Starbucks boss Howard Schultz and former HP boss Carly Fiorina are butting heads over corporate contributions to political campaigns. The forward-thinking head of the world’s favorite purveyor of all things coffee started asking his fellow business leaders to stop making political contributions until Congress starts actually starts solving problems instead of just howling about them.
Already, the civic-minded boss has garnered support from 150 business leaders, much to Carly Fiorina’s chagrin. In response to Schultz’s call to stop corporate contributions, Fiorina let her displeasure be known on a conservative blog. She wrote:
Sorry, Howard. We need more, not fewer, businesspeople involved in the political process. Job creators must speak out, and yes, they should support those candidates who will support them.
This statement is both ridiculous and laughable. Job creators? Ms. Fiorina must have forgotten the mass gutting she gave Hewlett-Packard when she was the company’s head. What was once a mighty and well-respected tech company became a joke under Fiorina’s special brand of leadership. She laid off hundreds of people in mass layoffs. She practically eviscerated the Research and Development division, crippling the very core of what made HP great. In short, Fiorina is, and never was a “job creator.” She is a job cutter.
The blatant “we should support candidates who support us” cronyism is striking, and the dissonance it creates among CEOs, workers, and consumers is strong. Who wants to support a company that makes donations to candidates they hate? Target’s CEO, for example, angered many of its customers and employees when it was revealed that he had given a large donation to Michele Bachmann during her 2010 senate campaign.
Howard Schultz has it right. In fact, putting a halt on corporate charity, donations, and political support is nothing new. The late Steve Jobs stopped all forms of corporate charity, whether it was donations to local schools or politicians. He put the company’s money where his mouth wasÂ—his employees and developing the best products.
Schultz doesn’t buy the conventional wisdom going around D.C. and major corporations that growth isn’t feasible. In fact, he believes that companies who aren’t hiring are doing themselves disservice. Hire more people, he says, take a risk, and allow the economy to recover. He’s taking his own advice and planning to open 3,500 more Starbucks, nationally and abroad.
Â©2011 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.