The Fed and Washington have poured money into the economy. Americans are eager for jobs and ready to spend. But too many CEOs are coasting rather than taking risks, starting new ventures and hiring people.
CEOs have been AWOL in this recovery. And it's about time we called them on it.
The Fed has poured money in. So has Washington. Money is as cheap as it's ever been. Consumer confidence is soaring. Housing has stabilized. The budget battles in Washington have quieted.
But through all the economic ups and downs and sometimes-debatable efforts, one big thing has been missing. That is CEOs willing to take chances, start new ventures and hire people. And that's why the recovery, on real-world measures such as jobs and wages, has been so disappointing.
Spoiled by record profitability, stagnant wages and investor interest in dividends and share buybacks, corporate executives have been coasting. They're underinvesting, resulting in the slowest rate of capital formation – new machines, factories and equipment – in at least the past 60 years.
If we don't want the recovery to die out, it's time for CEOs to man up. I use the slightly sexist term intentionally. You see, three of the CEOs who have stepped up are among the most prominent women in business today.