From Plumber of the Internet to Plumber of the Economy?
The new economy is the Internet Economy. The Internet Economy is reshaping the fortunes of business, countries and people, leveling the playing field for everyone, and driving the most significant economic shift since the Industrial Revolution.”
— Cisco CEO John Chambers, Sept. 24, 1998
When he appeared at our D5 conference in May 2007, Sen. John McCain said that, given the chance, he’d hire Cisco CEO John Chambers for his cabinet. Now, in the run-up to the November presidential election, it looks like Chambers has some competition for that spot. In an interview with Reuters today, McCain said that Chambers–who’s contributed quite a bit to the McCain campaign–is still on his short list of potential Treasury secretaries, but the Cisco (CSCO) CEO has some company. “I think it would be someone that Americans would recognize that would inspire trust and confidence,” McCain said. “There’s people like John Chambers, there’s people like [former eBay (EBAY) CEO] Meg Whitman, there’s people like Warren Buffett.”
Apparently, current Secretary Henry Paulson doesn’t quite cut it anymore. Anyway … it’s curious that McCain would include Buffett among his choices for Treasury secretary since his appointment would almost certainly outrage tax-cutting fiscal conservatives to near-aneurysm. Indeed, it already has. Said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, “Warren Buffett is a goddamned Democrat and he doesn’t understand that a 28 percent capital gains tax would be a bad thing. He might be a good bridge partner, but he’s awful on policy.”
Incidentally, Barack Obama’s list of potential Treasury secretaries includes no Silicon Valley CEOs, current or otherwise. According to people close to his campaign, it includes New York Federal Reserve Bank President Tim Geithner, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and former deputy Treasury secretary Roger Altman.