Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz blasted Congress and called for action in a keynote interview at the National Retail Federation's convention in New York City.
"I think there is a greater threat than what we can control inside and outside the four walls of our business," said Schultz.
"The dysfunction of Washington D.C."
Schultz cited "unbelievable" lack of leadership from both sides of the aisle during the fights over the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff.
It was "sapping the lifeblood, the soul, and the confidence of the country as the world witnessed a lack of leadership in the United States," he said. "Fracturing trust and confidence not only here at home but around the world."
Now, Schultz is calling for action from the retail industry, noting that if this was the '60s "we'd be protesting in the streets."
"We are watching silently, sitting idly by as if nothing is going on," said Schultz. "That must stop ... We have to have a voice."
"I ask you to do everything you possibly can — as employers, with your customers, with all the people that you influence, not to be a bystander," he pleaded.
"We must send a message to Washington that we deserve better," said Schultz. "G ive us authentic leadership — deliver the aspiration, the promise that we deserve as citizens of the United States of America."
So, what's going to happen in 2013 if Congress keeps it up? Schultz is not very optimistic.
"I'd love to sit here and create a rosy picture for all of us," he said. "I think calendar '13 is going to be a tough year for all of us to navigate. Specifically because of consumer confidence."
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