In Defense of Business: Corporations Create Jobs, Employ Americans and Keep This Country Moving
Posted by politicizer on June 16, 2009
Conor Rogers & Kathleen McCaffrey
In the wake of the financial crisis, corporations have gotten an even worse reputation than previously held. Pundits and politicians from both parties slam ambiguous “corporations” and “CEOs” for ruining America. Let me point out what none of these spectators have – it is thanks to the same CEOs and businesses that America became so successful in the first place. Any critic has committed one of two fallacies when they express this opinion:
One option is that this person actually believes that all corporations are bad and that CEOs are a bad influence – which would be a ridiculous and uneducated opinion. The other, and the more likely of the options, is that they realize that a large number of Americans are currently unfoundedly directing their anger at corporate America and are merely pandering to their collective rage. It is only a handful of corporate policies and legislative mistakes that have led to this crisis, yet the fair-weather politician begins to talk about what the voter thinks is true, rather than what actually is.
So what is the truth that many politicians are ignoring? Corporations create jobs, employ millions of Americans, give them opportunity to move up through promotion and merit-based qualification, and in the end, provide nearly every American with opportunity. Frankly, CEO’s guide the corporations that, in turn, create jobs. Statistics and job reports repeatedly show that the supermajority of jobs in the US are created through corporate, private enterprise – by small businesses and national corporations alike. No one has ever been hired by a poor man; jobs are born out of corporate wealth. Dismiss the literary merits of Ayn Rand if you will, but one of her indispensable messages in ‘Atlas Shrugged’ revealed the trickle-down system of power and wealth in this country. In a capitalist society, we are privy to corporate decisions that aim to please the consumer and are always trying to make some sort of progress in the name of profit. With the widespread government expansion that the Obama Administration is bringing forth, this concept of innovation will be lost with the decimation of profit incentive that government control brings to industries. Why would GM need to make a better product when the state will make sure they stay afloat either way? Reforming standards for mortgages and raising the down payments yuppies will make on their McMansions? That’s a job for people who will have to face consequences! Not the bailed out Fannie Mac and Freddie Mae! (Though it should be noted that government interference via “housing acts” made that particular mess in the first place. Not everyone can afford a great house – get over it.)
Government bureaucrats with nothing to lose are simply just not going to do as good of a job as an investor or broker with his or her job on the line. Without motivation, there is no performance, and when Washington, DC bureaucrats-for-life step in, there is no motivation for performance. Yes, of course, some businesses fail and some businesses take down many people when this happens. However, the government’s alternative of trying to put the companies with failed business models and a record of malfunction, in the same league as companies with ingenuity will always be a recipe for failure at a cost to the consumer, the tax payer and the worker.
When Corporate America comes to mind, titles like ‘The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit’ and ‘Revolutionary Road’ do so as well. In a world so focused on the negative, it’s easy to dismiss corporate America as being such a faceless evil, stunting creativity and manufacturing the banal. More improvements in education, industrial manufacturing, marketing, and technology have come to fruition within the past sixty years than any other epoch in American history. This cannot be a coincidence – and it certainly was not facilitated by government intervention and planning. Thanks to corporations, opportunity was abound and advances driven by innovation have changed the face of our nation. Now, at the first sign of a crack in the armor of capitalism, some are calling for it to be thrown away. Corporations face punitive taxes, and at the sign of collapse, government ownership.
The father of modern Chinese literature, Lu Xun, wrote that we are all puppets to somebody else. Throughout Obama’s campaign, he tried to show that he was one with the common people and that his interests were in line with theirs. Four months into his administration we see that he believes Americans would like to have their hands in the pockets of the banking and auto industries with healthcare to come soon. While he may have felt like an appendage of the common man’s interest at first, leading to his popularity, Americans are waking up to find little difference from the CEO of GM and the CEO of America. The expansion of the government means a heavier influence on industry. The American consumer should be free to choose under a myriad of corporations trying to outdo one another than being shafted by only one state-sanctioned option. The corporation has to bear in mind the needs of the consumer and its competition, while the State merely works to stretch its dollars further. The corporation must win over the favoritism of the American consumer to be successful and prosper, while the American government only needs to write the consumer’s compliance into law. Corporate competition, not government, is the facilitator of the American dream and the gatekeeper of innovation.