Christmas for Corporations
December 20, 2014
It’s Christmas for corporations! A majority of congressional and executive elves have loaded Santa’s sack with bundles of compliance and servitude which he delivered pre-holiday, as if he couldn’t wait to please his masters. He popped in via megabank chimneys, and arrayed the goodies under gold-and-diamond-studded trees. There the green things stood wrapped in garlands of thousand dollar bills which, by corporate tradition, will be burned in a New Year bonfire upon which the poor and middle class will be spun on spits.
This holiday giveaway is, of course, the recent, congressionally-concocted legal permission for the same banks that gutted the economy in the run-up to 2008 to go ahead and do it again —and, again, dump the inevitable bail-outs into the laps of taxpayers. The bill, ghost written by Citibank, is called the CRomnibus bill by some, but Crummybus by those who’ll be hauling the freight of big banks when the S hits the F.
Santa, what a guy! It’s enough to make you want to barbecue Dasher or Dancer, or the fat little guy in red himself. But, the joke’s on us as it has been since the first Noel when angels did say to certain rich bankers in big beds where they lay fleecing their sheep.
Is it time for pitchforks yet?
It’s absurd, isn’t it? A provision in the recently passed government-funding CRomnibus bill was slipped into the 1,600-page, $1.1 trillion spending bill. It gave big banks permission to once again steal from the least among us. It did this by eliminating a regulation in the post crash 2008 Dodd-Frank law that prohibited banks from “…trading some of their most exotic financial instruments which had been covered by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). The rub was (and now is again) that, sure the FDIC insures your deposits against bank defaults, but when big bankers who do greedy, risky things to make billions are bailed out by government you wind up contributing chunks of that insurance money to the treasury in bail-outs to the crooks who risked it!
This is another example of an historical, political truth: laws are made by and for the rich. Any collateral effect that may be beneficial to anyone but the rich is just a necessary (and usually temporary) evil put in place to keep the crowd under control or to salve the tenuous guilt of lawmakers. This is especially true in so-called democracies. Although human decency occasionally creeps into the thinking of politicians and financial plutocrats it is eventually overridden by the impulse to greed, therefore: Dodd Frank and its corrective, H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, aka, CRomnibus. And greed and self-interest win again.
What’s important for average and poor Americans to realize is the evident fact that the United States is once again becoming the wild west of social, economic and legal inequity. The US is The place to be if, as a business, you want the freedom to pursue your self-interest regardless of its social, economic and environmental impact —as long as your self interest advances the interests the plutocracy.
Over the past few years, for instance, we’ve heard a lot about the Koch brothers because they are today (in terms of mythic American westerns) the swaggering ranchers who come in with cash and goons, kill off the buffalo, slaughter the natives, fence off a billion acres, control the water rights, the local paper, the sheriff, town council and judge, then make a showy appearance at the little church for Sunday prayer. What I want to know is where’s the Pale Rider when we need him? Oh, my God, Clint’s a Republican!
The Kochs are the elite, labor-crushing, corporatists who back ALEC —the American Legislative Exchange Council. But what the terms “exchange” and “legislation” in ALEC’s name refer to is the process in which corporations exchange with congress the text of bills they’ve written, along with greasy, good-faith “donations” (legal bribes, thanks to the Supreme Court). Congressional members, in turn, then enter that dictated text into legislation. In many cases corporate wording appears in legislation verbatim.
One example of how this works happened in Republican Governor Scott Walker’s Wisconsin. A Headline at The Huffington Post sums it up: Koch-tied Group Pushes New Union-Busting Bill in Wisconsin. In this case the ruse being foisted on voters is the euphemism “right to work” as if the choice really was about a right to work. What that term actually means in its intended effect is “the right to work for less”.
The gist of the bill written by ALEC and presented to Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled legislature has to do with busting public employee unions. But private sector unions are certainly affected as well. As the Huff Post article says, “Now out-of-state special interests and the Wisconsin GOP will use that drop in (public sector) membership to argue that private sector workers deserve the same “choice.” The poison pill for private sector unions is likely to be a model bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) with the Orwellian name of “right to work.”
Whether it’s reversing common sense legislation or busting unions, govbiz Santa is working day and night throughout the year, in the USA and globally, to bring the fattest possible gifts to his boys and girls whether they’ve been nice or not. And, even when they’re “nice”, they usually have their naughty not-so-hidden agenda operating underground.
So, if not Clint Eastwood who, Elizabeth Warren on a horse with serape and cigarillo?
How about you and me with all of the above —and pitchforks?