Until recently, corporations and their CEOs were the villains of the liberal political class and their activist friends. For years, the Left has railed against the “millionaires and billionaires” and targeted large corporations and businesses with the harshest of rhetoric and regulations.
Former presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and soon-to-be-former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have been the main cheerleaders of a growing crowd. Warren introduced the “Accountable Capitalism Act,” aiming to redistribute “trillions of dollars” from companies to the “middle class.” During the primary, she released an “Elizabeth Warren Stands Up to Billionaires” ad. In it, Warren once again called for a “wealth tax” to punish wealthy corporations and executives for being successful.
No Democratic primary debate was complete without many rounds of corporation-bashing. Beto O’Rourke said pharmaceutical companies had to “pay a price.” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) alleged that big companies like Amazon “pay nothing in taxes.” Governor Jay Inslee attacked CEOs, complaining “it’s not right that the CEO of McDonald’s makes 2,100 times more than the people slinging hash” in the company.
Bernie Sanders has been guilty of similar rhetoric for over thirty years. During the early debates, Sanders endlessly attacked large pharmaceutical companies. Early in his campaign, he dropped an ad excoriating the “greed” of “Big Pharma,” pledging to take on the drug companies “so that people don’t get sick and die because of the greed of the pharmaceutical industry.”
Last fall, Sanders launched a plan to “tackle corporate greed” and transfer corporation ownership from executives to workers. His campaign website is full of similar plans, and states that “in America today, corporate greed and corruption is destroying the social and economic fabric of our society, where a small group of ultra-wealthy CEOs are making the decisions that increasingly determine our economic, environmental, and political future.”
Well, guess who America is now looking to in order to preserve our economic, environmental, and political future?
These vilified corporations and their CEOs are now doing their utmost to help Americans – more than any political party or social justice groups that have been attacking them for decades. And almost all of it has been voluntary.
Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Google, T-Mobile, and Sprint signed a pledge to ensure all Americans have internet access for at least the next 60 days – even Americans who can’t normally afford the service. UberEats and Doordash have waived commission fees for local restaurants – and can we now acknowledge that with America depending on restaurant deliveries that maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing that we were becoming a “Fast Food Nation” in recent years? And maybe it’s not a bad thing that the CEO of McDonalds and similar companies are paid so well to set up these seamless national networks of sustenance.
From the beginning, large corporations have made generous gestures and payments that small companies are unwilling or unable to do.
Microsoft announced that their hourly workers will continue to be paid through the duration of the crisis. Adobe, the company behind Photoshop, is giving free access to their products to students until May 31st. Amazon, recently one of the Left’s favorite bogeymen, is giving raises and hiring 100,000 workers.
Would Americans be so calm and well-stocked without the logistical miracle that is the network of Amazon order and delivery, in the face of this unprecedented demand?
Disney will continue paying its employees despite the closure of its parks around the world. U-Haul is giving 30 days of free storage to students forced to move out of their campus dorms or apartments.
We are witnessing the anti-corporate, anti-wealth arguments of people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and their followers being disproven in real time. Large corporations are helping keep millions of people afloat for at least the next several weeks, if not longer.
In fact, the “big business boogeyman” has become the hero in this dark tale.
As we face disaster, we have become the greedy ones. We demand that big business works night and day for us so we can feed our families. We are imploring Big Pharma to work harder and be better so they can find a treatment, cure, and a vaccine.
When this current crisis is over, we should take time, and rather than denigrate, we should celebrate them and their work for us. They deserve it.
Phelim McAleer & Ann McElhinney are journalists and producers based in Los Angeles. Together they host the podcast The Ann & Phelim Scoop.