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Corporations benefit from a great deal of things funded by all taxpayers.

They include:
-- taxpayer subsidized education of all young people, from k-12th grade. Not only does this education allow corporations to hire more productive workers who can read and write and use technology. Republican talking heads like to spout off about how minimum-wage workers have "no skills" but if McDonalds had to teach its cashiers mathematics in order to count currency, McDonalds might be irked.
-- taxpayer subsidized education also frees corporations from the necessity of providing childcare and/or paying workers enough that they can afford to work when their kids are old enough for public school.
-- the court system which enforces patents, property rights, adjudicates disputes, prevents monopolistic competition, etc., all at a very low cost to users. $25 per day for a juror -- what a deal (also, corporations, being non-human people, don't have jury duty...hurrah!)!
-- infrastructure, built (especially roads). Why do bridges have to be so strong? Trucks. Why do overpasses have to be so high? Trucks. Why are maintenance costs for highways so great? Hmmm...Trucks. Who mostly owns and operates trucks? Not human people.
-- infrastructure, tech. Thanks for the internet, taxpayers.
-- the SEC, payed for by all taxpayers, but pretty much more useful to corporate persons than to human persons.

What should corporations give us in return for all this delicious goodness that allows them to make money from us?
DISCLOSURE
-- what is the actual salary breakdown of corporate employees? Not just the top five. All of them. You know what it is. Tell us in your 10-K's.
-- where are the employees employed? How many employees in each country? Tell us in your 10-K's.
-- what is the ownership structure of the company? Reduce the disclosure threshold below 5% of the company, & tell us in your 10-K's.
-- what are expenditures for all 501 (c) organizations? And what was the reason for making each expenditure? Tell us!

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Comment Preferences

  •  SEC reports, including the 10K and proxy statement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plumbobb

    are designed to give investors the material information needed to make good investment decisions. Some of the information you requested would be expensive and burdensome to prepare and none of it is material to most investors who own or are contemplating ownership of public company shares.  

    It seems as though your request for information is politically oriented, and that isn't the purpose of SEC reports. Being a public company is a significant competitive disadvantage when competing with private companies who have no duty to report any information to the public. The need for transparency has to be balanced with what is in the long term best interest of the shareholders, and that is not always more information.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:44:24 AM PST

    •  The purpose of financial statements is to provide (0+ / 0-)

      decision usefulness. I think that investors and potential investors are and should be interested in how companies spend their money and on what. I for example would be much more inclined to invest money in a company that had less income inequality (for example Kroger) than one that had more income inequality (WalMart). That is because I think that is, in the long run, a better business model.

      Asking for information is apolitical. Decisions made on the basis of that information can be political. For example, you might think that paying workers less and C-level execs and managers more might be a better business model. That would be your choice, and so having this information would benefit you also.

      •  plumbobb - I think public companies are very (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        plumbobb

        reluctant to provide information that is useful to their competitors and can be used to advance political interests that the companies feel aren't in the best interest of their shareholders.

        Many decades ago I was an executive at a Fortune 200 NYSE listed company and received national press on my success in making the company more open and transparent to the investment community. I had one filter, is making  some specific piece of information public in the best interest of our current shareholders, the people who own the company? If it was I would fight internally to release it. If it wasn't I would make sure it wasn't released. I personally don't see how releasing the information requested in the diary is in the best interest of the current shareholders, the owners of the corporation.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 11:05:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          plumbobb

          companies being accountable beyond their "shareholders, the owners of the corporation". The point is that corporations benefit monetarily from the contributions of the public and community, and thus the community should rightly expect some accountability from corporations in return. A lot of what's in "the best interest of the shareholders" is not necessarily in the best interests of the community.

          when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

          by bunsk on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 11:19:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  bunsk - I think that theory is nonsensical (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            plumbobb

            because it only applies to public corporations. None of it applies to private companies who receive all the same benefits as public companies. Public corporations already face a competitive disadvantage releasing what is already required by the SEC. Why should we want to put them at a further competitive disadvantage? SEC reports are about shareholders and investors, not about providing information that has some broader social context. If you want companies to report that kind of information, then level the playing field.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 11:38:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  fine with me (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              plumbobb

              they should all be compelled to publicize their actions when they're potentially counter to the public interest - and the public can be the judge of that - shareholders and owners be damned. Whether a corp is public or private, their interests (read: profit) should not be allowed to outweigh the public interest

              when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

              by bunsk on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 12:02:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well the whole point of preparing financial state- (0+ / 0-)

              ments, disclosures, complying with FASB, additional SEC requirements, getting audited, etc. is to provide "decision usefulness" to potential investors, not just the residual owners of the company (stockholders).

              Financial reporting is not an end in itself but is intended to provide information that is useful in making
              business and economic decisions.
              •The objectives of financial reporting are not immutable—they are affected by the economic, legal, political,and social environment in which financial reporting takes place...
              •Financial reporting should provide information that is useful to present and potential investors and
              creditors and other users in making rational investment, credit, and similar decisions. The information
              should be comprehensible to those who have a reasonable understanding of business and economic
              activities and are willing to study the information with reasonable diligence
              from FASB concept statement #1
          •  The exact same benefit therefore accountable (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            plumbobb

            argument can be made for any individual, especially those who get a check from government as pay or transfer payment and unions.

            I don't buy what you are selling that individuals and groups do not have privacy, don't have control over what information is disclosed, especially those who may oppose government policies.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 12:40:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I want to attach names to ownership (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plumbobb

    These are the top ten owners of UPS, and some of the top ten owners of publicly traded corporations who these other companies:

    Vanguard Group, Inc. (The)   
    State Street Corporation   
      Schroder Investment Management Group   
      Price (T.Rowe) Associates Inc   
      Massachusetts Financial Services Co.   
      State Street Corporation   
      Vanguard Group, Inc. (The)   
      BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A.   
      JP Morgan Chase & Company       
      Barrow, Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss, Inc.   
      FMR, LLC       
      Invesco Ltd.
    Massachusetts Financial Services Co.   
    Capital Research Global Investors   
    Wellington Management Company, LLP   
    BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A.
    FMR, LLC   
    Price (T.Rowe) Associates Inc       
    Bank of America Corporation
      Vanguard Group, Inc. (The)   
      State Street Corporation   
      BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A.   
      FMR, LLC   
      JP Morgan Chase & Company   
      Schroder Investment Management Group   
      Citigroup Inc.   
      Bank of New York Mellon Corporation   
      Northern Trust Corporation       
      Dodge & Cox Inc       
    Northern Trust Corporation

    They're all owned by each other. There's also a layer of ownership by Wall Street insiders and middlemen, but they're still the proxies of other owners. I want to know who owns the actual capital that's backing the equity. I want to peel back the layers to discover, maybe, that the Saudi monarchy owns 12% of UPS, Sam Zell owns 9%, and someone named Rothschild owns 8%. Attach accountability to their actions instead of an anonymous corporate machine.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:50:45 AM PST

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