Coffee prices are falling, but liberal Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has decided to raise its prices anyway.
CNBC’s Squawk Box co-host Joe Kernen called Schultz out on July 7, saying Schultz was trying “to pad his profits.”
Kernen argued it was unfair to criticize airlines for failing to pass savings along to consumers when oil prices fell, but not criticize Starbucks for raising its prices even as the cost of coffee dropped.
“So now, he’s raising prices as coffee prices go down to pad his profits, therefore further lining the pockets of shareholders, which already have money, further exacerbating income inequality,” said Kernen.
Kernen said he would “normally defend” a CEO’s decision to raise prices, but called out Schultz because he is “preachy and sanctimonious and self-righteous.” Schultz is “ready at any time to judge other CEOs, to judge social behaviour,” Kernen said, citing the company’s environmentalism and activism on race.
Starbucks is liberal on climate change, guns and minimum wage. The company also attempted to challenge the “unconscious [racial] bias” in society through their Race Together campaign with USA Today in March. Baristas wrote “Race Together” on coffee cups, and customers received questionnaires titled “Your Race Relations Reality Check” that probed their interactions with people of other races.