| Get the Picture

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The numbers tell the story of the U.S. economy for the last two months: More than 100,000 small businesses lost. Retail sales down nearly 18%. More than 36 million unemployed

These numbers also show how the economic fallout from the pandemic is hitting small businesses that often serve as the heart of our communities. Neighborhood restaurants, art galleries, bookstores, and other shops now are facing uncertain futures due to a pay-to-play system favoring large corporations and special interests that influence policy with big-dollar political donations.

While global crises like the COVID-19 pandemic are difficult to plan for, a distorted economic system that fosters pay-to-play politics and enables big corporations to use their political influence to push their way to the front of the line also hinders the way our economy manages and recovers from crises. 

That is among the reasons why business leaders from across the country, with experience in small, midsize and large corporate businesses, are all coming together as part of the Business for American Promise network to advance an amendment that will level the playing field and encourage innovation and create an environment for long-term economic growth. To further amplify the voices of these citizens—including the 58 million-plus Americans who work at small and midsize businesses—we are uniting socially responsible business leaders in nonpartisan advocacy for the 28th Amendment.

We’re thrilled to see more business leaders making an impact by signing the Statement of Principle for Business Professionals, including Peter Schwartz, an internationally renowned futurist and business strategist, whose article highlighted below reminds us to envision an economy where the rules apply to everyone rather than benefit the ultra-wealthy. As Peter says, “today’s rules of the political game make it impossible for either government or business to take the long view,” instead rewarding short-term decisions that weaken the marketplace and our democracy. 

Especially now, when most business owners are dealing with plenty of unexpected challenges, we’re heartened to have Peter and numerous other business leaders join our movement to create an economy where companies compete based on the value they create in America’s marketplace. 

Easy Action Item

Susan Muller,
Business Network Manager, American Promise
PS — If you have not already done so, I encourage you all to check out our new Business Resource Library, read our Business Talking Points, and sign up for our Quarterly Business Network Newsletter and communications.
Taking the Long View in a Crisis: It’s Time to Fix the Rules So the Future Has a Voice 
Internationally renowned futurist and business strategist Peter Schwartz says it would be irresponsible for the U.S. to revert, post-pandemic, to the status quo that had two-thirds of Americans questioning capitalism, government, and their fellow citizens. Instead, he says Americans must call for an end to the era of distorted regulations and lobbying for favors—and advance the 28th Amendment to limit the influence of money in politics. 
Read More
See the Business Leaders Joining the Movement for Limits on Political Spending by Signing the Statement of Principle  

More than 125 business leaders and citizens from a variety of industries, political interests and affiliations are joining the movement for an amendment to allow limits on political spending. Those who have recently added their name to the Statement of Principle for Business Professionals include:
  • Peter Schwartz, futurist and author of The Art of the Long View.
  • Rebecca Henderson, John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, Professor of Strategy and General Management, Harvard Business School.
  • Neal Simon, author of Contract to Unite America and former CEO of investment firms.
  • Leo Strine, Former Chief Justice and Chancellor of Delaware, adjunct professor, Harvard and University of Pennsylvania Law Schools.
See Who Has Signed the Statement of Principle for Business Professionals
| Honoring the Fallen

Veterans Continue the Fight for Our Republic’s Values 

As we approach Memorial Day, we commemorate the men and women who died while in the military service to our country and fought for its founding values. We also are grateful for the veterans who continue this honorable service. Several American Promise citizen leaders are veterans of military service who again are answering the call to protect our nation and leading the charge in the fight to limit the influence of money in our political system:
  • Chet Hunt is a Vietnam veteran and a citizen leader in APAK, the Knoxville, Tennessee, American Promise Chapter. Why did he join American Promise? “We must, without waver, demand the 28th Amendment to restore political integrity and equality of citizenship now and forever.” Read more in this article from Chet.
  • Kansas educator, farmer, veteran, and former political candidate Alan LaPolice talks about the 28th Amendment, getting big money out of politics and how that issue affects us all. Hear more from Alan and his advocacy for the amendment in this video.
Business for American Promise Leaders Share How Companies and Investors Can Restore Trust in Democracy
The virtual Future 500 Summit at EarthX included a session featuring Elizabeth Doty, co-founder of Business for American Promise, and Rick Alexander, founder of The Shareholder Commons who has signed the Business for American Promise Statement of Principle.
Watch the video to hear their thoughts on what committed sustainability and government affairs professionals can do to address the growing lobbying arms race that steers public policy discussions—and how they can act to restore public trust in capitalism and representative democracy.
Watch the Video
| Candidate Pledge Campaign

Here’s another example of citizen-led advocacy at work: Ohio recently gained another American Promise Pledge Signer: Reem Subei, a candidate for the Ohio Senate 2nd District.

The Candidate Pledge Campaign is how we build political power, and we need your help to take it to the next level. Help scale up the candidate pledge program and volunteer in your state. American Promise offers a host of tools to make outreach, conversations, and follow-up simple and successful. Join in!  
Learn How You Can Help Build the Pledge Campaign
| Dysfunction on Display

The issue: As the United States—and the global markets—experience the worst economic crisis in 90 years amid a public health crisis, not everyone is feeling the financial pain. According to this ProPublica article, while record numbers of Americans file for unemployment, “The S&P 500 is now up 30% from its lows in mid-March and back to where it was last October, when the outlook for 2020 corporate earnings looked sunshiny. Companies have sold record amounts of debt in recent weeks for investment-grade companies. Junk bonds, historically dodgy during an economic swoon, have roared back.”

The action: Ready to work for change that will provide a more equal playing field for workers, businesses and the majority of Americans? Learn how you can be part of the grassroots movement for an amendment to get big money out of politics.
Join the Movement for the 28th Amendment!
| What We’re Tracking This Week

From USA Today: Bruce Bond and Erik Olsen, co-founders of Common Ground Committee, encourage leaders of both political parties to “look beyond their talking points” to discover ways to support and implement voting by mail for the fall election. “Vote-by-mail may or may not be the best election system over time,” they say. “But in this election, it is worth the investment so states that have the means to implement it can help their most vulnerable citizens feel safe.” Read more.

From Forbes: The federal government’s stimulus bill will do more harm than good for many small businesses, according to this contributed article by Morgan Simon. “We’ve seen an incredible lack of thoughtfulness when it comes to race, class, and the perpetuation of long-term structural inequalities in building out our response plans,” she says. “This translates into concrete policies that enhance the wealth of the privileged and set others back even further.” Read more.

From the Lugar Center: A nonpartisan tool that measures the degree to which members of Congress work across party lines on legislation shows improvement in 2019 from historical averages. “Many functions and decisions within Congress remain bitterly partisan, especially those pitting the leadership of the parties against one another,” said Lugar Center Policy Director Dan Diller. “Yet the Bipartisan Index continues to find an undercurrent of bipartisan cooperation between individual members of Congress on introducing and co-sponsoring legislation.” Read more

From BlackHer: In this interview, Keesha Gaskins-Nathan, program director, Democratic Practice – U.S. at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, explains some of the motivations that drive her democracy reform work. “The democracy we envision is inclusive and representative of all,” she says. “That’s important because, in a true democracy, you’d don’t win all the time. You don’t lose all the time either. People need to believe that whether they win or lose, the system is fair.” Read more

From the Christian Post: Zach Wamp and Weston Wamp of Issue One call on people of faith to join the movement to get big money out of politics. “In recent years, the amount of money spent to influence both our elections and government has skyrocketed. Undoubtedly, this exercise in buying influence has tilted the tables in American politics towards monied interests,” they say. “The list of ways that our system has become rigged to favor the wealthy and well-connected goes on and on, and it’s not a Republican or a Democratic problem — both parties are at fault.” Read more.

From the Center for Responsive Politics: In Montana, national groups are pouring money into the U.S. Senate campaign between Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and incumbent Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican. While outside groups supporting Bullock are spending money to flip the Senate to Democrats, the GOP is attempting to widen the field in Montana by paying at least $100,000 for signature gathering to help qualify the Green Party for the November election. Read more.

From Rolling Stone: The economic devastation from COVID-19 includes more than 30 million Americans filing for unemployment, millions losing their health insurance, and thousands of small businesses facing an uncertain future. But the $3.2 trillion CARES Act, which Congress passed as COVID-19 economic relief, includes a $454 billion loophole for “big business” that could grow to $4 billion. Read more.

From the New York Times: Small-business loans and grants that are part of the $2 trillion CARES Act went first to better-resourced and politically well-connected businesses, while only a quarter of small businesses received the aid, according to this opinion article. “In part, that’s because larger corporations and their trade associations leveraged their considerable lobbying resources to push for provisions in the COVID-19 relief legislation … that would allow even global chains to access the ‘small business’ money. Read more.

| Upcoming American Promise Events

For the moment, American Promise events are being rescheduled or reimagined as digital/online events. Fortunately, we have lots of video! Enjoy recordings of many of our events on our YouTube Channel and watch the American Promise calendar for the most current information.

Enjoy this informative discussion during the recent American Promise national call featuring Neal Simon, author of Contract to Unite America: Ten Reforms to Reclaim Our Republic. In this video you’ll hear Neal talk about the fundamental problems behind our government’s dysfunction and the nonpartisan reforms that are needed, followed by highlights of the citizen-led movement under way to achieve one of those reforms: the 28th Amendment.
Watch the Video
American Promise empowers Americans to act together to win the 28th Amendment so people, not money, govern in America.
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