Letter: First corporate law: do business
It is curious that the editor of this page chose to quote former President Bill Clinton in making a case for inequity regarding the "Wall Street" protesters in various civic centers around the country. If you read their Oct. 20 editorial ("A growing sense of inequity"), you learned that Clinton believes that a corporation, which undeniably is a business, has erred in its allegiance only to its shareholders. Clinton thinks that the company should be paying more attention to what he calls the stakeholders and here it’s rather clear that he means employees and the community.
Okay, let’s start with the basics. The corporation exists to provide a service or product to a customer or client. If a customer doesn’t make a purchase or sign a service agreement, nothing else proceeds. No one is hired, raw materials aren’t purchased, factories are not built, paychecks don’t wander through communities from store to store. And taxes aren’t collected on sales, or incomes. Nothing happens. I’m sure that advertisers in the Gazette-Journal’s pages will verify this fact.
The allegiance of a corporation is to the customer first. That bit of Business 101 has likely never been received by either protestor or Mr. Clinton. Or the editors.
Protestors in New York and other venues are sending out confusing messages. Perhaps they are confused. They are angry at Jewish bankers and at the same time calling financial moguls Nazis. This may simply be an example of what public schooling has foisted on us. Or maybe as some contend it’s a way of driving wedges among our citizenry—creating class envy. If so, many labor unions and the White House might be asked to explain why they have made statements agreeing with and in support of the demonstrations.
Debt relief is another subject of the protests. Students with thousands of dollars in college loan balances are demanding relief. But since any relief through Mr. Obama’s compassion for protest would levy a tax or other financial burden on those of us who would be paying the debt, the word inequity is brought full circle in this discussion. (A weird version of Mr. Clinton’s famous question regarding the meaning of the word "is." Remember that one?) Because if I have it right, the students and former students would want us all to pick up the tab on their overpriced diplomas. And that would be enormously inequitable.