Howard Schultz on Corporations
Starbucks CEO; independent candidate for President until July 2019
A: I should be paying more taxes. And people who are in the bracket of making millions of dollars, or whatever the number might be, should be paying more taxes. I was very vocally against President Trump's corporate tax. Corporate tax rate of 21 percent should have never happened.
Q: What's the appropriate top tax rate?
A: I don't know what the number is, but what I'm suggesting is, I should be paying higher taxes. And I think people across the country are willing to pay higher taxes, but there's a caveat there. When you ask people to pay more taxes, we have to make sure that there is an agreement that your additional tax dollars are going to be spent wisely by the government.
The workers making the espresso were called "baristas." "Pulling" shots of espresso requires just the right combination of water flow, temperature, pressure, and time to extract the fullest, strongest flavor from just the right amount of finely ground coffee beans. The performance takes place just inches from discerning customers, one small cup at a time.
Italians understood the emotional relationship that people could have with coffee and had built a vibrant culture around it, elevating a commodity into an art and creating warm, welcoming spaces. They drew out of me old feelings I'd left behind in my youth: the sense of belonging. The thrill that met this epiphany was visceral. I became convinced that translating that experience in America was the next step for Starbucks.
"No matter where you are in the company--the roasting plant, the stores, the office--every person will have a stake in the success of the company."
It had never been done before. For a start-up that was not yet making money to do it was rarer still. The first stock options were granted at $6 a share. Since then, Bean Stock has generated $1.5 billion in pre-tax gains for baristas and shift supervisors. From June 1992nto November 2018, Starbucks total shareholder return was 21,826 percent. In other words, $10,000 invested at the IPO was worth $2,182,620.
Few of these things directly flow to the revenue or earnings of the business, but they combine to create what we have referred to internally as the "Starbucks Experience" for customers. We articulated a new vision, a "Transformational Agenda" summarizing seven priorities:
He started at Starbucks in 1982 and served as chief executive from 1987 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2017. He is leaving at a tumultuous moment in Starbucks' history [where Starbucks has ordered racial sensitivity training for all staff].
In a speech to Starbucks shareholders in 2016, Schultz said he feared that the opportunities that allowed him to achieve his American Dream--he grew up in subsidized housing in Brooklyn--have escaped the grasp of too many people. "The American Dream can't be only accessible to people of privilege who are white and live in the right zip code," he said.
To me, "corporate responsibility," the term President Clinton used for a conference of CEOs in May 1996, means that management must take good care of the people who do the work and show concern for the communities where they live.
So what about "social responsibility," the term used by companies that give a percentage of their earnings to charity, or sell organic products, or try to save the rain forest? We don't use that term to describe Starbucks' approach, though "contributing positively to our communities and our environment" has long been part of our mission.
Some shareholders think companies should not make any charitable contributions. But I have a different view. To reflect the collective values of our partners, we believe Starbucks as a company should support worthy causes in both the communities where our stores are located and the countries where our coffee is grown.
And what's small business? Ask the same focus group, and they may well give you a set of completely opposite reactions. Small business means hard-working people struggling to earn a living. Small-business owners are often well-intentioned and care about their customers.
Finally, if you ask: "How many big businesses act like small ones?" most people would answer: "Not very many." When we tell people that we're trying to build a big business on a foundation of small business values, many don't believe it. Either they assume we're incurable optimists or they begin looking for hidden agendas that would explain our REAL intentions.
One of Starbucks' greatest challenges is to try to break the mindset that big can't be good. If we don't, we'll lose the very values that attracted people to us in the first place.
The criticisms leveled against us crystallize a deeper issue: the growing fear about the homogenization of neighborhoods and towns. Most of the opposition we've encountered has been in close-knit urban areas or small towns, where people are highly protective of their distinctive character. They worry that national chains will displace locally owned stores and that fast food restaurants will elbow out the corner diner. A few groups have even prevented us from opening a store, by passing some ordinance or claiming insufficient parking.
We've noticed that whenever several coffee businesses locate near one another, customers flock there. In the end, all of us benefit. We want people to feel delighted and excited that we're in their neighborhood, not put upon. Our goal is to find communities that eagerly welcome us.
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Opinion Leaders on the Right:
Milton Friedman (Nobel Economist)
Rush Limbaugh (Radio Talk Show Host)
Ayn Rand (Author and Philosopher)
Heritage Foundation (Think Tank)
Joe Scarborough (Former Congressman; Radio Host)
Opinion Leaders on the Left:
American Civil Liberties Union
Noam Chomsky (Author and Philosopher)
Arianna Huffington (Internet Columnist)
Robert Reich (Professor and Columnist)
Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks)
John F. Kennedy(President,1961-1963)