Saturday, January 15, 2011

An Open Letter from the CEOs of Big-Box Mart Corporate America, Inc. and Mega-Conglomero Corp.

This bit of satire was contributed by Natalie Preston

To: The States, particularly the "blue" ones
Re: How to make the Corporation comfortable in your state
January 15, 2011
Dear States,
As the new year begins we have noticed that states are having a difficult time creating the atmosphere needed to make the Corporation feel comfortable establishing a headquarters in your state.  At first, we were hurt by your selfish inaction.  Then, at our bi-annual retreat in Dubai, it occurred to us that it might not be entirely your fault.  We decided that you could benefit from a brief tutorial in what a state needs to make a corporation feel welcome and appreciated. 
Skilled and/or Educated Workers It cannot be stated enough how necessary workers are for the Corporation to succeed.  We prefer skilled and educated workers (though a home-grown ethic of hard-work and malleability will suffice).  The reasons for this should be fairly obvious, namely that educated workers are easier to train, they advance more quickly through the ranks of the Corporation and they make fewer mistakes.  By working our employees 39 hours a week we are able to harvest their talent without having to discuss complex employee benefit terms, saving everyone time and a nasty head ache.  We like our workers to be healthy as well. That may not be as obvious since we’ve gotten pretty good at skimming our health care obligations, but we recommend state-wide exercise campaigns and initiatives so that we can have a healthier population from which to choose our workers.  
"Right to Work" Laws - We have really been pushing you to enact so-called "right to work" laws, claiming that we are doing so because of the Freedom of Association guaranteed to us in the U.S. Constitution.   But we are going to let you in on a little secret, it's really about unions.  Unions just do not benefit a state looking to make the Corporation feel comfortable.  They force otherwise non-influential people to join together under the wing of a powerful labor organization, which prevents the worker's individual voices from being heard.  And we absolutely listen to what our workers want to tell us.  We would never fire an employee for daring to dissent or to question the Corporation's judgment. Rumors that the bottom of the suggestion box is in fact a garbage can have been greatly exaggerated. We believe in individual liberties such as the Freedom of Association so strongly, that we would actually be willing to fund a program similar to D.A.R.E., teaching children at young age about the dangers of unions.  And since our program would actually be well funded, we imagine it will also be much more successful than D.A.R.E. has proven to be.  
Culture – We define culture to broadly encompass all the things that could convince our future workers to move to your cities and live their lives. We don’t feel like we’re asking much.  Schools should be excellent.  Health care should be accessible.  Public transportation should be everywhere.  Housing costs should be low, but with the ability to rise as incomes do.  Pollution should be at an absolute minimum.  Need we go on?
Environmental Regulations – Flexible is the perfect term here.  Though we want the environment to pristine before we arrive, we would prefer to not have to overcome any environmental regulations when it comes to disposing of the Corporation's waste.  We are, we think, the perfect example of self-regulation.  Just because you don’t tell us we can’t doesn’t mean we will.  We are not saying that we want to pollute your pristine environments, but if pollution is low to start with, then really, will you even notice?  Certainly not immediately.  It will take you a while and the human being is a remarkably adaptable animal.  In our lab tests, some have even survived with…,but we digress. The simple fact is that these regulations are not benefiting anyone.  Remove them.
Taxes –  Taxes make a corporation feel very unwelcome.  Along with skilled/educated workers, "right to work" laws, culture and lax environmental regulations/enforcement, we've found that offering corporate welfare really gets the Corporation's attention.  Being able to enjoy the benefits of a state without having to pay for said benefits would really be ideal.  For example, Mississippi, taxing at 3-5%, is  headed in the right direction. A state like Minnesota, which taxes at 9.8%, clearly thinks far too highly of itself.* In fact, we have no clue why any corporation would headquarter in Minnesota.  None at all.  The decision makers at Target Corp., 3M Co., Medtronic, Best Buy Co. Inc., Thomson Reuters, United Health Group, U.S. Bancorp, Hormel Foods and of the other major corporations with headquarters in Minnesota must be nuts in the head.  But again we digress, our point here was simple: fewer taxes mean more corporations in your state.
We are, of course, still disappointed that states have not realized and met these criteria on their own.  It shows a certain amount of self-absorption that is really quite startling.  We feel that this tutorial will help you understand how you have gone wrong.  We will take the swiftness of the actions you take to rectify your failings into account when next assessing your states.  Don't get caught up on the accusatory hysteria of "corporate greed" and the selfish cries of "tax breaks for the middle class!"  Remember that this is simply the liberal media trying to test your faith in the Corporation.     
Also remember, the Corporation will always be working for you.
The Expo's Best Guess at
 Appearance of Corporate Overlords
Your Unnamed Corporate Overlords

* author note: Minnesota is consistently ranked in the top 5 of CQ Press's list of most livable states.  Mississippi has ranked 50th for 9 of the past 10 years; see

1 comment:

  1. I think there is room for reform in the tax scheme. Lower corporate taxes might actually be a part of the solution. This simple Wikipedia chart demonstrates that US corporate tax rates are well above average, far higher than our counterparts in Canada, Europe, and Australia. The Netherlands, for example, taxes corporations at a maximum of 25.5%, which is pretty common for all the countries that have prosperity indexes around or higher than the US.

    Even heavily taxed Denmark has lower corporate tax rates than the US. Not surprisingly, Denmark is considered the most innovative country in the world. Universal education and affordable higher education cuppled with a tax and legal scheme that encourages people to start a business seems to work, as does taxing the hell out of all forms of pollution and being willing to tax general consumption in exchange for the promise that no one goes starving or homeless.