Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam lashed out at Bernie Sanders following his statements in New York’s Washington Square Park. Hours after Sanders’ participation at the strike alongside Verizon employees, McAdam reacted to the senator’s speech. Sanders called out Verizon for being a poster child for greed. He acknowledged the union members because, despite the price they might have to pay for their decision, they still chose to “stand up for dignity.”
“I take my hat off to CWA [Communication Workers of America]. They are standing up to a greedy corporation that want to cut their healthcare benefits, send decent paid jobs abroad and then propose $25 million a year to their CEO. Verizon is just the poster child for what so many of our corporations are doing today.”
However, McAdam found the accusations inaccurate. Through a LinkedIn entry titled “Feeling the Bern of Reality – The Facts about Verizon and the Moral Economy,” McAdam expressed his displeasure to Sanders’ “ignorant” and “contemptible” views. He said that over the past two years, Verizon has paid a total of $15.6 billion worth of taxes – a rate he claimed to be 35 percent.
The chairman supported his claims with figures to show that, contrary to Sanders’ views, Verizon has been helping the U.S. in various ways. McAdam went on to mention Verizon’s contribution to Sanders’ home state.
“Sen. Sanders also claims that Verizon doesn’t use its profits to benefit America. Again, a look at the facts says otherwise. In the last two years, Verizon has invested some $35 billion in infrastructure — virtually all of it in the U.S. — and paid out more than $16 billion in dividends to the millions of average Americans who invest in our stock. In Sanders’s home state of Vermont alone, Verizon has invested more than $16 million in plant and equipment.”
McAdam feels that candidates find it easy to blame big companies for the country’s economic situation. He added that aspirants for the country’s highest position must always support their claims with facts.
“I understand that rhetoric gets heated in a Presidential campaign. I also get that big companies are an easy target for candidates looking for convenient villains for the economic distress felt by many of our citizens. But when rhetoric becomes disconnected from reality, we’ve crossed a dangerous line. We deserve better from people aspiring to be President. At the very least, we should demand that candidates base their arguments on the facts even when they don’t fit their campaign narratives.”
Sanders, who has emerged victorious from the previous seven out of eight caucuses and primaries, warns America’s corporate giants that they “cannot have it all.” Apart from Verizon, he previously used General Electric and Walmart as examples of corporations demonstrating corporate greed.
As per Sanders, private sectors are becoming wealthier and one major reason is the low wages that they pay to employees. He said that many are forced to rely on food stamps to make ends meet.
GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt also defended his company through a Linkedin post. He refuted Sanders’ statement that GE was destroying America’s moral fabric. He said that GE’s employees, suppliers, and partners are proud of the company’s history and hard work – things Immelt believes are the real moral fabric of the country.
In response, Sanders claimed that he wouldn’t ask for McAdam and Immelt’s support.
I don’t want the support of McAdam, Immelt and their friends in the billionaire class. I welcome their contempt. https://t.co/OIiykGeHQT— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 13, 2016
He added that what he’s after is for these powerful men to “stop destroying the jobs of their employees and start investing in cities like Buffalo and Baltimore.”
[Image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images News]