Bill George: Obama has ‘wasted’ the financial crisis

Bill George, the former Medtronics CEO and now a board member of Goldman Sachs, says President Barack Obama has wasted the economic crisis. George told The Economist he’s paid too much attention to Capitol Hill. “We’re doing a lot of short-term jobs in the stimulus bill and a tax cut with very little benefit,” he said. He said Obama has “showed signs” of paying more attention to jobs creation. “The CEOs are not hiring in this economy… it’s going to come down to innovation.”

George, who wrote the book, “7 Lessons For Leading in a Crisis,” defended the executive compensation of his corporation only by acknowledging the controversy exists.

He said the country has “trained a whole generation of leaders to put themselves first.”

He was on MPR’s Midmorning in September.

  • teej

    “He said the country has ‘trained a whole generation of leaders to put themselves first.'”

    As a board member of Goldman Sachs, he would know.

  • majii

    Exactly, teej. He’s protecting his own profession at taxpayers expense. I would have liked to have heard him comment on how his and his colleagues actions contributed to the Great Recession of 2009.

  • John O.

    Pot, meet kettle.

    “He (George) said the country has “trained a whole generation of leaders to put themselves first.”

    Yes Bill, we have. And the highest concentrations of those folks in this country can be found in midtown Manhattan and the Washington, D.C. area. Your own executive pay structure is a testament to that.

  • tiredboomer

    I’m not a Bill George fan, however…

    Bill currently makes a living teaching leadership and ethics to corporate leaders. Probably the last thing he wants to do is point a finger at corporate executives and tell them they are the problem. That said, in the video with the economist, that is exactly what he does. Sure he takes a shot at politicians in general, and the president specifically, but essentially he’s saying leadership in corporate America has failed. I don’t believe his comments are any less valid just because he participated in that failure.

    Where I disagree with Mr. George is with his “optimism”. I don’t think a new generation of leaders will be any different than the last.

    Rhetorical Question: Why are there so many suggestions for reforming our political system and so few suggestions for reforming our outdated corporate system?

  • Al

    \\”The CEOs are not hiring in this economy…”

    My experience is that some are, either overseas or at a much reduced pay-level.

    In my company there were quite a few layoffs which were blamed on the recession. A few months later, still in the recession, it was announced that a new facility being built overseas was expanding to do much of the work historically done at our site. These are technical science jobs, not unskilled manufacturing jobs.

    Further, a number of the laid off workers are now back in the building but working as contract staff for a fraction of the pay, reduced benefits from the contract houses, and the ability to be let go at the drop of a hat with no severence compensation.

    How do execs make their millions? By cutting costs. And to many execs, workers are not valuable assets but costs to be cut (regardless of what they will say publicly). Some have certainly used the recession as a thin cover for their dirty work. Greed. It’s the American way.

  • Charlie Quimby

    Please, it’s Medtronic

  • Erik Hare

    Why does anyone care what social class Bill George comes from when they want to be critical? Yes, he’s from the group that he is speaking to – both from his position and, generally, through the Economist. He’s also saying something that they’d probably rather not hear. He has clear backing for what he says.

    Why be critical just because he’s from a different class? I’m definitely not of his class, but I read The Economist. If it’s right, it’s right.

    In this case, he’s spot on. I wish he’d have gotten more into the barriers to job creation, both public and private, but he is clearly saying that Restructuring is the key to getting out of this mess. By saying Obama has “wasted” the crisis, he’s saying rather clearly that Keynesian stimulus does little more than buy you time to do what has to be done. Both of these statements are vital to the discussion and, sadly, have not been said often enough.

    Yes, he makes way more money than I do. Way, way more. But he’s still right – and more than right, he’s saying what a lot of people in his class are either too cowardly or stupid to say for themselves. Thank you, Bil George! I wish more people were like you.

    And screw the naysaying. Right is still right.