John Edwards is targeting Corporate America and what he argues are its corrupt and greedy practices. In a speech today in Des Moines, Iowa, he is outlining his plan to renew the “social contract” between business and government if elected president. “In corporate America, where a broader sense of social responsibility once held sway, a culture of greed has taken over. Instead of treating their employees fairly, being accountable to their shareholders and contributing to America’s prosperity, CEOs act like their corporations exist just to build their own massive fortunes,” says Edwards, according to speech excerpts provided to Washington Wire by his campaign.That would be the Talking the Talk part. Here comes the Walking the Walk bit: Edwards is proposing "universal retirement accounts that employers would be required to provide if they don't offer pension programs," a plan that would also provide for investing in government-sponsored annuities run through the existing Social Security program; proposing "stronger protections for workers seeking to unionize and increased shareholder rights; proposing to "cap tax-deferred compensation funds for top executives at $1 million annually" and a whole slew of corporate financial disclosures; proposing tougher FDA regulations and inspection standards; and proposing a consumer protection regulation body called the Family Savings and Credit Commission, "which would oversee credit card and financial services plans marketed to the public."
Retirement savings? Check. Workers' rights? Check. Shareholders' rights? Check. Better food and product safety? Check. Going after predatory lending practices? Check. Cracking down on corporate fatcatitude at the expense of workers? Check.
He's responding to, literally, just about every bit of bitching we've done about corporate malfeasance, irresponsibility, and greed here in the last three years. It's genuinely impressive.