Starbucks’ CEO Takes On Political and Economic Gridlock In Washington

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, wants to see American on an Upward Spiral.

Like so many of you, I am deeply disappointed by the pervasive failure of leadership in Washington. And also like you, I am frustrated by our political leaders’ steadfast refusal to recognize that, for every day they perpetuate partisan conflict and put ideology over country, America and Americans suffer from the combined effects of paralysis and uncertainty. Americans can’t find jobs. Small businesses can’t get credit. And the fracturing of consumer confidence continues.

We are better than this.

Shultz has convinced more than 100 business leaders to join him in a two-part pledge:

First, to withhold political campaign contributions until a transparent, comprehensive, bipartisan debt-and-deficit package is reached that honestly, and fairly, sets America on a path to long-term financial health and security. Second, to do all we can to break the cycle of economic uncertainty that grips our country by committing to accelerate investment in jobs and hiring.

According to The Seattle Times, Starbucks cut 39,000 jobs between September 2008 and September 2010, but has hired 36,000 people in the U.S. and Canada since January and expects to hire 70,000 more in the U.S. over the next six to 12 months.

I like to see people of means taking action to help the people of this nation, but I’m curious about how this type of advocacy can change one’s perception of the brand. Is Starbucks a company to buy from because they care? Or do you just like the coffee?

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I think Howard is a man of action and is expressing a sentiment that is pretty popular at this point. 

    I know Washington is often a place for juvenile vitriol, but at the moment is particularly bad. I don’t think it can hurt the Starbucks brand (or America at large for that mater), for a prominent business person advocating a populist, but sensible sentiment that can only raise awareness of how counterproductive both parties have been of late.