The news this morning is ripe with more companies already receiving bailout assistance now seeking even more help. From the auto industry to the financial industry to the insurance industry - it's nothing but CEOs coming to Washington with their hands out. And, yet, the economy keeps stumbling and the stock market keeps sliding.

Well, the beverage industry is taking an opposite tact. Sure, we're having our tough times too in this economy. Our companies have had to make some tough layoffs. They've had to cut back their spending; alter some of their business strategies.

But through it all, they've positioned themselves for more prosperity in the future.

By contrast to the auto, financial and insurance industries who constantly have their hands out, our companies come to government offering a hand up.

We're doing that with our School Beverage Guidelines - a calorie-based initiative that is adjusting the beverage mix available to children in schools.

We're doing that with our Full Circle environmental initiatives - helping government figure out a modern, more efficient way to improve recycling and protect the environment. We're helping to develop a "better way" so to speak.

And we're extending our hand of help to government in creating those green jobs of the future that the President and so many other lawmakers talk about. Our companies are expanding their delivery trucks to hybrid fleets - creating green jobs in Detroit and other places that make these vehicles. Our companies are building new recycling facilities and providing new jobs. They’re building green facilities - LEED certified buildings - providing the green jobs for the construction industry. And their new manufacturing processes are saving energy and creating a market for manufacturing companies that can develop these resource-efficient processes.

There's much, much more.

Understandably, our government leaders are trying to find a way out of this economic slump. They keep trying idea after idea, program after program, stimulus after stimulus. But it just seems that every time government touches something, things get worse not better.

Perhaps it's worth trying, well, nothing. Or at least not so much interfering. Let the free market and capitalism work. Certainly our companies are out there doing their part to help our country build a stronger economy, new jobs and vibrant communities - even as they face their own economic struggles. Maybe there's a model for success in industries like ours and others who don't have their hands out?