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)
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.”