Bernie Sanders welcomes the contempt of American CEOs

Lowell McAdam, the CEO of Verizon published an open letter on Linked In Wednesday criticizing Bernie Sanders as “disconnected from reality” and “contemptible.” McAdam explained his letter was a follow up to another letter criticizing Sanders’ views by GE’s Jeff Immelt.


I read with interest Jeff Immelt’s spirited response to Sen. Bernie Sanders putting GE on his hit-list of big corporations that are “destroying the moral fabric” of America.

In fact, I share his frustration. Verizon is in Sanders’s bull’s-eye, as well. The senator’s uninformed views are, in a word, contemptible. Here’s why.

His first accusation – that Verizon doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes – is just plain wrong. As our financial statements clearly show, we’ve paid more than $15.6 billion in taxes over the last two years – that’s a 35% tax rate in 2015, for anyone who’s counting…


Verizon is one of the top 3 capital investors in all corporate America. Our investment has built wireless and fiber networks that deliver high-quality services, create high-tech jobs and form the infrastructure for the innovation economy of the 21st century.

I challenge Sen. Sanders to show me a company that’s done more to invest in America than Verizon.

The letter continues with an attack on Sanders’ line about a “moral economy”:

Sen. Sanders speaks of a “moral economy” for America – one that respects and maintains the dignity inherent in good, middle-class jobs. He seems to think that can only happen by ignoring the transformational forces reshaping the communications industry. But nostalgia for the rotary phone era won’t save American jobs, any more than ignoring the global forces reshaping the auto industry saved the Detroit auto makers.

We’re determined not to find ourselves in that same boat.


Finally the letter concludes suggesting Sanders’ attacks are dangerous:

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.

According to Yahoo News, Sanders tweeted his response to Immelt and McAdam saying, “I don’t want the support of McAdam, Immelt and their friends in the billionaire class. I welcome their contempt.” However that tweet seems to have been deleted. Still in Sanders’ timeline were these tweets:


Earlier Wednesday, Sanders was greeted like a rock star when he joined a Verizon workers strike in Brooklyn:

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