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Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz on Sunday called on business leaders in the private sector to take the lead in the nation’s economic recovery, telling NBC's Chuck Todd "problems exist throughout the country, not only rural America."
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Schultz said Washington dysfunction is a factor in the slow and uneven economic recovery. "I feel as if the economic situation that we’re dealing with is directly linked to this situation in Washington in which there’s been a fracturing of trust and confidence for over 10 years now."
The problem, according to Schultz, is that our political leaders aren't working with a commitment to honor, country and duty. "Can you Imagine if people in Washington, the new Congress, the administration, embraced those words and lived by that?" Schultz asked. "The country would be in a much better position than we are today."
Schultz spoke highly of military members and challenged business leaders to step up and actively work to hire unemployed veterans, many of whom come from rural parts of the country. "It would be catalytic to the country if we hired these veterans who have extraordinary skills, but we’re not."
In an effort to celebrate current and former members of the military, Schultz’s Starbucks teamed up with Chase and HBO to throw a Veterans Day concert from the National Mall. The free, televised event has a lineup of artists from almost every genre of music including Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Metallica, and Jennifer Hudson. Schultz says the concert is a chance to show America’s potential to come together to do "do right by those who have done so much for us."
Schultz told Todd that Washington has let the country down, but added "congress has a unique opportunity to stop the polarization and dysfunction and demonstrate immediately a new set of rules.” Shultz emphasized, "That rule has to be civility, conversation, and cooperation."