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Starbucks CEO: America Is a Great Place to Do Business

Fin - Daily Ticker - US

Do corporations pay enough taxes? Is America too business friendly or not friendly enough? The issue has been hotly debated here and elsewhere this week after a NY Times story claimed GE didn't pay taxes last year -- a claim GE hotly contested. While the truth is somewhere in the middle (see Henry Blodget's coverage of the controversy), many argue that regulations and a confusing tax code have made America less attractive for business.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is not one of those. The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task addressed taxes, the need for greater corporate responsibility, obesity in America, the truth behind the new 31 oz. Trenta size, and the benefits of coffee.

Schultz on America: "I think America is a great place to do business. The 'American Dream' is alive and well."

Schultz on Taxes: "I don't think the tax rate needs to be higher," he argues. Companies, however, do have a greater responsibility to their employees and communities, especially in the face of the country's fiscal mess. "Municipalities are not going to be able to sustain their level of giving in terms of social services. There probably needs to be an examination of how companies need to do more."

Starbucks pays more in healthcare than it does in coffee beans, but Schultz says that comprehensive coverage creates a better experience for employees and customers: "Our profitability and the allegiance that people have to Starbucks in many ways is because of the trust and its values, and as a result of that, we've been able to make more money."

Schultz on calorie counts in stores: "I think it's the right thing to do. That has done nothing in terms of diluting sales."

Schultz on the Trenta: Much has been made about the size of this drink. Some have noted that, at 31 oz., it is larger than the average stomach -- and you can fit an entire bottle of wine in the cup. "The truth is, the customer wants it," he states. Schultz is also quick to note that it's only available in iced form.

Schultz on the joys of coffee: "Most of the studies around coffee demonstrate it has the highest degree of antioxidants you can put in your body."