Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent thinks U.S. companies are at a disadvantage compared to those based elsewhere-thanks to America's byzantine tax code and its regulatory overreach. He told the Financial Times recently that "in many respects" it is now easier to do business in places like China, where "local governments are fighting for investments with each other." In the West, he complains, "we're forgetting what really worked 20 years ago."
Kent hastened to add that Coke was hiring in the U.S. and had invested $10bn here over the past two and a half years. However, Coke is one of few who are. In recent months, American companies have been cutting their workforces in increasing numbers, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement consultancy group in Chicago. "We're beginning to see patterns that are disconcerting, and the really troubling part is this: Nothing is happening in the economy that is going to boost job growth," said Christine L. Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.
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