You Get Serious and We’ll Get Hiring

Howard Schultz

Attention lawmakers: Learn to play well with each other, or you get no more campaign donations (or, perhaps, Starbucks coffee).

This summer’s budgetary brinksmanship troubled a lot of Americans. Among them was Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who has launched a political organization called Upward Spiral. It wants to pressure Washington to get serious about its long-term fiscal planning.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle must “face the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges with civility, honesty and a willingness to sacrifice their own re-election,” Schultz has written in an open letter. (You can read the full text here.) “This means not kicking the can anymore. It means reaching a deal on debt, revenue and spending long before the deadline arrives this fall. It means considering all options, from entitlement programs to taxes.”

[EXPAND More]And here’s the pressure point: Until a “bipartisan, balanced, long-term debt deal” is struck, Schultz is calling for Americans “to stop all campaign contributions to incumbents in Washington.”

Meanwhile, he is also asking business leaders—whether in companies large or small—to make a second pledge and accelerate hiring, wherever possible.

“The only way to get the country’s economic circulatory system flowing again is to start pumping lifeblood through it,” says Schultz, a participant in our 2011 Drucker CEO Forum. “Our companies are going to hire. We are going to accelerate growth, employment and investment in jobs.”

So far Schultz has won support from more than 100 chief executives, including AOL’s Tim Armstrong, Maggie Wilderotter of Frontier Communications and Zipcar’s Scott Griffith.

We think Peter Drucker would have been in solidarity with both of Schultz’s aims. As we’ve noted, Drucker was greatly concerned about the long-term effects of joblessness.

At the same time, he was wary of “the monstrous tyranny of the small minority which . . . paralyzes the political process.” And he believed that political give and take was central to the fundamental character of the United States. “The pluralism of sectional and interest compromise is the warp of America’s political fabric,” Drucker wrote in Men, Ideas, and Politics. “It cannot be plucked out without unraveling the whole.”

What about you? Are you willing to sign the Upward Spiral pledge? Why or why not? [/EXPAND]