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John Wayne's Holster: Corporations Are Destroying America!
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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Corporations Are Destroying America!

I am a proponent of free markets and individual rights. The founding fathers established this country as a democratic republic to protect those rights from governmental encroachment. A government of the people, by the people, for the people! A government that derives is power from the consent of the governed! However, policy reforms have slowly eroded many of these rights and protections.

In recent decades, corporations in this country have acquired immense power via their lobbying efforts and financial contributions to politicians. Politicians repay the favor by enacting legislation and programs favorable to their financial patrons – often to the detriment of the citizens whose interests they are supposed to represent.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people? Hardly! Our elected officials have sold out their public interests.

America has embraced corporate socialism! Our politicians don’t like to call it that. It goes against our dearly held ideologies of democracy and capitalism. They can call it what you want, but don’t be fooled by the façade. From the outside, corporate socialism appears to be capitalism, wherein capital is owned and managed by the private sector. But, unlike capitalism, where the flow of goods is controlled by forces operating in a free market, the flow of goods in corporate socialism is under government control. That is what we have today.

Under our present system, profits are spoils for the enjoyment of private enterprise. Sounds like capitalism, right? But, when private enterprise fails or “needs” an injection of capital, the taxpayer bears the responsibility. In essence, corporate socialism is welfare. Meanwhile, the gap between rich and poor widens.

Let’s examine a few examples that illustrate this point.

1. Agricultural subsidies. These subsidies were designed to help the farmer, but in fact, about 90% of the money goes to the biggest agricultural corporations. Under this system, small farmers can not compete. In effect, they are being forced to surrender their tax dollars to fund a system whose end goal is to put them out of business.

2. Corporate bailouts. When large corporations are in danger of failure, due to mismangement , market saturation or whatever, the government steps in, with our tax dollars, to bail them out. The Chysler bailout, the S&L bailouts and the recent bailout of the airlines are examples.

3. Federal Reserve System. This is the grand daddy of them all. Contrary to popular belief, the Fed is not a government agency, but rather a partnership between the government and a cartel of private banks. Member banks are required to hold shares of stock in the Fed. Like all business ventures, the Fed answers to its stockholders, not the public. The Fed issues money (from nothing) and sets the rate of interest. The Fed then loans the money to the government. The government pays the interest on the loans with tax dollars collected from the public. The banks make billions and the government gets deeper and deeper in debt.

People have lost faith that the free market can consistently provide for them. Almost instinctively, they turned to their government to fill the void. However, many of the ills frequently associated with the free market are actually the result of corporate socialism. The government, prompted by corporate America, has addressed these ills with Orwellian double-speak. Combating corporate excesses is addressed by implementing more government regulatory programs. The cycle continues.

It seems as though we are stuck with this system. Politicians like campaign contributions – they help keep them in office. Corporations have surprisingly become supporters of big government programs. These programs typically mandate excessive regulations that prevent entrepreneurs and small businesses from competing with the corporate giants. This translates into less competition and more contracts for the large corporations.

So much for democracy and the free market!

2 Comments:

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Mister B said...

Joe,

Here's where I think the public needs to focus:

Election Reform -- not just the obvious issue of campaign finances, which is a debacle, but on other exclusivity clauses in the current system. The debates should be run by a non-partisan committee and should allow third party and independent candidates get on national TV and argue with the democrat and republican candidates. The time has come for us to stop putting up with the pussy footing, manage-my-image at all costs, bullshit method of campaigning for office.

Second, if you're a full-time office holder -- Senator, Governor, whatever, in public life, then you have to retire your position before running for another office. Why doesn't anyone ever talk about the fact that running a year-long campaign costing millions of dollars might, oh, I don't know, distract you from representing your constituents in the Senate, or I don't know, eat into your daily agenda a bit as governor of your state. Can you imagine leaving your current job, with pay, for a year, to look for another position? Only government officials treat this as normal. It's a disgrace. You can't represent Massachussetts AND run for president. You can't run the state of Texas AND run for president. If these guys really want the job, then they should have to leave their current positions first. At the least, a proxy should be in office for them while they take a sabattical and call it what it really is.

Second: Voting reform.
National and state elections should be holidays or half-day holidays so that EVERYONE has the same opportunity to vote. The current system is inherently inequitable given the various work and time constraints that average workers deal with.

I touched on it above, but campaign finance reform has to live up to its billing. McCain promised but he never delivered. Take the money out. Create agreed upon thresholds for access to public TV and radio time (remember -- we, the people own the airwaves and television stations are contractually mandated to include public service and news (not infotainment) as part of their programming. That's mandated by LAW.
So let's use the airwaves to give equal, structured time to all the candidates. He with the most money wins is okay for the free market, but not for the free market of ideas, because ideas that are bought and paid for are tainted by the money and the ideas that can't afford the pricetag wind up dying a horrible, unreported death.

Just some thoughts.

 
At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Joe Verica said...

Hey Robert

I agree with your points on election reform. Debates should allow third party candidates. Third party candidates would force the two main candidates to really address the issues. As it is now, the main candidates just regurgitate prepared statements on the issues. A few years back when Perot was in the debates, I think he made a real difference. Also the debates before the primaries, when the all the candidates within a party duke it out are always more substantive. I particularly enjoy Alan Keyes. I don't always agree with hime, but he is well educated and has a good grasp on the issues. The other candidates don't know any more than their handlers have told them - they have no idea what Keyes is saying.

I also like the idea of having candidates resign their offices to campaign for others - at least if they are running for either house or for president. I think some states require it already, but, as you point out, many do not.

The national holiday for elections seems that it would be hard to pull off. If they can work something out, that would be great. I would be all for it. I think an alternative would be to have more polling places that stay open later.

The problem with all of these reforms is that the politicians don't want them. They seem to enjoy the way the system is set up now, bacause they can manipulate the it for their own benefit. After all, who needs a poll tax or a literacy test for voting when you can limit the number of polling places in districts where you don't have good support.

The people really have to force these issues into law, otherwise it will never get done.

 

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