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The behemoth next door 

Street Smarts

Some corporations today seem bigger, wealthier and more powerful than ever. Can they be of benefit to society, or just to their shareholders?

click to enlarge Tobias Miller

Tobias Miller of Security is a carpet cleaner.

When you hear the phrase "Corporate America," what comes to mind? Big business and monopolies, like when one corporation owns a bunch of other corporations. It brings a negative connotation.

Can you think of a huge company that you respect? [Discover] Goodwill. I think they do a good job for people. They keep it affordable and have a good variety, even some new stuff.

Just how powerful do you think Corporate America is? The bigger they are, the more money they have, and money can get you everywhere in this country.

If you could ask one question of the CEO of Walmart, what would it be? "Why do you keep hours spotty to avoid paying benefits to people?"

click to enlarge Jamie Ratzlaff

Jamie Ratzlaff of the west side is a student.

When you hear the phrase "Corporate America," what comes to mind? The corn industry, because it controls gas prices and food prices, and is forcing little farms out of business.

Just how powerful do you think Corporate America is? Well, back to the corn industry, really powerful. Corn and high-fructose corn syrup is in just about everything, and it can cause diabetes and other health problems. Even corn-fed beef depends on corn, and ethanol is in our gasoline.

Can you think of a big company that has a positive image for you? Costco. They pay their employees more so they have less turnover than Walmart, for example.

If you could ask one question of the CEO of Walmart, what would it be? "Why aren't your company's health benefits up to date?"

click to enlarge Erin Renzelman

Erin Renzelman of Ellicott is an office clerk.

When you hear the phrase "Corporate America," what comes to mind? Business and the economy. I'm not that in to politics, but jobs are still hard to find and gas prices are going up again.

What's one huge company that has a good reputation? Nike comes to mind — at least I don't hear anything bad about them. They sponsor a lot for little kids.

What about a huge company with a bad reputation? I can't think of any right off the top of my head.

How powerful do you think Corporate America is? I think they run the world, or at least the country. They can make their own rules.

If you could ask one question of the CEO of Walmart, what would it be? "How long did it take you to get where you are?"

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