It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that most liberals with a severe opinion of corporate America are primarily on the left-wing extremist end of things. But their voices are heard, nonetheless, and help to further expand the gap between left and right.
I recently posted to my social media page a paraphrased quote from a conservative business owner expressing her outrage over a liberal commentary on how businesses shamelessly promote themselves to generate sales. Her response was as follows, “Liberal bleeding hearts always seem to hate corporate America, right up until they want money for something.” Needless to say, the woman’s comment was not taken well by some of my liberal Facebook friends.
Regardless of how they want to think of themselves, liberal-based non-profits are, in fact, corporations in business. Although the term “non-profit” could be debated in many respects, they are still in business to create a product that generates revenue and pays salaries. In fact, they pay employees very well. The current CEO of National Public Radio pulls in about $1.4 million a year, a number that the network’s news commentators would likely find deplorable were it related to a commercial business chief.
So, how does one respond to a conservative business person who remarks, “If I advertise my business then the liberals call me vulgar? But it’s perfectly acceptable for them to go on TV and beg for money to keep their non-profit going. Why is that ok?” Seems like a simple question, but the answer is a bit more complex.
Corporate advertisers are regularly accused of manipulating consumers into buying. At the same time, non-profits (typically liberal causes or organizations) are just as manipulative when asking for “member support,” or however they decide to word it. Is there a difference? Not really. It’s actually more about perspective.
Liberal non-profit heads will argue that what they do is for a greater good; people helping people, and so on. At the same time, they will accuse the conservative business owner of being interested only in turning a profit and getting rich. He, in turn, will refute the charge, saying that he’s offering a quality product for a premium price and doesn’t need to “guilt” anyone into handing over their money, all while employing people and keeping the economy going.
Mr. Conservative Business Man will also add to his statement that several times a year some non-profit knocks on his door wanting a handout, to which he responds with a nice, fat check. No one loses. People are employed, consumers get what they want – and if they didn’t want it, there’d be no product – all while the non-profit gets to keep its doors open.
The truth is, non-profits could not exist without big business. It just can’t be done. The majority of money given to public charities and social causes, as well as larger efforts like PBS, all comes from big business or charitable trusts created from successful corporate endeavors. To argue that people in corporate America make “too much money,” is also ridiculous, since the majority of U.S. companies are classified as small business, owned by middle-class people.
Several of the arguments against the Facebook quote I noted earlier focused on what one poster called, “a certain political persuasion speaking in absolutes,” and she couldn’t have been more accurate. This entire concept is based on black and white vision with no gray areas of mutual understanding. Fortunately, most people who are successful, either in business or non-profit management, understand that both have to co-exist to survive.
Corporate America has the responsibility to help those less fortunate but to do that they first have to be successful and self-sufficient. Simultaneously, non-profits have a responsibility to balance needs with wants and manage both budgets accordingly. We all have to do the best we can and work together so there will be good jobs, sustainable social programs and a strong economy.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business contributor to WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton program. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.