Cory Booker on Corporations

Mayor of Newark; N.J. Senator; 2020 presidential contender (withdrawn)


We will enforce antitrust laws

Anybody that does not think that we have a massive crisis in our democracy with the way these tech companies are being used, not just in terms of anti-competitive practices, but also to undermine our democracy. We have seen it in the '16 election practices being used that have not been corrected now. We need regulation and reform. As president of the United States I will put people in place that enforce antitrust laws.
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

You can't separate corporate corruption from other issues

If I am your president, all of these issues--corporate corruption, campaign finance, agriculture, environmental justice--all of these things are interrelated. You can't separate them out. And so I'm going to be the president [who says], "when we talk about healthcare, let's not just talk about doctors and nurses. Let's talk about healthy food systems and the toxins that are in our food." I'll always be about the freedom to eat what you want, but we are going to have to make sure our government is not subsidizing the things that make us sick and unhealthy and hurt our environment. And then start to incentivize the practices that get farming and get agriculture and get the health of our communities back. We need to especially be looking at communities that are low income and vulnerable and investing in those communities so that they can have health and wellbeing as well.
Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

2012: as mayor, for two corporate HQs to move to Newark

Before he took office, investors had refrained from establishing any of their businesses in the city. During his tenure, two multi-million dollar companies moved their companies to the city, Audible.com and Panasonic N.A. There were also many buildings in the process of being built, & when his time as mayor ended, a financial organization was already building a tower there. As of 2011, the city reported an excess of $1 billion in real estate development. This was the highest reported figure in decades.
Source: The Democrats, by Alexander Moore, p.232 , Jul 9, 2019

Deal with corporate consolidation to let free market work

Q: Senator Warren put out a plan to break up tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. You've said we should not "be running around pointing at companies and breaking them up without any kind of process." Why do you disagree?

BOOKER: I don't think I disagree. I think we have a serious problem in our country with corporate consolidation. And you see the evidence of that in how dignity is being stripped from labor, and we have people that work full-time jobs and still can't make a living wage. One of the most aggressive bills in the Senate to deal with corporate consolidation is mine about corporate consolidation in the ag sector. So I feel very strongly about the need to check the corporate consolidation and let the free market work.

Q: But you did say that you didn't think it was right to name companies and single them out, as Senator Warren has.

BOOKER: I will single out companies like Halliburton or Amazon that pay nothing in taxes and our need to change that.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Enforce antitrust; president shouldn't decide targets

I don't care if it's Facebook, the pharma industry, even the agricultural industry. We've had a problem in America with corporate consolidation, that is having really ill effects. I will have a Justice Department that uses antitrust legislation to do the proper investigations and to hold industries accountable for corporate consolidation. I don't think that a president should be running around, pointing at companies and saying breaking them up without any kind of process here.
Source: ABC This Week 2019 interview of presidential hopefuls , May 12, 2019

Don't condemn high tech business; regulate them

On high tech regulation: "Why do we need to universally condemn entire sectors of our society, as opposed to creating regulations and rules that make sure that they are affirming what's in the best interest of our country?" Booker supports more regulation on privacy and security issues. He said too few companies control too much of the industry to expect them to self-regulate, and he criticized practices like contracting low-wage jobs, instead of providing corporate benefits to those workers.
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , Mar 7, 2019

SOAR Act: $25M for Startup Opportunity Accelerator

Sen. Cory Booker recently introduced the Startup Opportunity Accelerator, or SOAR, Act. The legislation would direct $25 million of funding over five years to a U.S. Small Business Administration program called the Growth Accelerator Fund. The program allows business startups to compete for funding to help their businesses grow.

The Growth Accelerator Fund helps companies to find new connections, new routes to investment, and new ideas and strategies to achieve their full potential. The SOAR Act also gives special consideration to applicants serving women and minority business owners.

"This program will stimulate our nation's entrepreneurial energy and spur economic growth in untapped areas," Sen. Booker said. "Over the past 17 years, the number of women-owned businesses in New Jersey has increased more than 48 percent and I'm looking forward to seeing that growth continue," Sen. Booker added. "With the SOAR Act, we'll be able to increase investments made in promising entrepreneurs."

Source: 2014 Press Release from Senate office booker.senate.gov , Sep 24, 2014

Lower corporate tax rate & close loopholes

Our corporate tax code offers a veritable menu of misplaced incentives and a high tax rate. But there is an alternative. Together, we can create a simple, dependable tax code that levels the playing field, creates jobs, and positions American businesses to lead the world. Any eventual solution should include the following:
Source: 2014 New Jersey Senate campaign website CoryBooker.com , Jul 1, 2014

Government procurement should promote women-owned business

I will make sure that the government contract procurement process promotes women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs, as well as fair pay.

I will follow the lead of the many courageous women who have helped achieve the progress we have made, and will do all I can to support their efforts to build a country in which gender does not impact how much you bring home in your paycheck, to what extent you control decisions about your health, or how far you're likely to go in your career.

Source: 2013-2014 New Jersey Senate campaign web CoryBooker.com , Nov 3, 2013

Fund minority businesses with KIVA microloans

We brought KIVA into Newark, which is a technological platform [for crowdsourcing microloans]. Small businesses would not need to get loans from banks anymore. We started off with Latina businesswomen who could not get a $5,000 loan from a traditional bank because she didn`t seem credit-worthy. But through an online platform, people like you and I can help to expand businesses in our city. And by the way, their repayment rates are as good or better than people that think banks are great. These are the things we can expand. But it actually has federal implications: How can we better start small businesses around our country? How can we go in creative ways to get access to capital in this bad economy?

So, from technology innovations to innovations around everything, things we have done in Newark, I hope to help inform federal policy. But from day one, I want to be helping folks around New Jersey in very pragmatic ways to get the support they need to start a business.

Source: 2013 Interview on NBC's Rachel Maddow Show , Oct 22, 2013

Attacks on private equity "nauseating"

What Booker's critics mainly take issue with are his associations. Exhibit A is always Booker's notorious appearance on Meet the Press in May 2012, in which he called the Obama campaign's attacks on private equity "nauseating" and pleaded for more civility in the campaign. Booker subsequently attempted to clarify that he supported the specific critiques of Mitt Romney's record that had been leveled, but for some liberals, the betrayal was complete and irreversible.

Booker has, it is true, raised plenty of money from Wall Street over the years. Of the $8.6 million he's raised for his Senate campaign, $531,000 came from the financial industry. This is hardly unique for a Democrat from New Jersey, a solidly blue state where many financial firms are headquartered. Booker's campaign has also drawn $700,000 in donations from Silicon Valley. The ties go beyond campaign support: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has donated $100 million to improve Newark's schools.

Source: The Atlantic, "Why Do Liberals Hate Booker," by Molly Ball, , Aug 23, 2013

Corporate campaign donors also helped rebuild Newark

Some see Booker as "a big-shot celebrity, a man who is using the mayor's office to build his own fame and wealth." His campaigns have been underwritten by Wall Street donors, many of whom otherwise give almost solely to Republicans. Unsurprisingly, the mayor has developed a finance-friendly view of the world. This became a matter of national controversy in May, when he called the Obama campaign's attacks on Bain Capital "nauseating". Critics pointed out that Booker had received hundreds of thousands in contributions from figures at Bain and other private-equity firms.

His connections have certainly helped get Newark back on its feet. This becomes clear as we drive down Bergen Street: After the riots, it became an alley of boarded-over storefronts and vacant lots. With new business investment, the area is showing signs of life, albeit of a more suburban kind: There's an Applebee's, an AutoZone, and a multiplex, which Booker was intent on siting close to the sidewalk, to encourage pedestrian traffic.

Source: Vogue magazine profile, "Local Hero Cory Booker" , Dec 19, 2012

Predatory lending & unchecked avarice destabilized economy

American economic might [stands] strong on the bedrock of the American ideal: a strong, empowered and ever-growing middle class. Our platform emphasizes that a vibrant, free and fair market is essential to economic growth.

We also must pull from our highest ideals of justice and protect against those ills that destabilized our economy--like predatory lending, over-leveraged financial institutions and the unchecked avarice of the past that trumped fairness and common sense.

Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 4, 2012

Supports Women, Minority and Small Business Assistance

Booker Supports Women, Minority and Small Business Assistance: My goal in 2011 is to empower even more Newark entrepreneurs to realize their dreams. Brick City Development Corporation (BCDC) has proposed a new small business program with loans of up to $150,000 to women, minorities, and small business who seek to grow and expand. And we will start a new effort to help small, minority contractors break into the construction industry.
Source: Fifth Annual State of the City Address 2011 , Mar 1, 2011

Deregulating banks encourages discriminatory practices.

Booker voted NAY Banking Bill

Congressional Summary:

Supporting press release from Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-6): This legislation will foster economic growth by providing relief to Main Street, tailor regulations for better efficacy, and most importantly it will empower individual Americans and give them more opportunity.

Opposing statement on ProPublica.org from Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY-5): The bill includes many provisions I support: minority-owned banks and credit unions in underserved communities have legitimate regulatory burden concerns. Unfortunately, exempting mortgage disclosures enacted to detect discriminatory practices will only assist the Trump Administration in its overall effort to curtail important civil rights regulations. I simply cannot vote for any proposal that would help this Administration chip away at laws that I and my colleagues worked so hard to enact and preserve.

Legislative outcome: Passed House 258-159-10 on May 22, 2018(Roll call 216); Passed Senate 67-31-2 on March 14, 2018(Roll call 54); Signed by President Trump. May 24, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 16-S2155 on Mar 14, 2018

Reducing tax rates balloons federal deficit & cuts programs.

Booker voted NAY Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Summary by GovTrack.US: (Nov 16, 2017)

Case for voting YES by Heritage Foundation (12/19/17):This is the most sweeping update to the US tax code in more than 30 years. The bill would lower taxes on businesses and individuals and unleash higher wages, more jobs, and untold opportunity through a larger and more dynamic economy. The bill includes many pro-growth features, including a deep reduction in the corporate tax rate, a scaled-back state and local tax deduction, full expensing for five years, and lower individual tax rates.

Case for voting NO by Sierra Club (11/16/17): Republicans have passed a deeply regressive tax plan that will result in painful cuts to core domestic programs, to give billionaires and corporate polluters tax cuts while making American families pay the price. Among the worst provisions:

  • This plan balloons the federal deficit by over $1.5 trillion. Cutting taxes for the rich now means cuts to the federal budget and entitlements later.
  • The bill hampers the booming clean energy economy by ending tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles and for wind and solar energy.
  • The bill opens up the Arctic Refuge to drilling, a thinly veiled giveaway to the fossil fuel industry.

    Legislative outcome: Passed House, 224-201-7, roll call #699 on 12/20; passed Senate 51-48-1, roll call #323 on 12/20; signed by Pres. Trump on 12/22.

    Source: Congressional vote 17-HR1 on Nov 16, 2017

    Restrict corporate use of consumer mandatory arbitration.

    Booker signed restricting corporate use of consumer mandatory arbitration

    Excerpts from Letter from 35 Senators to the CFPB: We write to commend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for its proposed rule to limit the use of mandatory, pre-dispute ("forced") arbitration clauses in consumer financial product and service contracts. Every day, Americans across the country are forced to sign away their constitutional right to access the courts as a condition of purchasing common products and services like credit cards, checking accounts, and private student loans. Binding arbitration is a privatized justice system that studies show consistently produces results that favor large corporations and offers no meaningful appeals process. As a result, consumers are left without redress, and companies are unaccountable for their unscrupulous behavior.

    Opposing freedom argument: (Cato Institute, "ATLA monopoly," May 2002): The trial lawyers new goal is to tighten their monopoly grip on the court system, and prevent the rest of us from choosing a more efficient means of resolving our disputes. Arbitration is simply private court. Lawyers with a vested interest in a monopoly court system are trying to stop the arbitration business from developing. But there's nothing forced or mandatory about it. Contracts are the result of choice. People should be free to choose for themselves what contracts to make and what rights to give up.

    Opposing economic argument: (Heritage Foundation, "The Unfair Attack on Arbitration," July 17, 2013): Any study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should examine whether a limit on arbitration would:

    Source: Letter to CFPB Director 17LTR-CFPB on Aug 4, 2016

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