As explained by Steven Pearlstein, who presumably has created so much economic value in his lifetime that he can cast stones from the high ground
And some of it, to be quite frank, Robert, is an appalling lack of imagination and guts on the part of these same CEOs who are complaining and pointing the finger at every else. You know, these guys are very good at cutting. They're very good at blaming others. They're a little less good at coming up with creative new products and services, and they've got a little flabby in that regard in the last few years where the focus has been on surviving and cutting, as it should had been. But they're not the gutsiest group of people in the world.
And by the way, they get into this group think which you - you know, the fact that they all say it, it's sort of like a notion that starts in the country club locker room, and everyone is nodding, and then the one passes it on to the other. And now, you know, this similarity of the comments betrays this sort of group think that is almost self-fulfilling at this point.
Mr. Pearlstein is absolutely right. As CEO of my company, I am out of creativity. I will give you an example. The new health care law appears (the implementation is still hazy) to impose a $2000 penalty per employee for not having a corporate health care plan (all my employees are retired, so they already have health care plans, but that does not affect the penalty). With a bit over 400 employees, that makes the penalty something north of $800,000 a year. This is larger than my annual net income. And Mr. Pearlstein is correct -- I am absolutely at a loss as to how to deal with this, which just proves his point that all we CEO's have an appalling lack of creativity.
Mr. Pearlstein seems to be holding an image of the Fortune 25 in his head, but in fact most job creation is by smaller companies. I wrote a while back on Forbes.com why CEO's of smaller companies have be having their creativity diverted.
Postscript: On January 10, 2008, our company actually, shockingly, had a creative idea. Instead of refueling our boats at a lake in Ventura County, CA using zillions of 5 gallon gas carriers, lets put in a small double wall gas tank. It would save a ton of useless labor, it would greatly reduce fuel spills on the lake (the nozzle, unlike the 5 gallon cans, has overflow protection), it would save lots of trips into town to fill gas tanks -- a winner all the way around. Granted this was a pretty small idea, but sometimes success in small business is a lot of bunts and singles.
After hundreds of manhours of effort, numerous checks written to the County and the state, and I don't know how many forms filled out, on July 1, 2010, exactly 901 days after we got the creative idea, Ventura County gave us the last permit we needed to go forward.