraudsters for crimes against Americans, but, but he has called them names. Or, to quote my 3-year-old niece when told that her last aria was the final song of the evening, "you hurt my feelings."

And, he fired incompetent executives at GM when taxpayers bailed them out so that it was more likely to succeed, to turn a profit -- since when do profits matter more than CEO job security? Remember Lehman Brothers? In a decade they gave $53B in bonuses to their execs, and paid out $3B in dividends to their shareholders.

No, what really hurts, they cry, is that they have all these profits overseas, but "cannot" bring them back home because of taxes. So, if a company has $10B in profits stashed overseas, and has to pay $3.5B to bring them back to the US, that is a terrible deal -- for whom? Shareholders who would like that $7.5B in dividends? The company who could deploy that $7.5B to grow their business? The American taxpayer whose debt could be reduced by $3.5B?

Indeed, I will give them a chance to prove me wrong. Let Republicans propose a 25% corporate tax rate for companies that increase their US workforce by 10%, and maintain the current tax rate (instead of increasing it) on small businesses that file under the individual tax code for doing the same.

Republicans know the real culprit. It is corporate welfare. It has made them lazy, slothful, risk-averse.

After all, that is what they tell us that welfare and unemployment insurance does to the poor and middle class... and we all have learned from Mitt Romney that corporations are people.