During the long run of Republican leadership, prior to the Great Depression, Corporate America and the Republicans had an agreement. Government would not regulate, and business would not be limited by checks and balances. Corporations were able to generate bigger profits at the expense of workers, consumers, the U.S. Treasury, and the U.S. economy. The big were gobbled up by the bigger, and the concept of arms length competition was illusory. Deregulation increased profits, but none of those profits trickled down to the workers. It was laissez-faire government at its worst.
Myths were created about corporations and capitalism. A few of those myths were that a publicly held corporation has no duty to the public except to maximize profits for its shareholders. In other words, ignore the fact that the corporation could never exist without the roads, law enforcement, court systems, and military that taxpayers provide the corporation so it can do business.
That myth ignored the billions of dollars the public spends every year on research and development that taxpayers dish out at universities through medical research, military research, agricultural research and hundreds of other areas where that corporation benefits from that research.
Fourteen years of deregulation has been profitable for Big Business, but not for the average American. In this time of unregulated, modern robber barons, for every $500 a corporate CEO makes, a worker makes $1. The average annual salary for a top corporate CEO is $15 million while the average median income for a US household has fallen $1,000 since 2001.
Listen carefully to the latest talking points from Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, or John Boehner and you will hear them telling you that more corporate freedom to do whatever the Hell they want is good for America – good for capitalism. Why would they still be trying to sell those disastrous ideas? Well, it’s because most Americans still don’t understand why they lost their homes, why they lost their jobs, why they are no longer members of America’s so-called middle class. Most Americans whose lives are in shambles have never stopped to figure out just how badly the Republican corporation machine trampled on them. To some degree that’s their own fault. It’s their fault because they never fought back. Many of them still don’t ask questions.
So this entire election cycle, we will see mega corporations spend billions selling that same old worn-out, failed theme to low-information voters – who still don’t have the good sense to figure out what happened to them the last time Republicans let corporations dominate American politics.
More than one million families have lost their homes to foreclosure because GOP government drank the Kool-Aid served up by the financial industry. That industry told Congress that if Congress would trim regulations, the financial industry would show how responsible they could be. So they showed us.
Everything in business and government flows from the top. For example: Exxon, Halliburton, Countrywide, and Citicorp are at the top of the food chain in the business world. They have one thing in common; it is that their corporation is not designed with a conscience, or a sense of fairness. In fact, it could be argued that their corporation is commanded not to operate with those qualities if it’s going to cost their shareholders money. So when fair dealing clashes with corporate profits, those profits will always endure. But in order to live, a corporation needs to thrive in a political system that it can control. So it gobbles up characters that it would ordinarily have the luxury to ignore; the Tom DeLays, the Karl Roves, and the Dick Cheneys of politics. And in turn, in order for those political culprits to prosper, they must adapt their political policies to please their corporate sponsors.
It all flows from the top but the top is not America’s government. The top is a collection of corporate types that abhor anything that looks like a check and balance regulation.
The top is Wall Street not the White House – where today we see Wall Street determining what the price of gasoline will be by way of unregulated crude oil speculation.
Wall Street is where it’s determined whether a small family business gets a loan or whether big box stores will gobble up those mom and pop businesses.
The top is Wall Street, UBS, AT&T, Shell Oil, and every other mega corporation beholden to its shareholders.
In the last fourteen years, modern robber barons have answered to no other entity than the only deity they know; the almighty dollar.
Deregulated government has been a paradise for segments of corporate America.
Part of GOP deregulation code talk has always been that they would be the party that marginalized the FDA, EPA, SEC, and any other regulatory agency that operates as a check and balance between the American public and unmitigated corporate greed.
They delivered, and as a result, the “W” crowd will be remembered for Enron, Abramoff, no bid contracts, mortgage scams, stock market scams, and an oil industry that made 600 billion in profits last year. Sadly, Obama’s legacy will be identical to W’s, while most Americans are still waiting for their trickle down.