Caterpillar Urged to Support Pro-Growth Corporate Reforms
With Trump Administration's Ambitious Economic Reform Goals Under Attack, Free Enterprise Project Proposal Urges Manufacturing Giant to Make Moral and Ethical Case for American Jobs and Industrial Revitalization
Athens, GA / Washington, D.C. - At today's annual shareholder meeting of Caterpillar investors held in Athens, Georgia, the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project (FEP) presented a shareholder resolution asking the manufacturing giant to be bold in seeking its legislative and policy goals, as the national political landscape offers a rare opportunity for positive economic reform.
"For the first time in nearly a decade, there is an appetite for real economic reform in Washington, D.C. Caterpillar executives should seize this opportunity with gusto," said National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who attended today's meeting and presented FEP's proposal. "After eight years of President Obama's top-down economic approach that chose winners and losers, President Trump has repeatedly expressed a desire to bring jobs back to America and reinvigorate the nation's manufacturing and industrial sectors. However, it takes more than political will and the vote of the American people to alter the nation's economic agenda. Caterpillar has a duty to be part of a broader consensus for macro-level economic reform."
At the meeting, Danhof introduced the National Center's proposal, stating:
We filed this proposal to urge the company to capitalize on the current political climate and advance Caterpillar's goals while improving shareholder value. After eight years of President Obama's regulatory overreach, high corporate taxation and executive actions that hampered growth and led to America's worst economic recovery since the 1930s, the country finally has a President who is willing to work with business leaders on a pro-growth agenda. President Trump has shown an eagerness to increase American manufacturing and bring jobs back to America.
But opportunities for real reform, such as much-needed corporate tax reform, are fleeting and under assault. The mainstream media and liberal special interest groups are working to undermine the President's agenda. If they succeed, many of President Trump's ambitious goals for tax reform as well as manufacturing and industrial revitalization may be scuttled before they get off the ground.
Danhof also noted:
Many corporations that relied on the Obama Administration's top-down economic approach of choosing winners and losers are now relentlessly attacking President Trump and his policies. To combat this environment, our proposal also calls on companies such as Caterpillar to be vocal in supporting a pro-growth, positive economic agenda.
The text of Danhof's prepared statement in favor of Proposal #8 can be found here.
"It takes a broad coalition to advance the reforms that President Trump has proposed. President Obama had many corporate allies in the tech, green energy and health care sectors that carried water for his centralized approach to the economy," said Danhof. "For President Trump's decentralized message to succeed, it is incumbent upon corporations such as Caterpillar to become a vocal part of such a coalition."
The full text of FEP's proposal and Caterpillar's response to it are available on pages 63 and 64 of the company's proxy statement, which is available for download here.
"Many American corporations, such as Apple, General Electric and Google, became accustomed to President Obama's economic style of giving taxpayer handouts to favored companies and industries. That is one reason why so many corporate leaders have come out in such strong opposition to President Trump's agenda," said Danhof. "Actions such as withdrawing the United States from the Paris Accord show that President Trump is moving towards a more market-based approach. Caterpillar, its investors and its employees would dramatically benefit from such a system."
Today marks the third time FEP - the nation's leading proponent of free-market investor activism - has participated in a Caterpillar shareholder meeting and the first time FEP has presented a proposal to the company's investors.
Earlier this year, FEP offered shareholder proposals advocating charitable transparency at the annual investor meetings of Apple, General Electric and Alphabet Inc. Today's meeting marks the eighteenth shareholder meeting FEP has participated in during the 2017 shareholder season.
Launched in 2007, the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project is the nation's preeminent free-market activist group — focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Since 2014, its representatives have participated in around 100 shareholder meetings to advance free-market ideals in health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers' rights and other important public policy issues. FEP's Employee Conscience Protection Project strengthened protections for the political beliefs and activities of over five million workers at 13 major U.S. corporations. FEP's questioning of Boeing's and General Electric's support for the Clinton Foundation helped trigger an FBI investigation into the Foundation's activities. Executives put on the spot by FEP at ABC News (Disney), the Washington Post and CNN (Time Warner) meetings acknowledged media bias.
FEP activity this year has been covered by media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP's work was also featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel's 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.