America's love affair with business is strong, according to the latest Public Affairs Council's pulse survey, but the relationship may sour due to corporate greed. Hello, inversions.
PAC found more than eight-in-ten (84 percent) view US-headquartered companies either very or somewhat favorably.
Americans are less in love with foreign companies as only 37 percent get good favorability rankings.
The public does prefer small companies to large ones by a 91 percent to 69 percent margin. But Big Business' ratings are on the way up as evidence by favorability ratings rising nine points since 2013.
Americans, however, they are less in awe of the private sector's performance on job creation, pay and environmental protection.
There is a strong demand for Big Business to play a larger role in social issues.
Wilderness protection is the top category, cited by 73 percent of the respondents.
People want companies to speak out racial discrimination (62 percent), gender bias (62 percent), climate change (57 percent), human rights (53 percent), immigration (53 percent) and gay marriage (31 percent). [Sixty-five percent want the private sector to stay out of the gay marriage debate.]
The recent wave of companies re-incorporating overseas to escape US taxes may pose a threat to the public's love affair with business.
The New York Times reported recent inversions will rob the Treasury $20B in taxes over the next decade.
Politically hobbled President Obama says he wants to fiddle with the tax code to put an end to the inversions. Stronger action is necessary.
High-profile outings of inversion candidates would be a better way to end the flight overseas, which strains the public coffers.
Consumer-facing companies would think twice about stiffing their customers by denying Uncle Sam money that makes the country hum.
Walgreens, which had considered an inversion opportunity provided by its merger with UK's Boots, thought better of it.
CEO Greg Wasson issued this statement on Aug. 6.
"We took into account all factors, including that we could not arrive at a structure that provided the company and our board with the requisite level of confidence that a transaction of this significance would need to withstand extensive IRS review and scrutiny. As a result the company concluded it was not in the best long-term interest of our shareholders to attempt to re-domicile outside the U.S. The board did, however, believe accelerating the option to exercise Step 2 was in the best interest of our shareholders, and with this decision, we are now moving forward on an accelerated basis to create the global leader in pharmacy-led health and wellbeing.”
Good reading of public opinion, Greg.