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Starbucks has just launched its Create Jobs for USA program, the coffee chain’s official response to America’s unemployment crisis. The program will donate money to a loan fund for “community businesses.”  It's managed by the Opportunity Finance Network, and makes loans to small businesses, nonprofits and commercial real estate companies with the hope that the extra credit will free them up to hire more people. Isn't that nice! A solution that dosen't involve handouts, rewarding the self-starting types and all that!

“When you wear it you are stating that you have done your part, a big part, to help get this country back on its feet.”

Starbucks Promotional Material, (emphasis mine)

I'm moved.

As a corporation whose products are sold in cities an other areas where the majority of people are closer to the left than the right Starbucks must maintain their image as a supposedly progressive company. I thinks that's OK, it's better than some more right leaning companies who have donated to things like anti-abortion groups. In either case these are only gestures, it would have been better to spend 5 million giving each of their employees a $29.41. Economist Dean Baker points out that Starbucks anti-union actions are another area where the company might reform itself to help the economy.

Making Starbucks a sustainable full-time job would free up some of those second and third jobs for other people. Paying “partners” a living wage, rather than inviting them to donate to real-estate companies, would address what actually ails U.S. job creation: a lack of spending by the non-wealthy majority.

Starbucks’ Crackpot Solution to Jobs Crisis: Donate and Wear a Wristband
BY JOSH EIDELSON,  TUESDAY NOV 22, 2011 11:00 AM, In These Times

What is dangerous and bad is that many people think that these kinds of "solutions" are a replacement for nationally sponsored tax-supported programs. It's a problem that stems from our poor mathematics education, I think, too few people have a good sense of scale. The difference between 5 million and 5 billion and 5 trillion is fuzzy in most minds, anything more than 500,000 or so is simply "very big" --

I start to wonder if they do this to lull us in to complacency. If that could work it would be a very effective use of 5 million dollars indeed!

Let's talk "very big" how about a 2 percent tax on corporate profits for all corporations that make in excess of 3 million?  Then take that money and hire a bunch of people to build a railroad, or some new schools? How about another 2 percent tax and the use that to cut the price of public universities down to size-- think of all the young "job producers" we could create if more people could go to college! (and not graduate with significant debt...)

Nah... put a band-aid on it. Call it a night.  I'm saving the economy with my trendy accessories! (those bangles are pretty! I'm serious. They are yummy!)

In the end, they are acting in the interest of their shareholders as their corporate charter directs them to.  I don't blame sharks for eating fish or leopards for killing gazelles.  We need to lose the illusion that we can scold and lecture people like corporations in to behaving properly.  It simply isn't built in to their nature.

“Small businesses are the backbone of America, employing more than half of all private sector workers – but this critical jobs engine has stalled. We’ve got to thaw the channels of credit so that community businesses can start hiring again. Create Jobs for USA empowers Americans to help other Americans create and sustain jobs, with Starbucks and OFN as a catalyst and the Indivisible wristband as a symbol of our country’s unity.”

Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

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Comment Preferences

  •  The 10,000 Year Record of Philanthropy is That (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it leaves a tiny aristocratic rich, a small middle class and almost everyone poor or working poor. That's where we had arrived in 1933.

    That also includes 1,900 years of Christian charity.

    1 generation of 20th century liberalism here and abroad brought a middle class lifestyle within reach of most of the people, or their children, across the developed world.

    Good on Starbucks, but sorry, the data are in.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 12:58:56 PM PST

    •  Tax incentives (0+ / 0-)

      The only way I see to make philanthropy an attractive social model that could conceivably replace government action is a very progressive tax model, whereby the 1% can earn as much in income (including capital gains and so on) as they want, but they are limited to only a certain level of wealth by law. A $40,000,000 salary looks sexy on paper, but when the maximum accrued wealth a person can have is $20,000,000 you've got to find something to do with the other $20,000,000. Assuming they didn't blow it on buying politicians, they could do something useful with it. At the very least, they would be buying a lot of clothes and cars and houses, and putting money in peoples' pockets that way. And anything left over at the end of the year, the government confiscates.

      Really, what it comes down to, is that the 1% needs to learn its place again. It will be respected only to the extent that it actually do what it says it can do, and only to the extent that it can understand the principle that too much wealth is a bad thing. They can either do it by noblesse oblige, or they can do it by the government taking their money.

      I am so done with Republicans and their whining about confiscatory taxes.

  •  We can assume they're not loaning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    futurebird, demway

    to struggling coffee shops.

    "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

    by cadejo4 on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 01:06:16 PM PST

  •  hell no they aren't (0+ / 0-)

    starbucks is satan and nobody should be giving them their money.  for anything.

    My goal is to make the world safe for anarchy. - 4Freedom

    by Cedwyn on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 03:59:17 PM PST

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