“Corporations,”, now-Sen. Mitt Romney once said, “are people, my friend.”
The Utah Republican’s words, uttered in 2011 during the presidential campaign, made for plenty of attack fodder for then-President Barack Obama and liberal pundits.
Romney’s ill-worded point was that corporate earnings ultimately benefit people, including employees and shareholders.
That said, accordingly, Romney could have added that companies only have political interests to try to protect what goes to the people who rely on them for profits.
But that pendulum has swung far to the left, as now corporations, as shown most clearly by Disney, react to the political climate in a way that has nothing to do with how they conduct business.
In the specific case of Disney, a former top CEO says the entertainment giant should dump Bob Chapek, its CEO, for putting the company in its current precarious position: scorned as a protector of potential perverts and facing the loss of its 55-year-old home rule status.
Ed Rensi, who ran McDonald’s from 1991 to 1997, told Fox News on Friday, “In my opinion, the chief legal officer of Disney should be fired. The CEO ought to be fired because they entered into an area without thought and care.”
“The people of Florida are not ignorant,” he added. “Nowhere in that bill — and I’ve read the bill — does it say the word ‘gay’ anywhere. This is a parents’ rights bill to make sure that their children aren’t exposed to sexual material before they’re mature enough to handle it. I think that’s reasonable.”
Yet Rensi seeks to do more.
He’s assembled some other groups to create The Boardroom Initiative, or TBI, which Fox described as “a coalition with a mission to push back against U.S. corporations whose boardrooms are becoming too political.”
Rensi will chair the TBI, and be joined by The Job Creators Network, a group founded by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, and two other conservative activist organizations: The Free Enterprise Group and Second Vote. “Their stated goal,” Fox noted, “to defend shareholders and employees of public companies from ‘woke’ policies and ensure corporate accountability.”
“Corporations have no business being on the right or the left because they represent everybody there and their sole job is to build equity for their investors,” Rensi told Fox.
Echoing the late conservative economist Milton Friedman, who said a corporation’s only duty was to shareholders, Rensi told Fox, “It is not the providence of board members or executives that take shareholder money profit and spend it on social matters. Corporations should not get involved in social engineering.”
“The fact of the matter is boards of directors and executives of a company work for the shareholders. Their duty is to increase profit in sales in a good way so that shareholders benefit, so they get dividends and additional stock and the company can grow,” Rensi said.
Disney’s special tax district will be repealed in 2023 under a new law signed today by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis and GOP lawmakers worked to strip the company of that perk after Disney said it would advocate overturning the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits school districts and classroom teachers from implementing lesson plans in grades K-3 centered on sexual orientation or gender identity.