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Is Starbucks The Home Front For The New Revolution ?
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Is Starbucks the Home Front for the New Revolution ?

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz has fired a shot across the bow of the political status quo, demanding that those aboard the sinking ship, stand and deliver or stand down. Within thirty hours of his challenge, he had garnered thousands of supportive responses but no reply from the politicians that he had called out. Schultz mounted his sweeping attack in a New York Times OpEd piece where he pointed out his great displeasure with the failure of leaders to do what they were employed to do: lead. The quagmire that was the debt ceiling debate as well as the inability of Congress to work as a cohesive unit on any subject, measure or topic has ired him and other financial bigwigs just like him. He ended his piece, an open letter to the wealthy and the powerful with the request that they all band together and withhold political contributions until things start to change.

Schultz’s letter reminded people that politicians are elected to positions and charged with the very daunting task of representing the people from their areas. They are supposed to do what is best for those people, the letter continued but instead they have done nothing but play party politics and battle over their hard drawn party lines instead of working toward compromise that works for everyone.

Starting to change is only the tip of the iceberg, according to Schultz who went on to say that contributions could be withheld until a “fiscally disciplined” and long term debt plan is actually written and then approved. Until this point, Schultz has been making contributions to mostly Democratic candidates and interests, but he is clearly fed up. Judging by the number of responses that he has had, others are fed up as well. In addition to other CEOs and business leaders, Schultz has had a number of “ordinary” citizens respond to him as well. So far, there has been no response by anyone in the political world.

Politics has become more and more costly in recent years. During the 2008 election, more than $5.2 billion dollars was spent by all of the candidates, the political parties and special interest groups. Two years later, in 2010 and without a presidential election, the number was $3.6 billion. It is estimated that a very small percentage of the American public donates more than $200 to any candidate, political party or political action group, but that very small number accounts for the majority of the total sum of all donations in every election season. Schultz is asking that very small percentage to hit the politicians who have not been effective in their jobs in recent years to send a clear and unmistakable message that hits them where they will actually notice- their wallets.

One of the biggest sticking points in the debt ceiling debacle was the insistence that taxes for the wealthy not be raised. Teabaggers fought tooth and nail not to allow the addendum that would raise taxes on the wealthiest of Americans to be allowed in the proposal. Billionaire Warren Buffet has publicly asked that Congress stop “coddling” him. He and others just like him, he said in the New York Times, could afford to pay higher taxes and insisted that higher taxes would not kill off the hopes of creating new jobs.


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