Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Corporate bashing is accelerating, a reflection of America's moving leftward and the media's maxi-covering corporate mistakes, from Enron to BP.
And America is not just bashing corporations; it's bleeding them. Is it truly fair that for its risk miscalculation (when there had never been such an event in history,) BP should be forced to pay tens of billions of dollars? Is it truly fair, as ObamaCare now mandates, to force all corporations to pay for health care not just for its employees but for non-employees? Is it fair to force corporations to give workers up to 12 weeks off each year (Marriage and Family Leave Act)? Is it fair to force corporations to retain employees with mental illness? If you ran a business, how would you feel if you were told that unless you do all of the above plus comply with a mountain of other government regulations and taxes, you will be forced out of business?
But you insist, corporations are evil--"a military-industrial complex that wrings as much production from its workers as possible and distributes the profits of their work to fat-cat executives and shareholders. If an American becomes cost-ineffective, he's replaced, perhaps with a 20-something in India willing to work for $5 an hour." You also rail, "Corporate advertising makes us buy crap we don't need, polluting our air and water in the process. What could be more evil?"
Fact is, while it's easy to point to corporations' weaknesses, I daresay that if corporations were eliminated in favor of small businesses, family farms, etc., you'd beg for corporations' reinstatement. Consider the following:
So much of what you buy and need would not be made or made affordably and with good quality in the absence of big corporations: The computer and screen you're reading this on, the car you drive or the mass transit you take, your refrigerator and what's in it: from milk to mayonnaise, Clementines to Quaker Oatmeal, bananas to the baking soda that keeps your refrigerator from stinking. Then there's the chair you're sitting in, the air conditioner that's keeping you comfortable, your coffee maker, your phone service, your iPhone, Google (which you probably used to get to this article,) not to mention the medication you take: from aspirin to heart medicine.
To make and distribute those products that you would not want to do without, corporations pay tens of millions of people a living wage, and many millions of those people, much more than a living wage--plus benefits. And of course, corporations are also forced to pay billions of dollars to comply with the aforementioned mountain of government regulations, the cost of which is passed on to all of us.
I don't have statistics but, anecdotally, I've seen again and again, that the pay, benefits, and working conditions of large corporate employees are usually better than those provided by the tiny businesses the anti-corporate crowd adores. People vote with their feet--job seekers wouldn't, for example, be lining up by the thousands (literally) whenever a new Wal-Mart opens if they felt that small companies were offering better jobs.
Workers' preference for jobs in a corporation rather than a small business is true not just in the U.S. but true of the supposedly taken-advantage-of workers in developing nations. When a U.S. corporation opens up shop in Asia, people usually flock to work for them because the pay, benefits, and working conditions are better than local businesses provide.
Of course, all enterprises--small business, corporations, nonprofits, and government--would benefit from living by loftier values but liberals' disproportionately heaping opprobrium on corporations is merely another example of their bashing society's "haves" without regard to their merit.