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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Starbucks steps in to do politicans' jobs

A $5 donation gets you a patriotic wristband
  • A $5 donation gets you a patriotic wristband
Speaking of coffee (see posts below), Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has announced a plan to help create jobs by asking his customers for donations to support a privately run organization that helps finance small business ventures. Give $5 and get a flashy wristband and a good feeling.

Some critics have accused the mega-corporation of hypocrisy in that it has put many independent coffee shops out of business. But Joe Nocera, writing in the New York Times, argues convincingly that it's an admirable undertaking in light of the fact that our own elected representatives won't lift a finger to help create jobs.

The hope is to raise enough money to support $350 million worth of lending. Starbucks itself has made a $5 million donation. The cynical further note that while that's a high price for advertising, there aren't many companies that can garner enough good press to land an endorsement on the Times' editorial page. But, honestly, as Nocera writes, Americans have few alternatives these days:

Schultz is hoping to convince other national retail chains to participate as well — so that Starbucks isn’t the only place people can join in the effort. And, of course, he is hoping that Starbucks customers will flock to it in droves.

So am I. With the government and banks unwilling or unable, it’s time we took matters into our own hands. At this point, who else can we count on?

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