Have CEO’s become too publicly involved in politics?

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Corporate executive officers (CEO’s) have become too publicly involved in politics, particularly those who have taken on hotbed issues that have affected Americans in less than positive ways. Rather than looking at those issues from the standpoint of the Constitution and the laws that govern the nation, they support issues that are unfavorable to the lives of everyday Americans.

It seems that social, political, and global issues are the current interests of CEOs as opposed to understanding the frustrations of those who work for them and carry on company traditions. A divided American public has had to listen to their grandstanding and politicizing on every subject.

Instead of reinvesting time and money towards positive company input and the betterment of their company image and employees, they spout their views on global warming, gun violence, race relations, religious liberty, gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, protest marches, designer clothing lines and any other last minute hotbed issue that strikes their fancy and their wallet.

Just listening to CEOs act out as though they are making policy is bad enough but when they confront everyday Americans, it is beyond the pale. Corporate executive officers at one time tried to at least remain neutral in their views on social and political subjects. They were more interested in listening to consumers concerning product quality and dependability. Now, they are forced, for the most part, to listen to the whining of millennials and other groups. They demand that CEOs speak out on the issues they support.

When a CEO takes a view on a chancy topic like gay marriage, which millennials and others support, there is an immediate reaction of support of the view and an increase in product sales. Apple CEO Tim Cook took a position on gay marriage that influenced public opinion and increased sales at the same time. Some consumers are literally demanding that CEOs take action and speak out on the issues that they believe are important to them.

In contrast, a good number of Americans are less likely to buy products from a company whose CEO’s are promoting a viewpoint they don’t like or appreciate. Companies like Nordstrom’s, Kellogg’s, Target, Burlington, Macy’s and others have ticked off everyday Americans with their views. The adverse effects have been not good for business or company standing. Corporate executive officers have had repercussions that they may not have believed would happen, but until they realize they have entered into a strong division of American opinion and thought on the roles of corporate executives, they will likely continue their pursuit of causes outside of the corporate landscape.

With corporations taking a huge share of the overall national wealth today, in comparison to those in the labor force and the public sector, CEO’s are going to continue to want both personal and public input into issues like education, job training, legislation, and policy making. With the pressure from various groups throughout the country to push CEOs as public advocates for varying issues, there is no doubt that they will continue their involvement in social and political matters. If it means advancing their own agenda and that of their supportive groups, they will continue to be active. Corporate activism will become just another force to be reckoned with in the social and political realm, and whether good or bad, activist CEOs will be dealt with accordingly.

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-The trend toward corporations attaining the same legal rights as individuals has increased at an alarming pace. Our government was never designed to provide the same rights to businesses as they spell out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights for individuals. Yet, as the influence of money on politics increases, CEOs have discovered that using corporate assets to lobby for favorable laws is a clever way of doing an end-run around the principal of “one citizen, one vote.”

The Supreme Court case commonly called the “Citizens United” decision gave corporations the same freedom of speech rights as individuals have when it comes to elections and political contributions. CEOs have decided they can push the boundaries to the limits and funnel millions of dollars to their preferred candidates by setting up Political Action Committees (PACs) for filtering contributions through layers of concealment to get around the much smaller campaign contribution limits imposed on individuals.

This means men like the Koch brothers and George Soros can back a candidate through a PAC funded with their corporate dollars, or worse and even more insidious, fund attack ads against candidates they don’t favor because negative campaigning has proven to be far more effective in winning elections. That gives them status as public policy influencers, especially when they can tap allied corporate media giants to gain exposure in television and print media.

American voters feel disenfranchised enough as it is considering the low voter turnout rates and being forced to choose between only two viable candidates, neither of whom may have any appeal, as illustrated by the 2016 presidential election. Increasingly, voters realize their $50 or $100 contribution to a candidate has zero effect on the outcome of a race. When hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars are being thrown at elections by CEOs who can tap their corporate wealth, small contributions lose their collective influence. Politics will become a more powerful tool than ever for the rich to divide the spoils of government among themselves, at the expense of we ninety-nine percent. CEOs are still individual citizens and should have no more public influence on politics than the average middle-class Jane or Joe.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-CEOs are ultimately answerable to their board of directors and, through them, the shareholders. If they continually put forth political theories and statements that their shareholders find objectionable, they will end up out of the top job. At least that’s the theory.

In practice, however, at least in recent history with larger corporations, as long as the bottom line stays in good shape, the board and shareholders likely don’t give a fig what their top dog does. If he or she starts to do things that hurt share price, then there will be trouble, but as long as Wall Street ignores their antics, the board of directors is happy to do likewise.

That model took a hit, though, with the recent near-downfall of Travis Kalanick, CEO of ride sharing company Uber. During a taxi strike protesting the Trump immigration policies, Kalanick cut Uber’s rates in the Big Apple to draw more business. He also initially agreed to sit on Trump’s council of economic advisors, but turned that down once the news became public and his image began to decay.

Thanks to social media, a move to delete the Uber app from phones went viral, with millions of people worldwide purging the company’s program from their smartphones. Overnight, seemingly, Uber went from darling of the indie-film, alternative music crowd to a Big Government-loving pariah.

And there’s the big difference between then (meaning two years or so ago) and now: Social media has taken over the world, and the doings of CEOs and other Illuminati wannabes are now scrutinized carefully and broadcast to a global audience more than willing to bring forth the pitchforks and torches. As long as they don’t actually have to leave their mom’s basements and gaming couches, these digital warriors will go to battle over any cause that catches their eye, with real-world consequences.

Thus, the issue of CEO behavior may become a self-limiting one, or else we might find Pew-De-Pie running Intel.

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-Yes CEOs are becoming too publicly involved in politics. The most outstanding involvement we’ve seen thus far is sir Donald Trump who recently decided that as a President he’s going to get rid of crime and violence and oust disease. That’s a blatant lie, I’d say, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about, right?

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks also took to the streets and took on issues relating to gun violence and race relations. Marc Benioff, Salesforce founder and several other business moguls came down on the governor of Georgia to “veto a religious liberty bill”. This bill would have given others the freedom to discriminate against same sex couples. The CEO of Apple also took a similar position some time ago in Indiana.

But why are these ‘big shots’ now speaking out or getting so involved in the world’s political affairs? I have not a clue, but I do believe that once these individuals start to personally feel the effects, they will eventually rear their heads. I’m not surprised. If the church is so involved in politics when it shouldn’t, what in the world will stop these CEOs? As far as I’m concerned, I think these CEOs think they have something to say when in fact they should be quiet.

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