Verizon CEO to Bernie: You don't know what you're talking about, bro

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Thursday April 14th, 2016

How fact-checking would work if the media was actually serious about it.

If Donald Trump makes a statement about something that is clearly and demonstrably at odds with the facts, do you think the media will wait even five seconds to tell you about it? Or Ted Cruz for that matter?

But when Bernie Sanders goes around railing on corporations for "not paying their fair share" or "not helping America," when was the last time you saw a news report delving into the numbers to determine if his bluster was actually true? You won't. So it's left to CEOs themselves to publicly correct the record. You want to know one of the reasons the dinosaur media types don't like social media? It's because they people they ignore in their coverage now have a platform to talk to you without going through the dinosaurs, and they don't like it one bit.

Last week, GE CEO Jeff Immelt took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal with an op-ed ripping Sanders a new one for his complete ignorance about business and economics. Today, Verizon CEO Logan McAdams used LinkedIn to take his turn, as well he should because Sanders had joined the picket line of Verizon employees offering some pretty insane grievances:

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. . . . The senator has started to fudge his language—talking of taxes not paid in some unspecified “given year”—but that doesn’t make his contention any less false.

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.

Sanders spews such ignorance on a daily basis for four reasons:

1. He knows nothing about how business works.

2. His followers know nothing about how busineess works.

3. The media who cover Sanders know politics but know nothing about how business works.

4. The CEOs who do know how business works are afraid to take on a politician who is ignorant but gets fawning coverage from the media. Or they were until recently.

By the way, Sanders joined the picket line with workers in Verizon's land-line telephone service division. They're upset because the company doesn't want to be obligated to keep hiring in that area when it obviously offers little-to-no growth or profit potential. It isn't even a matter of a wage or benefit dispute, as the WSJ explains in an editorial today. Verizon just wants the flexibility to focus its future hiring in more profitable areas. This is what both Bernie and Hillary attacking as corporate greed.

If the employees in question are banking their future job security on the right to perform a function that doesn't make money for their employer, they're in trouble. And if they think marching on a picket line and being joined by blowhard politicians is going to make this proposition work better for them, they're in even bigger trouble.

You only have job security when the work you do is profitable for your employer. If it's not, what'd you do if you're smart is ask for the chance to apply your talents in a more profitable area. These guys don't know enough to do that, and the Democrat presidential candidates don't know enough to tell them they should.

But then, why would anyone expect them to when, as McAdam clearly points out, they don't know anything about business to begin with?

This idiotic "fact-checking" web sites, if they were really serious, would check Sanders' attacks on American businesses against facts like those McAdam presents here. But they don't, so CEOs like McAdam have to do it themselves. Fortunately, the platform by which to do so is now readily available to them.

Get your copy of Herman Cain’s new book, The Right Problems, here!