(en) Pres. Summit: Facade vs. Substance

National Peoples Campaign (npcny@peoplescampaign.org)
Wed, 23 Apr 1997 22:30:16 -0500

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NATIONAL PEOPLES CAMPAIGN National: 39 West 14th St., #206, New York, NY 10011 212-633-6646 fax:212-633-2889 Philadelphia: 813 South 48th St., Philadelphia, PA 19143 215 724-1618 email: npcny@peoplescampaign.org web page: http://www.peoplescampaign.org/

News Release

For Immediate Release Attention: News Editor Press Contact: Brian Becker April 23, 1997 212-633-6646

The Presidents' Summit: Glittering Facade, Little Substance

"Despite the involvement of President Clinton, George Bush, Colin Powell, the support of corporate America and the corporate media, and a seemingly unlimited budget for gala festivities, the glittering facade of the `Presidents' Summit' cannot cover the fact that this is an event of very little substance," said Berta Joubert, Co-Coordinator of the April 27 March, in a statement issued today by the National People's Campaign. "Private charity and volunteerism could never begin to replace the social programs that Clinton and Congress are now dismantling, even if the corporations were making serious contributions. But the tiny corporate donations - all of which are wildly inflated in value by the companies so they can take big tax breaks - make a laughingstock of the Philadelphia summit.

"The fact is that these donations - even at the inflated figures given out by the corporate PR people - total less than $1 billion over the next several years. That's less than 5% of the money cut from federal social programs in this year alone.

"Take the example of General Mills," Joubert continued. "They have `lent' one of their executives, David Dix, to help organize the Summit. According to the USA Today of April 22, Dix said: `We're in the process of trying to make history and effect change in a big way.' Then Dix goes on to talk about the problems of 15 million "disadvantaged kids." How much is General Mills donating? $2.1 million for scholarships. That's 14 cents for each of the 15 million children! Can anyone believe that will `effect change in a big way?'

"There are many other examples of mini-contributions from corporate giants. Boeing `plans to double to 30 the number of high school students who take the Introduction to Manufacturing Technology at the plant each semester.' The Commerce Bank will train students in `responsible use of credit cards.' Southwest Airlines will start an `Adopt a Pilot' program. IBM, one of the richest corporations in the world is pledging $10 million over 3 years, a fraction of 1% of its annual profit. All of this will amount to very little, if the pledges are fulfilled at all.

"But despite the summit's lack of substance, it is dangerous: It is meant to serve as a cover for the massive attack on social programs -- food stamps, SSI, Medicare and Medicaid, welfare and much more -- that has been pushed by big business. and passed by the Republican-dominated Congress and Democratic President."

The National People's Campaign, hundreds of other labor, community and student organizations, and thousands of people will be protesting outside the summit, to call for overturning the cuts in social programs. The National March will gather at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 27, Independence Mall, 6th and Market Sts. To schedule an interview or for more information about the plans for Sunday's march, call 215-724-1618. --30--

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