US economy

Corporate Money Supporting the ‘Big Lie’

To the Editor:

Re “These Companies Are Still Funding Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ Caucus,” by Alex Kingsbury (Opinion, June 16):

In 1953, Charles Wilson, then president of General Motors, famously told a congressional committee that “what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.”

In subsequent decades many have questioned that bromide, but as the experience of businesses and those who lead them in Putin’s Russia, Orban’s Hungary, Erdogan’s Turkey, Xi’s China, Duterte’s Philippines and in the United States in DeSantis’s Florida show, in the long run, and sometimes even in the short run, autocracies or dictatorships are good neither for businesses nor for investors.

Invariably, sooner or later the interests of the autocrat — whether financial or political or a combination of both — will lead to retribution or forced sale to favored individuals or state takeover of the companies.

As July 4 approaches, we should remember that a vibrant democracy in which voters select those who govern them, where the rule of law is inviolate, where workers are respected, where the views of all stakeholders are valued, and where a diverse population is allowed to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is indeed better for all.

C.E.O.s and boards of companies continuing to make contributions to Republican politicians supporting Donald Trump’s Big Lie — politicians who have undermined and continue to attempt to undermine democracy — should be aware of this.

Daniel Fink
Beverly Hills, Calif.

To the Editor:

Alex Kingsbury spotlights the troubling issue of funding politicians who are not supporting democracy. Two recommendations:

Shareholder activists should target the worst of the corporate sponsors by initiating shareholder resolutions to forbid such contributions. It shouldn’t take many such actions to get the point across to a wider corporate community.

Since it is a compounded problem for corporations to make political contributions if they have significant foreign ownership, I like the Center for American Progress’s idea that no U.S. corporation with 5 percent or more of its stock under foreign ownership or 1 percent or more controlled by a single foreign owner be allowed to spend money to sway the outcomes of U.S. elections or ballot measures.

These initiatives highlight the gross error it has been to consider corporations as having the rights of persons.

Robert J. Berg
The writer is a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center, a think tank.

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Considers Rollback of Tariffs to Ease Inflation” (front page, June 15):

Again, politicians are looking for a short-term solution for political advantage, not for the benefit of the people they serve. The Trump administration (I am not a supporter, to say the least) imposed tariffs on China to stop our reliance on cheap Chinese goods and encourage U.S. manufacturers to source their products from other countries. This was an effort to balance trade in the long run. It is working, and I support it.

Now for short-term political gain the Biden administration, in an effort to appease the public concerning inflation, is considering rolling back these tariffs. Some major U.S. businesses support this effort since they can obtain cheaper imported materials and increase their profits.

This will not reduce inflation. We should leave these tariffs in place, let U.S. manufacturers find new sources for their materials and reduce our sourcing from China. In the long term this will definitely benefit the U.S. economy.

Jay Charkow
Woodbridge, Conn.
The writer is the president of International Tariff Management.

To the Editor:

Re “The Toll of Agrarian Fairy Tales” (Metropolitan, June 12):

Thank you for highlighting the challenges faced by America’s next generation of farmers in finding land.

As noted, farmers — particularly beginning farmers — can run into issues when they rent land owned by non-operating landowners, or NOLs. Those who own farmland but don’t farm it may have limited knowledge of farming. Forty percent of farmland in the U.S. is owned by NOLs.

Improving equitable land access for next-generation farmers requires landowners to better support farmers and society to support farmland protection policies. According to research by American Farmland Trust, NOLs will work collaboratively with farmers when provided relevant information.

Permanently protecting farmland from development can help make land more affordable and accessible. New Yorkers can vote in November on a state environmental bond act that would provide at least $150 million to permanently protect farms.

Owner education and land protection are both urgent and necessary.

Linda Garrett
Felts Mills, N.Y.
The writer is New York regional director of American Farmland Trust.

To the Editor:

Re “After Zucker, CNN Rations the Banners” (Business, June 6):

What a relief to learn that the “breaking news” banner will be used only for actual breaking news. It’s no longer “breaking news” when it’s been discussed a dozen times in a 24-hour period.

I often talk to my students about the likes of Eric Sevareid, Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, and the role their incredible and credible reporting played in our civic society.

We may never see their level of journalism again, but how nice at least to see the end of a nonsensical part of the CNN broadcasts that they would have never stood for.

Stephanie Lipson Mizrahi
Lincoln, Calif.
The writer is a professor of criminal justice at California State University, Sacramento.


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