Tag archives: Businesses

Divisiveness Over Roe v. Wade Shakes Corporate America

by Deborah Laker

May 6, 2022

WASHINGTON D.C.– Late Monday night, Politico’s leaked early draft of the Supreme Court’s vote to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade sent shock waves across the nation. Some corporations like Starbucks and Lyft rushed to make public statements on the matter while other major businesses such as Disney and Walmart have been largely silent.

Amazon announced, in response to the leaked document, that it will pay employees up to $4,000 annually to travel for out-of-state abortions. Since Amazon is the second-largest U.S. private employer, their decision to fund abortion travel has sparked debate. Yelp, Uber, and Citigroup also promised to help their staff bypass newly established pro-life legislation in Republican states by covering abortion travel expenses. These corporate decisions have been met with strong disapproval from conservative employees and consumers.

Last month, dozens of House Republicans demanded the chamber drop Citigroup as their credit card provider. All 435 members of the House are issued Citibank credit cards to cover travel expenses, office supplies, and other goods as part of the company’s exclusive partnership with Congress. However, after the banking corporation committed to covering workers’ abortion-related costs, many conservative legislators no longer want to be associated with Citibank.

Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) along with 44 Republican colleagues wrote a letter to the House’s chief administrative officer, who oversees logistics such as the issuing of credit cards.  “By choosing to underwrite travel to abortions for its employees, Citi has explicitly staked out its position to advance the liberal agenda of abortion on demand and has shown no regard for whether a particular state’s laws are in place to protect the safety of a woman and her child,” wrote GOP lawmakers.

Another divisive social issue that is putting corporations at odds with consumers is the LGBT agenda.

In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) feuded with Disney over recent legislation that limits conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 classrooms. Although Disney is one of the state’s major economic contributors, DeSantis responded to the conflict by signing a bill stripping the theme park’s long-standing special tax privileges.

Corporations that take bold political stances are engaging in risky business. A recent poll by Rasmussen revealed that 59 percent of Americans believe that when companies make political statements, it “adds to the divisiveness in the country”. Over half of the poll’s self-identified Democrats agreed. Another similar poll found that 66 percent of Americans thought businesses should not be taking political positions. Eight percent believed it is better for corporations to weigh in on topics related to their businesses.

In these polarized times, there is not only fierce debate over social issues but also what position corporations should take on the matters. Everyday transactions such as ordering something off Amazon or using a credit card are no longer just simple purchases; they are becoming acts of political alliance. Many consumers are increasingly conscious of whether they are spending their hard-earned money in businesses that align with their values and political opinions.

Whether or not corporations should take political stances is up for debate, however, the DeSantis-Disney squabble has kept the theme park from commenting on the leaked opinion in Dobbs. It is possible that pressure like this from lawmakers could keep more businesses out of politics.

To the business community: Religious freedom and you - perfect together

by Travis Weber, J.D., LL.M.

December 1, 2014

Writing at the Berkley Center’s Religious Freedom Project blog, Samuel Gregg explores the idea – and idea for which new evidence is consistently emerging – that religious freedom is good for business.

Gregg begins by noting historically that as certain religious groups have been marginalized in political life, they have turned their energies toward commerce – and prospered. In other cases, certain groups have been marginalized in their nation’s financial life – thus handicapping the economy. This isn’t good for growth, obviously. Gregg then focuses his attention on the more recently discovered correlation between economic growth and religious freedom:

[T]here is growing evidence that respect for religious freedom tends to correlate with greater economic and business development. One recent academic article, for instance, found (1) a positive relationship between global economic competitiveness and religious freedom, and (2) that religious restrictions and hostilities tended to be detrimental to economic growth.”

Moreover, other rights and freedoms are not entirely unaffected:

[T]he strongest interest that business has in being attentive to the religious freedom of individuals and groups is the fact that substantive infringements upon one form of freedom often have significant and negative implications for other expressions of human liberty. If, for instance, governments can substantially nullify religious liberty, then they are surely capable of repressing any other civil liberty. This included rights with particular economic significance, such as the right to economic initiative and creativity, property rights, and the freedom of businesses to organize themselves in ways they deem necessary to (1) make a profit and (2) treat employees in ways consistent with the owner’s religious beliefs.”

He concludes by noting that, nevertheless:

[M]ore work needs to be done in this area. Correlation is not causation. While there do seem to be significant correlations between restrictions on religious liberty and the economic freedom of individuals and corporate bodies, the case for causation requires further elaboration.”

But, businesses take note!

If … the various forms of liberty are as interdependent as they seem to be, business surely has at least a high degree of self-interest in seeing substantive conceptions of religious liberty and the rights and protections associated with religious freedom prevail.”

Businesses take note, indeed.

Is Profiting from Hurricane Sandy Ethical?

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 1, 2012

There is a telling story today in one of the nation’s premier business publications, Barron’s, called “Playing a Superstorm.” In it, we read about some home repair-oriented companies whose stock is rising in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Of course, this makes perfect sense: Given the hurricane’s devastation, the value of firms with the resources needed to rebuild is at a premium. However, as the article notes, “These opportunities to scalp some profits out of the aftermath of the hurricane are likely fleeting, so act fast or do not act at all.”

Scalp some profits” - yikes! Profiting from disaster seems untoward. Yet in a market-based economy, such investments can animate economic growth in regions where it is most needed - places such as those destroyed by this week’s massive “Frankenstorm.”

Every action has three ethical dimensions: Its motivation, its implementation, and its effect. Those on the Left who insist on evaluating every action based on motivation (“greedy capitalists!”) rather than outcome (renewed businesses, reconstructed neighborhoods, etc.) are looking at only one aspect of a larger picture.

I’m not suggesting that motives are unimportant. Rather, at a time of national crisis, aspersing the intentions of those whose investments can help transform extensive damage into rebuilt lives seems a tired and useless exercise. The alternative - a government-run, command-and-control economic system - would never provide the diversity, quantity, or quality of products and services needed when disaster strikes. As scholar Jay Richards wrote in his book Money, Greed, and God, we must be wary of “contrasting capitalism with an unrealizable ideal rather than with its live alternatives” (watch Jay’s thoughtful FRC lecture on this theme here).

Ultimately, it’s about what the Founders called “ordered liberty,” the freedom to make reasonable, moral decisions in an open marketplace. To deny such liberty to image-bearers of God is an affront to human dignity. Our Founders understood this, which is why they valued the right to private property ownership so highly. We should maintain their commitment to free enterprise and opportunity with intentionality and energy; unless we do, when a future “Sandy” hits, we will lack the means to respond with the rapidity and resources they require.

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