Billionaire Howard Schultz's 2011 Letter to Author Who Challenged His Political Views
Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO, has sparked backlash and controversy. On September 2, 2011. I took issue with his "A pox on both houses" view of our politics. He sent a signed written response.
On September 2, 2011 he kindly responded.
I am a daily Starbucks customer. I fully empathize with, and share, your concern regarding the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C. What I take issue with is the "pox on both your houses" conclusion you have reached. Let's be clear, there is an inherent partisan angle to most political debates, but a false equivalency is being suggested by inferring that both sides are at fault. Such is not the case.
Let's be brutally honest:
1. Only one party threatened to take the country into default; 2. Only one—caused the first-ever downgrading of the U.S.'s credit rating (explicitly-
If so, why did that not happen during the Bush years?
• Taxes, as percentage of GDP, are the lowest they have been since the Eisenhower years.
• Many Republicans slammed the stimulus (inaptly named) while taking the checks.
• More than 40% of the so-called 'stimulus' bill (I would have preferred it had been called the "Put America Back to Work' bill) was tax cuts.
• Never in our country's history, before now, did we engage in massive, unfunded war (two of them) expenditures, while at the same time, cutting taxes.
• President Obama honestly placed the "off the budget" war costs on the budget, thus ballooning it, and getting blamed for his honesty.
• We recently learned that economic mess President Obama inherited was worse than earlier stated.
• Republicans (and Tea-Partiers—
• Of course there was increased spending. As an analogy: if one suffers a great economic loss or tragedy, does one then rush to start a savings account, or does one borrow money to rebuild?
Well-respected Republicans, many of whom once worked for the "sainted" Ronald Reagan, agree that what we are witnessing, on the part of House Republicans, and filibuster-intoxicated Senate Republicans, is transparent and terrible for the country.
Warren Buffet has spoken eloquently, and honestly, on the subject of taxes, and tax policy in this country.
No less "liberal-thinkers"
• There has not been a single piece of legislation from the new House Majority, aimed at growing jobs.
• Instead, they attack NPR and Planned Parenthood; name post offices.
• They attack the FAA, FEMA, block vital appointments, etc. I could go on.
• They are like the arsonists who stand on the fire hose while complaining the firemen are not putting out the fire quickly enough.
• Stated goals, voiced by Senator McConnell, Senator Demint, and others, are to see that President Obama fails. And if, in the process, America fails, then so be it.
So, Mr. Schultz, if you really want to have a positive impact, be specific in your assessment of the state of political malpractice in this country. Because of your stature, and the voice you have, you have an obligation to call it like it is. A scatter-gun, 'all are to blame' approach does a disservice, regardless of any political affiliation.
I understand you cannot, for certain reasons, be as candid and outspoken as can I. In that sense, despite your financial clout, I, arguably, have more freedom.
In conclusion, this right-wing agenda, as presently practiced, goes beyond politics; it goes to the success or failure of this country—the country that has made your hard-earned success possible. I call upon you to—even at the risk of being labeled a partisan by those who are allergic to truth—to call out wrong where you see it, and call it out, pointedly. To do otherwise is less than fully honest.
Instead of zipping your purse, use the power of your purse. Aid those who are trying to do the right things, in the face of enormous odds, thanks to 'Citizens United' (what a contradiction in terms that is). If you have reached this last sentence, thanks for reading.
Gene Cartwright, author
PLEASE READ RESPONSE LETTER FROM MR. SCHULTZ:
Click link below.