During the Democratic presidential debates and out on the campaign trail, the various candidates have been blaming corporations for the problems the average American faces. Bernie Sanders rants about corporate greed. Elizabeth Warren says that corporations have only one loyalty: to profits. Beto O’Rourke says the system is rigged for corporations and the wealthy.
Their message is intended, no doubt, to connect with voters already upset with the actions of corporations they feel are evil and greedy. But many voters might actually appreciate the corporation they work for and that provides them with a steady job.
Merrill Matthews raised this question in one of our roundtable discussions. He went on to write an op-ed asking whether corporations are really the “biggest threat to America”.
Walmart is the largest employer. Yes, they have been criticized for paying lower wages. But many people in rural areas appreciate having a store in an area where jobs are often scarce and prices are high.
Amazon is the second largest employer and has often been identified as a very attractive company for workers because it provides a wide range of jobs. Many of the Amazon employees feel very fortunate to work for a company with good wages and excellent benefits.
Amazon is also providing training for workers because they see a “skills gap.” It will be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on educational programs for warehouse workers to earn certificates or degrees in occupations that have a high demand. It is also funding graduate level education for its software engineers. This isn’t charity. They understand the need to attract and retain workers and stay ahead of competitors.
Candidates attacking corporations might discover that many voters actually appreciate the corporation that gives them wages, benefits, and even educational opportunities.