I don't know whether it was an image-polishing effort or a genuine shift by business, but I'm not wild about the statement from the Business Roundtable.
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The very top echelons of American business issued a statement pledging "awareness" of social issues. They want companies to be, first and foremost, "nice.” They want business to be sensitive to customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and, almost as an afterthought, shareholders. Maybe we should remind the titans of business that it is shareholders who own the company, and it is their money that’s at risk!
There's a lot wrong with this: If shareholder capital is diverted outside the company, future performance suffers. And that means all stakeholders suffer. Innovation suffers. The competitive ethic suffers.
I don't know about you, but I invest in companies that I think will make a lot of money, and that’s what I want them to do, so the company will make progress and I'll share in it. Now we all have our own personal values: I wouldn't invest in a tobacco company for example. But that’s not what these executives are talking about. They're engaged in a reversal of corporate priorities: It doesn't look like profit is job one these days.
I can understand where this is coming from: It’s a deliberate softening of capitalism's image. And that’s a response to the attacks from presidential candidates, especially Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Who knows who wins in 2020. Business is hedging its bets.
I have news for America's business royalty: The left has no time for you, no amount of softening and promising to be nice will do you any good at all. If the socialists win, you're toast. So get real, and support vigorous capitalism, which made America great and prosperous in the first place.