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Letters to the Editor: Regarding Star Parker

I love what Star Parker has to said about the extreme liberals. It’s not just her opinion. She backs it up with data and facts. Thank you for running her editorial in every edition of your magazine.

Bob Woods

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In Star Parker’s April 21 column, she decried leaders of major corporations speaking out on social issues, specifically new laws restricting voting rights in Georgia. She goes on to say that CEOs should not take a public position on such issues and instead should solely focus on serving customers and increasing returns to shareholders, citing Milton Friedman circa 1962. Now, nothing against Milton Friedman, he was a fine economist and many of his theories advanced political debate. Just as Friedman was supporting the merits of a more market-oriented economics compared to Keynes’ well-accepted theories of the day 60 years ago, debates still persist today between economists with diverse views such as Tyler Cowen and Austan Goolsbee – both are respectable academics and each will find their ideas more amenable to either side of the political divide.

Since 1962, economic thought has evolved. In 2019, 182 CEOs of major corporations from oil and gas to defense to consulting and health care signed on to the Business Roundtable’s updated Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, a short document that outlines five key principles including delivering value to customers, investing in employees, dealing fairly and ethically with suppliers, supporting the communities in which they work and finally, generating long-term value for shareholders. If we focus on the fourth point of the statement, it makes complete sense that a major employer in Georgia would advocate against policies that it deemed unfair and harmful to a large portion of its labor force.

The CEOs who signed on to the statement were not coerced and they certainly are not all liberals, but they realize taking a broader view of their stakeholders is good for the long-term sustainability of their businesses. If their views were too far out of the mainstream, their boards of directors would rein them in; however in reviewing many of the big names on the list that I recognize, most still hold the top job.

Mike Briner

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