Why Are So Many Big CEOs Complete Losers?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It was refreshing to watch Chevron ( CVX) CEO John Watson tell CNBC's Maria Bartiromo that his company will spend $32 billion in 2012 and probably a bit more in 2013.

While Watson acknowledges "great anxiety," referring to "concern" over the fiscal cliff as warranted, he's not slowing down. Chevron will spend money and create jobs in the face of not only economic, but regulatory obstacles.

Watson tells Bartiromo that his company's biggest problem is access to markets. But, again, that's all part of doing business. It's never been easy to be great.

As a really important aside, if you're ever going to invest on the basis of a price-to-earnings ratio, you might as well do it with Chevron. Things might seem stagnant over there now, but, if you're a long-term investor, there might not be a better stock to invest a few bucks in on a periodic basis.

Chevron models great behavior for long-term investors. Sometimes you have to save for a rainy day; at other times, you need to spend when it's raining.

Fiscal cliff freaks, geeks and worriers will call Chevron an exception. It's a cash cow oil company. It's easy for it to spend through gloom, doom and pending catastrophe.

That's a loser attitude.

You cannot talk about this issue without bringing up Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com ( AMZN) and Howard Schultz at Starbucks ( SBUX).

Both businesses depend on the allegedly fragile consumer, yet both CEOs lead spending charges of relatively epic proportion. Shoot, at Amazon, you can't call it relative. Outside of resource conglomerates such as Chevron there's really no comparison case for the level of investing (don't call it spending!) the company does.

But, it doesn't stop there. You can't forget about fantastic CEOs such as Patrick Doyle at Domino's Pizza ( DPZ). Here's a guy who not only took the chance of a lifetime when he beat his own company down publicly as part of its now-famed turnaround, but he turned a pizza business into a tech business.

Order some 'za from Domino's online. Play with its iPad app. You'll see what I mean. Digital sales at Domino's have been huge. We're talking a billion dollar revenue stream here.

More recently, you have to give Microsoft ( MSFT) some credit at the same time as you brand the company pathetic.

While I disagree with almost everything the company does, with the bright exception of Xbox, I could be wrong. Setting aside the volatile arguments about strategy, Microsoft is taking some chances.

At the same time as I think the company is dumb for challenging Apple ( AAPL) in the consumer market, I admire its pluck. At least it's doing something. It's investing in opportunity it sees for itself.

You can scoff at these companies as special cases. Moan that most of them have war chests full of cash, therefore it's easy for them to spend. One look around the startup community shoots holes in that theory.

Despite what's happening in Washington, there's never been a more exciting time for entrepreneurship. Talk about taking chances. Relatively little guys, like my neighbor, the founder and CEO of Media 11:11, are pouring their own money into their passions. They see opportunity during these exciting times and they're seizing it.

Yes, I gave my friend a free plug. Yes, I can't stop talking about guys like Bezos and Schultz. And I'm not going to stop. This stuff matters. What they do, what they're trying to do matters.

The fiscal cliff is an excuse. Cries of an apparently "anti-business, anti-Wall Street" president. That's another excuse.

Take the tax hit. Bring your money back onshore and reinvest it in your business and your country. If you don't see opportunity, wake the bleep up! Go out and find some.

Do you think the self-employed guy with a wife and two kids blasting off a startup with his own money has it easy? He's paying for his own health care. He gets taxed at an obscene rate. There's no steady paycheck coming in. He's got to hustle. But he's not complaining. And he will win because he has a winning attitude.

If you're a whining CEO while Washington fights, you deserve as much blame for what's wrong with the American economy as the politicians do. You, my friend, are a loser.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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