FRIDAY, DEC 27, 2013
PAUL BUCHHEIT, ALTERNET
At a time of year when we’re inclined to show empathy for people less fortunate than ourselves, some of our top business leaders are notable for comments that show their disdain for struggling Americans.
1. Environmental Wisdom from Exxon and Monsanto
Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon...What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?
Monsanto... While Monsanto, according to Food & Water Watch, has “wreaked havoc on the environment and public health” with PCBs, dioxin, and other dangerous chemicals, the company reported in its most recent financial report to the SEC: We are committed to long-term environmental protection.
2. The Art of Delusion: How Business People Fool Themselves
...McDonald’s, where a company representative vigorously defended his burgers and nuggets: We don’t sell junk food…We sell lots of fruits and veggies at McDonald’s…And we are not marketing food to kids.
[Apple] ...a company that hides overseas earnings, avoids federal and state taxes, makes $400,000 per employee, pays its store workers an average of about $12 per hour, pays its CEO $143 million a year, and operates overseas factories with working conditions that, according to the Economic Policy Institute, “reflect some of the worst practices of the industrial era.” Their CEO Tim Cook says Apple has a very strong moral compass.
Such delusional heights...Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is doing God’s work...
3. Talking Down to the Down & Out
...people who seem to lack empathy for the less fortunate. Perhaps hedge fund manager Andy Kessler.... Ignoring the National Coalition for the Homeless conclusion that homelessness is caused by (1) a shortage of affordable rental housing, and (2) a lack of job opportunities, Kessler suggests they’re homeless because someone is feeding, clothing and, in effect, bathing them.
...the Walmart executive who presumed to speak for his low-wage workers just before Thanksgiving by saying: Walmart associates are really excited to work that day.
Now back to McDonald’s, which had these budget tips for its own low-wage employees: You may want to consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem as appealing as they did. Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash…Consider bringing a brown bag lunch and skipping the takeout…You might also consider a temporary part time job to dig out of debt quickly.
...Charles Koch, whose foundation tried to convince half of America that they were rich: If you earn over $34,000 a year, you are one of the wealthiest one percent in the world.
4. Paying Taxes with Imaginary Money
Tim Cook... Apple Corporation, blurted, We pay all the taxes we owe — every single dollar.
...Whole Foods CEO John Mackey protested, It’s not Apple’s fault that they’re seeking to avoid paying taxes.
And Rand Paul added, What we need to do is apologize to Apple and compliment them for the job creation they’re doing.
Exxon...used a “theoretical tax” to account for almost 90% of last year’s income tax bill. The Economist explains theoretical taxes: “Companies have two versions of the truth: the theoretical tax bill, calculated using accounting profits...and the actual cash tax they pay...”
CEO of the Year: ...
“You asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I’m in the empire business.” — Walter White