If you only read the quote in this question, it may be difficult to understand what Biden meant in his July 9 speech. But if you read or listen to the speech, it’s really not that difficult. Here’s the relevant section of the speech. “And it’s time corporate America paid their fair share of taxes. We thought in our administration we should lower the tax in the high 30s to 28%, [inaudible 00:14:46] lowered it to 21, I’m going to raise it back up to 28, provide hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in the growth of this country. And the days of Amazon paying nothing in federal income tax will be over. Let’s make sure their workers have a power and a voice, it’s way past time we put an end to the era of shareholder capitalism. The idea the only responsibility a corporation has is with shareholders, that’s simply not true, it’s an absolute farce. They have responsibility to their workers, their community, to their country. That isn’t a new or radical notion, these are basic values and principles that helped build this nation in the first instance.” The phrase comes from a Business Round-table conference in Aug 2019 at which “181 of the nation’s top CEOs agreed that driving shareholder value is no longer their sole business objective.” I’ve added a link to a summary and the full text of the statement below.
I believe what he actually and really mean is that he wants an end to the era of exclusive shareholder capitalism, where all the shareholders get all the best loafs of bread while employees get merely the leftovers. The era of capitalism lifting all boats were respectively, between 1951 to 1963(I think it started to decline once LBJ decided to put in more resources into Vietnam and the Great society programs; wars are mostly very costly enterprises); and during the Clinton years(at least for the most part; the internet bubble didn’t lift all boats). That’s what Biden was probably trying to refer to, but he didn’t put it in clearer terms that articulate what he and his economic advisers really meant. So to put that in clearer terms…if you’re just an employee working for an American company, whether your employer is a large global corporation, or just a small company that has 5 branches in one or two states, then as an employee who has done a lot of above average work, its not just your company director benefiting through the capital he owns in the company, it would also include you even when you don’t own shares. You just get paid more in performance bonuses, additional allowances; get better employee benefits, and more paid leave(annual; parental & maternity; medical & compassionate).
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