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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What has big business done for America besides bilk it?

The great American myth manufacturers association has created a set of deities.   It calls them entrepreneurs.  They used to be called confidence men, swindlers, and crooks.

The worship of the gods of fraud is called patriotism.  If anyone criticizes American big business for its predatory activities, that person is labeled unpatriotic.  If big business does anything to damage the nation, the activity is called building the economy..  If anyone objects to defrauding consumers, despoiling the land, or running scams and advocates some government regulation, the business community and its sympathizers scream socialism, government take-over. Big business portrays itself as the purpose of America.  

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with a real entrepreneur,  one who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a business.  As we found out with the bailouts prompted by the Great Recession, the people running the key businesses today organize exploitation, operate incompetently, and assume no risk.  The taxpayers assumed the risks of the incompetent and avaricious welfare queens who call themselves CEOs and other levels of executives.

The list of misperforming corporations is daunting:  General Motors, Chrysler,Lehman Brothers, BP, Countrywide, AIG, all the major banks, Worldcom, Enron--almost every major company..

When the government bailed out the auto industry and expected some responsible accountability for the loans it gave, the right wing immediately shouted socialism and Government Motors.  When BP befouled the Gulf states and Obama set up some rules of financial responsibility for the mess, the right wing immediately screamed about government takeover.  Corporations can defraud consumers, endanger lives, befoul the environment, organize all manner of crime, and its called free enterprise.  Consumers and taxpayers can ask for some protections against destructive depredation and exploitation, and they are called Marxists and socialists.

If that is so, it is probably time to try socialism.  It can't be any worse than the four decades of reducing the middle class toward the poverty line that corporations have orchestrated, as the top one-tenth of one percent has increased its share of the national income by 385 percent while the bottom 90 percent has dropped back one percent.  The right wing loves feudalism and all the deprivations and oppressions it can inflict.

.Last week Obama's chief of staff William Daley met with industrial leaders for a whine and moan session about Obama's policies.  They complained about free trade, while they are the one's who have raced to outsource jobs.  They whined about not  being allowed to rape, pillage, and destroy our natural resources.  And business leaders quake at the  thought of not receiving special tax breaks that leave the financing of the country up to the struggling middle class.  But here are the facts about corporate taxes:

Americans blame wasteful or unnecessary federal programs for the nation’s budget problems. But routine increases in defense and domestic spending account for only about 15 percent of the financial deterioration, according to a new analysis of CBO data.

The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former president George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue. That’s nearly half of the $12.7 trillion swing from projected surpluses to real debt. Federal tax collections now stand at their lowest level as a percentage of the economy in 60 years.
Business is the culprit behind the Great Recession.  Banks like to blame spendthrift home buyers for taking out mortgages they could not afford on homes that were overpriced by the housing bubble.  But the fact is that mortgage companies had the authority and unregulated power to assess the value of the mortgages and to insure that they were going to people who afford them on homes worth the price.  It was the avaricious frenzy of the banks that was in control    Now that the government is implementing the Dodd Frank bill and trying to set up a consumer protection agency to set some reasonable rules, the financial industry, after putting on a massive demonstration of why it can't be trusted, is howling and whining about proposed regulations. 

Obama's weakness as a president is that he persists in making nice with people who are fundamentally not nice.  

There are companies that try to provide a quality goods or service to consumers and make an honest profit in so doing.  But they defer to the corporate hierarchy and the great advocate for confidence schemes and pillaging, the National Chamber of Commerce, to speak for the business community,  If there is a Better Business Bureau,  let us hear from some better businesses.  

There are small businesses where people actually meet and serve the customers that sustain the economy. But they allow their efforts and their honesty to be represented by the schemers and apologists for the perfidy and corruption that drives big business.  To get a view of how Wall Street actually thinks and operates, read this article in The New Yorker which details a prosecution of inside trading and the kind of thinking and people who engage in it.  These are the people who typify corporate interests and methods and who are setting the economic direction of the nation.

When the USA was founded,  Jefferson and others envisioned it as an agrarian democracy, in which citizens worked their own land, were independent of businesses, and therefore did not come under rule of the corporate schemers.  As the country grew and expanded, it needed large organizations to organize and support the services that sustain us.  But look what we have ended up with:  BP, Enron, Worldcom, Galleon financial, etc.  

At some point, America has to face the facts of what corporate business is truly about.  It might decide to give socialism a try.   Unless good businesses can lead a reform that drives out the bad. 


Douglas said...

Apparently millions of US citizens are too lazy to think about who or what is actually screwing them. It is so much easier to continue believing myths and if that doesn't work, covering their heads with sand or pulling the covers over their eyes.

I can only imagine that the unrich assume that if they are Republican or TEA Party enough, they will magically become rich like the people who continue year after year to do their best to make the unrich poorer and poorer and more ignorant.

Bob Newland said...

Jesus, Dave, how much more socialist can we get? Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, subsidies for faulty ethanol models, arbitrary imprisonment for contrived crimes....

What do you want? Periodic roundups and executions of Army colonels?

Douglas said...

Newland, you know better or is your post supposed to be satire?

You seem to be mixing welfare legislation in with socialism which is not necessarily the case.

You then conflate something closer to fascist police activity with socialism. Again not the case.

Capitalism raw in tooth and claw generates many of the problems social legislation attempts to prevent or cure.

Capitalism and government together have more in common with fascism and corporate statism than with socialism.

Bill Fleming said...

Newland can never seem to grasp that unbridled capitalism leads to tyranny.

Bob Newland said...

Perhaps someone should enlighten me, then. What model of socialism do you favor?

Fleming seems to ignore that unbridled idiocy leads to vomit on the tablecloth.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States