Friday Feedback: Bezos and Biden
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Its Friday, so a little feedback—mainly to yesterday’s post saying Jeff Bezos is the only big company CEO throwing his support behind Biden’s infrastructure and tax plan.
Here’s what R.B. had to say:
Jeff Bezos—who built a trillion-dollar empire by avoiding all kinds of taxes that the competition was paying, giving him a competitive advantage—is now in favor of taxing other companies more? Surprise, surprise.”
But Y.T.C. would like to see more CEOs following Bezos:
“(The fact that) only Amazon supports Biden’s infrastructure tax demonstrates that the (Business) Roundtable stakeholder business statement is only lip service. Infrastructure serves not only average people, but also big corporations. Yet, no more support from big companies. (That) just says it all about the stakeholder pledge.”
“I.M.O., nothing screams ‘we’ve lost our way’ as much as individuals like Joe Manchin commanding so much political power. I mean, West Virginia? Is that the model for how to do things in America?”
And E.K. proposes a more radical tax overhaul, holding corporate taxes to “an internationally agreed up minimum,” and then…
“…eliminating all deductions for individuals and for-profit organizations. ALL deductions. Corporate. Personal. Whatever. (I’m thinking that would raise federal revenues significantly, as well as a ruckus.)”
For more on that last option, I recommend Showdown at Gucci Gulch—which is still in print, 35 years later.
More news below.
Amazon workers' union push in Bessemer, Alabama is in its final stretch, with counting resuming this morning. Early indications suggest most workers will have rejected the union. Meanwhile, it turns out Amazon got the USPS to install a special postbox on their premises to collect union votes; labor organizers are calling it an illegal ballot dropbox that was intended to intimidate workers. Fortune
GM and Ford are temporarily idling production, or extending shutdowns, at several of their North American plants. It's all because of the global chip shortage, which deprives them of parts they need for everything from infotainment to braking systems. CNBC
Procter & Gamble has been working with Chinese trade groups and tech firms, and the state-backed China Advertising Association, to develop a new way for tracking iPhone users once Apple institutes its new privacy controls. Apple's changes will force app developers and ad networks to get users' consent before tracking their activity across apps and the web, but the new technique could bypass those controls—a showdown is probably looming. Wall Street Journal
Caution over the deployment of AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine—due to its possible link with very rare but dangerous blood clots—is spreading. New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, has temporarily suspended its use. Indian regulators are also looking into the matter, and will reportedly issue a report next week. Reuters
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
The British government is facing a cronyism crisis, after it emerged that—after being lobbied by former Prime Minister David Cameron—Chancellor Rishi Sunak "pushed" officials to consider ways in which Greensill Capital could gain access to the state's pandemic corporate support program last year. Sunak's integrity is now being questioned, though he claims he followed the correct procedures. Fortune
Germany's vaccination drive has finally stepped up, with general practitioners this week gaining the ability to administer COVID jabs. Wednesday saw the daily total leap by 290,000, reaching a record 656,000 doses. Yesterday the total was 720,000. That's the good news; the bad news is that the third wave's continuing rise will require a stronger lockdown, perhaps including nighttime curfews. Deutsche Welle
The B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus—commonly known as the U.K. variant—now accounts for more than a quarter of COVID cases in the U.S., and is the most common version in the country now. The South African and Brazilian variants are also gathering steam. Luckily, the vaccines are still effective against all these mutations, but the variants are fast-spreading and they hit younger people harder than the original strain. Washington Post
Coinbase's direct listing is imminent, so Fortune's Shawn Tully takes you through the important lessons lying in its just-released Q1 results. In short, Coinbase's returns are of the order that Wall Street seldom sees…but there's a big dependency on the price of Bitcoin. Fortune
This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.