End the Corporate Health Care Tax


This post is by Mark R. Kramer from HBR.org


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Imagine if a single piece of legislation could effectively eliminate all U.S. corporate taxes, subsidize hundreds of millions of dollars in new corporate investment, increase the take-home pay of most U.S. employees, ease state and local budgets, and reduce the U.S. trade deficit — all without increasing the federal budget.

It sounds completely impossible, but it is not: All we have to do is put aside the moral and political debates about Obamacare and recognize our health care system for what it is: a burdensome and unnecessary tax on corporate America.

U.S. companies pay $327 billion in income taxes, but they pay $1.1 trillion — more than three times as much — in health insurance costs. No other OECD country imposes anything close to such a heavy “health care tax” on its businesses. Eliminating this tax by shifting all responsibility to the federal government

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The Right Way for Companies to Publicize Their Social Responsibility Efforts


This post is by Mark R. Kramer from HBR.org


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Stephen Smith for HBR

“Why don’t we get credit for all the good things we do?” the CEO of a major global corporation asked me recently. After all, the company has innovative and impactful programs to ensure safe working conditions; training programs to help low-wage workers in its supply chain increase their earnings; numerous environmental initiatives to reduce its use of water, energy, and raw materials; diversity and volunteering programs for employees; and a foundation that makes generous contributions both locally and globally. Yet no one seems to notice.

It’s a common complaint. Companies keep trying to show the world that they are socially conscious and keep losing the battle. Anheuser-Busch and Hyundai even devoted this year’s Super Bowl ads to lauding their philanthropic efforts with decidedly mixed responses. Critics questioned Hyundai’s decision to spend $5 million to advertise the $15 million donated to its Hope on Wheels program

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How Big Business Created the Politics of Anger


This post is by Mark R. Kramer from HBR.org


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Companies are not squarely to blame for the anger and frustration that have so warped this presidential primary season. Nor are they entirely innocent. The growing economic inequality that polarizes U.S. politics is not merely the inevitable result of our free-market system; it is also a consequence of the choices our business leaders make. And those choices have contributed to the anti-business attitude that both parties have embraced.

Blatant examples of illegal and immoral behavior, such as Volkswagen’s emissions test cheating and Takata’s fatal airbags, are one part of the problem. These are not U.S. companies, but their wrongdoing affected millions of U.S. consumers and certainly fueled some of the frustration that drives the current political climate in America.

A far greater factor is U.S.-based companies using questionable corporate practices that are entirely legal. When Disney compels its employees to train lower-paid foreign replacements before being laid

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