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House Democrats have a plethora of initiatives in the new Congress. One of the top priorities for the Congressional Black Caucus and incoming Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters is corporate boardroom diversity. Waters proposed creating a House subcommittee on diversity and inclusion that would force companies to quantify their board members by race and gender. By targeting publicly traded companies, this creates a vacuum that would ultimately harm employees of all racial and economic backgrounds, especially the further down the chain you go.
The government should foster diversity through individual success, not through federal coercion. You can hear it in the words of proponents of the newest overreach in Washington. “They have a right to be nervous,” said Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri while talking about corporate boards. Many companies on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley understand that the efforts are more a matter of paying tribute to Washington, rather than a substantive effort to increase diversity in the upper echelons of business.
Proposals - Left - Thread - Waters - Gregory
Other proposals from the left carry the same thread as the one recently championed by Waters. Gregory Meeks of New York wants to force all publicly traded companies to disclose the demographic data of boards of directors. Carolyn Maloney of New York wants to grant the Securities and Exchange Commission new regulatory authority over gender diversity.
A number of companies have already set aside positions for women and people of color out of fear of a coming federal mandate. Citigroup announced it would increase the proportion of black managers by a third over the next three years. By setting such targets, the company is creating a quota system instead of one that will build diversity in the long term. There are certainly good intentions behind these efforts, but they create an artificial floor that dilutes the talents of minority...
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