business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the moves by Burger King to acquire Tim Horton's and move its corporate domicile to Canada as a way of cutting its corporate taxes, MNB reader Mark Raddant wrote:

I don’t think corporations are people or citizens.  And I don’t think they should be taxed at all, much less given  the right of Free Speech.  The capital gains of the ownership SHOULD pay income tax on their incomes, and at the same rates the rest of the workers pay taxes.  The difference in the amount the government receives from the current tax structure to the no-corporate tax structure should be borne by those with the highest incomes, who in essence have been having the corporations pay their taxes for them.  Since corporate revenues will go up by the amount left untaxed, the current income tax structure should make up the difference by taking the shareholders instead of the corporation.

From another reader:

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if Burger King were to announce they were substantially increasing their front-line employees’ wages with the money they are saving?

Yeah, right. These moves are made to line the pockets of management and shareholders. Nothing more, nothing less.

On the broader issue of whether "increasing shareholder value" ought to be a core corporate purpose, MNB reader Bob Bartels wrote:

Years ago, going through a GE training program, I was introduced to a key result area, “balancing the interests of the contributor claimants to a business”.  That would be shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers,  management and society in general (taxes are paid) or any others I left out.  This can be a tricky concept particular if one group is rewarded at the expense of the rest. I think this is in play with some of the distortions we have seen lately.

MNB reader Rich Heiland wrote:

Your "connect the dots" post made me re-visit some Peter Drucker. Some of his thoughts....seems to me if corporate leaders believed and lived these a lot of the train wrecks we see in corporations would be avoided…

Have a strong mission and a cogent answer to the deceptively difficult question, “What business are we in?”

Always remember that “there is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer” while accepting that “quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for.”

Push responsibility and accountability as far down into the organization as possible and follow this basic communications strategy: Listen down, talk up.

Embrace the fact that every organization develops people--“it either helps them grow or it stunts them”--and so you do everything you can to help them grow.

See innovation--that is, “change that creates a new dimension of performance”--as the responsibility of everyone in the enterprise, not just the R&D staff.

Regularly abandon things--products, policies, practices--that are no longer effective or are consuming an inordinate amount of resources when weighed against tomorrow’s opportunities.

Measure what can be measured and monitor what can’t, recognizing that good intentions are no substitute for performance and results.

Live by a core set of values, animated by the belief that an organization needs values “as a human body needs vitamins and minerals.”

Demonstrate social responsibility not simply by having a CSR department or donating to charity but by understanding that an organization is responsible for “whomever and whatever it touches.”

On another subject, one reader wrote:

In response to the plastic bag ban in California and being in the grocery industry, this is going to be a huge cost for the grocery business not to say raising prices to accommodate the cost of bags. California is so messed up that even a tube of toothpaste, in the box, that goes out of code is considered  hazardous waste and picked up by a company, sent to another state and incinerated. There is so many regulations that companies are having to raise prices because of the stupidity of the local government. This is typical  California legislation, if they would think before they do stupid things, California would be a better, more affordable place to live.

I suppose that there are a lot of things that could be done to make California more affordable. But to be honest, even as things are, it certainly would make my list of top-ten places to live.
KC's View: