As we move towards another Tuesday, election day, it is astounding that so few that stand for office “get it”. Get what, you ask? Get that our tired alliances no longer serve us. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, and those rolling in it, still genuflect to the all-powerful elites, the corporations, the money men, the public employee unions; the prophets of empire, militarism, moral superiority, fears of moral corruption; those allied to Keynes, Friedman or the new Austrians. Most of these races are actually about…. nothing. Two politicians in most cases racing for the bottom, running negative ads smearing the other, standing for nothing other than power accumulation, when it is power accumulation itself that is the problem.
In this recent post, Barry Ritholtz says it is Us versus the Corporations.n
This may not be a brilliant insight, but it is surely an overlooked one. It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing.
• Many of the regulations that govern energy and banking sector were written by Corporations;
• The biggest influence on legislative votes is often Corporate Lobbying;
• Corporate ability to extend copyright far beyond what original protections amounts to a taking of public works for private corporate usage;
• PAC and campaign finance by Corporations has supplanted individual donations to elections;
• The individuals’ right to seek redress in court has been under attack for decades, limiting their options.
• DRM and content protection undercuts the individual’s ability to use purchased content as they see fit;
• Patent protections are continually weakened. Deep pocketed corporations can usurp inventions almost at will;
• The Supreme Court has ruled that Corporations have Free Speech rights equivalent to people; (So much for original intent!)
None of these are Democrat/Republican conflicts, but rather, are corporate vs. individual issues.
For those of you who are stuck in the old Left/Right debate, you are missing the bigger picture. Consider this about the Bailouts: It was a right-winger who bailed out all of the big banks, Fannie Mae, and AIG in the first place; then his left winger successor continued to pour more money into the fire pit.
We are fighting the wrong battles. Both parties have spent money indiscriminately. Neither party is willing to sunset programs or laws that no longer serve a purpose because every program and every law has a constituent. Few are willing to say that killing two civilians for every enemy combatant is not patriotic and does not increase our security, or that 50 eyes for one eye is not justice in any moral system. Few are willing to put civil servants, private citizens, and uninjured veterans on the same retirement and health care programs.
I would add that political machines are on the side of the Corporation persons and not the Human persons.
Bill Black and Randall Wray make a case in two parts that could begin to rectify these power imbalances. At least someone is willing to speak up.
Breaking the backs of entrenched power structures is unruly but it is not a zero sum game. From the ashes of these giants would emerge new young enterprises that would fill any void in the financial markets. What are the people getting from hanging onto these tenuous existing wealth and power structures? Very little. We are in the proverbial monkey trap. Our tiny little fists cannot get out of the trap because we won’t let go of what we think we have. Let it go.