Steven Korman’s Open Letter to CEOs

The following idiotic “open letter” advertisement ran in last Sunday’s New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirier, and other newspapers:

Dear CEOs:

I have listened to the executives of many companies say that they are eliminating thousands of jobs to “improve the bottom line.”

I own stock in many of these companies and would prefer that the company make a smaller profit and the stock fall, in the short term, rather than affect the lives of our neighbors and their families as jobs are lost.

Please join me in reminding all CEOs that we are not just dealing with numbers and profit, but with real people and real families who need to keep their jobs.

Please keep your employees working.

Steven H. Korman
CEO and Chairman of the Board
Korman Communities
kormancommunities.com

Apparently he’s also sending this letter to CEOs of major companies. May I wear my snark hat and write a reply?

Dear Mr. Korman:

Your ad positions you as a nice guy. Someone who cares about his community and people. Heck, your company name even has the word “community” in it — how cool is that? As you probably hoped for, people are praising this letter as an example of good corporate citizenship.

But alas your heart warming message cannot mask the brutal but necessary ways of markets. Let’s parse your plea sentence by sentence.

I have listened to the executives of many companies say that they are eliminating thousands of jobs to “improve the bottom line.”

Why do you put quotes around “improve the bottom line”? Are you skeptical that this is the real reason? Do you believe these capitalist monsters simply prefer to cut jobs? Hint: they’re cutting 10% of jobs so they do not have to cut 100% of jobs.

I own stock in many of these companies and would prefer that the company make a smaller profit and the stock fall, in the short term, rather than affect the lives of our neighbors and their families as jobs are lost.

Tell me, how does a stock fall and profit shrink in the “short term”? What happens in the long term? When the company cares again about profit, what happens to the neighbors and families? Or should companies never care about profit?

Please join me in reminding all CEOs that we are not just dealing with numbers and profit, but with real people and real families who need to keep their jobs.

Yes. I also “need” a billion dollars. Anyway, please join me in reminding all sentient beings that companies which do not generate those pesky numbers and profit do not survive, and when companies do not survive, the people who work there lose their jobs.

Please keep your employees working.

Good point. How about the government just employ all of us? Then everyone can keep working!

Yours earnestly,

Benedict

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