Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz challenged Congress and the President to put aside the partisan politics and take action for the good of the country and the American people. In an open letter, Schultz called upon the leadership of the United States to put aside political differences and work together to return the confidence of the American people to its government. In a letter published in the New York Times, the CEO demanded that the leadership of both political parties sit up and take notice to the demands of its citizenry. Schultz and 100 other business leaders have a signed two-part accord to withhold campaign contributions to either party until transparency and bipartisanship is made apparent with a fair and well rounded debt and deficit package. The group also pledged to take necessary steps to accelerate investments in jobs and hiring. The written pledge is a significant move on the part of top business leaders to invest in America and help put an end to the economic uncertainty.
The President’s speech was well written and focused on creating jobs, but not on reducing debt. 60 % of the cost of the $447 billion dollar jobs bill comes from tax cuts, credits and programs targeting the support of Republicans. The funding needed to pay for it came from spending cuts and closing tax loopholes. The Republican Party must act on creating jobs and being fiscally responsible according to Shultz. If they fail to put citizenship ahead of partisanship, there could be a different party leading the country in the next election. Congressional leaders have been in gridlock over raising the debt ceiling, spending cuts and taxes, but the needs of the American people have gotten lost in the politics. Howard Schultz and the business leaders of America that signed with him know that their businesses depend upon the spending of the American consumer and the consumer depends upon American businesses for jobs.
Shultz and Starbucks represent a business model that is overlooked by the Republican and Democratic Parties; they represent a mixture of fiscal responsibility, progressive social policy and cultural tolerance. Starbucks provided health insurance for all its employees at a time when the business was losing money. Now all workers receive basic health care coverage for only a modest contribution. Starbucks provides a pension and profit sharing program to all employees as well. The call to action to Congress by Starbucks and the other business leaders will certainly demand similar concessions of bipartisanship for the same values demonstrated by Starbucks.
The Business leaders of our country are willing to take the risks needed to bolster our flagging economy and President Obama’s speech reflected that he is embracing the bipartisanship necessary to effect the same change. This is great news for people needing jobs and for the economy.