John Edwards Calls for Greater Corporate Responsibility

October 26, 2007 ( - Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards said, if elected president, he would demand limits on executive compensation packages, require greater corporate transparency, and back tax reforms and savings initiatives to help facilitate retirement security, the Associated Press reported.

“Instead of protecting the compact of equal opportunity and shared prosperity, Washington protects corporate profits and hordes prosperity of the few,” Edwards said during a policy address in Des Moines, Iowa, according to the AP.

He vowed to support tax reforms and savings help that would help ensure retirement security for the middle class. One suggestion was to help them save money to purchase stock from companies, which he said would better their performance after implementing his corporate reform proposals.

According to the AP, some changes Edwards wants to implement include:

  • Requiring corporations to disclose lobbying activities, political contributions, environmental impacts, and government contracts and subsidies;
  • Giving shareholders new rights regarding corporate governance, allowing them more say in decisions such as executive compensation;
  • Modernizing labor laws to help workers join unions and bargain for better pay and benefits; and
  • Creating universal retirement accounts that would require employers to offer savings plans for workers who cannot access pensions. Edwards said the first $500 workers save would be matched dollar-for-dollar with a tax credit that would be paid for by capital gains taxes.

Edwards also railed against companies who do not fulfill their pension obligations to workers under corporate reorganizations, and he also commented that companies should not be able to deny workers benefits by simply labeling them as contractors (See Judge Grants Class Action Status to FedEx Ground Drivers).