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OPINION

Here Comes Hillary

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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There is no doubt that bad actors in business are opening up capitalism to the kind of attacks that have lurked in the wings for decades. Mylan Labs and Wells Fargo have behaved in ways that go beyond trying to bolster the bottom line, but I don’t think they represent American business and capitalism.

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Hillary Clinton, however, has taken their headline-making news as the battering ram to get to her ultimate goal.  I continue to warn that Hillary Clinton is part of the Conscious Capitalism movement, which aims to rewrite the rules of profit-driven enterprises.  

On Monday, her comments in Akron, Ohio, mirrored the so-called foundation principles of the conscious capitalism that businesses benefit from, including:

  • Workers
  • Customers
  • Communities
  • Country

Back in 2013, the poster child for conscious capitalism put these principles to the test by going public, thumbing its nose at traditional business models and thumbing in one’s eye, the Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman in their prospectus:

"We know our employee-first mantra defies conventional business wisdom, most famously expressed by the late American economist Milton Friedman.  Milton said the only reason a corporation exists is to maximize the return of the shareholder.

Well, with all due respect to Milton, at The Container Store we have found that if you take better care of the employees than anybody else, they really will take better care of the customers than anybody else."

The company listed in importance its focus of business:

  • Employers
  • Workers
  • Customers
  • Communities

The Container Store (TCS) went public with an $18.00 IPO and soon found its shares changing hands at $44.50 up 150%.  Since then, it’s been a boulder crashing to earth as earnings reports continually miss Wall Street consensus.

The one element to this equation is that Hillary Clinton continues to angle for, is the inclusion of a line on income statements before taxes. Now linking patriotism to paying taxes and noting “America” is the most important asset on balance sheets, Clinton is making the pitch that companies actually owe profits to the nation.

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I am surprised more analysts aren’t speaking out on this obvious grab for the biggest honeypot of cash in the world sitting on corporate balance sheets, thereafter becoming a pipeline of cash.

Market

It was a tough start to the fourth quarter as stocks grappled for direction all session long.  Mixed economic data set the tone as the September ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) actually beat consensus with a read of 51.5.  Overall, the report was paced by strong increases in new orders and production. And employment, while higher, is still in contraction mode.

ISM Manufacturing

Report

Change

New Orders

51.5

+6.0%

Production

52.8

+3.2%

Employment

49.7

+1.5%

However, to put this report in perspective, the all-time high read of 77.5 came in July 1950; arguably it’s when America was at its peak dominance in the global economy.

 

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