Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Best Government Money Can Buy

(This is part 1 of a 4 part series)

Here is an example of how the candidates on the Republican side want to balance the budget. As usual they want to take from the poor and working class Americans to give to the rich, instead of doing a top down economic model they want to use a bottom up model. This will continue to reallocate the wealth of the nation from the bottom to the top, as it has been going for the past few decades.

“We will require agency heads to present five to up to as much as 20 percent reductions in their annual budget,” Giuliani says in one ad, titled “Will Do.” “It’s the only way to reduce spending . . . I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful spending in Washington.”[1]

I have never understood why spending money to improve the lives of the poor, improve the quality of our food and water supply, and providing quality public education is considered wasteful; while giving money to corporations is considered worthy. We must change our priorities from corporate welfare and the military industrial complex to the quality of life issues for all Americans. We will never be able to provide government by the people, for the people until we remove the corporate influence from our political landscape. This will be very difficult due to the fact that for some ungodly reason corporations were given the status of personhood for the purpose of legal standing. With the 1886 Supreme Court decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific, the personhood of the corporation began and with it came the death knell of we the people by the people government. Here is how one great American put it.

"Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."[2]

To read this, one could imagine that it was written recently by an attorney familiar with the recent corporate malfeasance cases or the recent Medicare prescription drug debacle, but you would be wrong. This was written over 140 years ago by Abraham Lincoln, and they have turned out to be prophetic. Through a series of maneuvers corporations have won personhood in some sort of surreal alter reality. Corporations are not people; they never have been and never will be. The goal of a corporation is to reflect the collective investment goals of its shareholders, because of its legal fiduciary function as prescribed by law. Because of this singular goal all other pursuits are non-existent, pursuits that we as humans ascribe a moral value. Corporations are not bound by any moral codes of behavior and hence are able to pursue their only goal profits at the expense of all other goals, even if this creates harm or death to others. This is evidenced by all of the corporate scandals, death, and mayhem visited upon us by the pursuit of profit margins and share price. Let’s not be fooled despite those feel-good corporate image commercials, corporations do not have a conscience to express.

What does all this history have to do with democracy today you may ask? It is relevant because we are expecting corporations to behave like citizens and people and they cannot. Because they have no conscience to prick, to expect them to stop using their money to influence and buy government officials because of our outrage is foolish and naïve. Make no mistake it is not just the Republicans that do the bidding of the corporations, it is the Democrats as well. There does not seem to be a shortage of corporate lackeys taking their turns at the troughs of corporate money. These corporations have poisoned our political dialog and have short circuited our democracy. Until both parties get serious about reigning in the corporations we will just be spitting into the wind with any talk of political change.

How is it possible that the majority of Americans can be against a bill or a policy and yet that bill or policy still goes forward? As long as we continue to allow money to pollute our system, we have no democracy. It is funny how others can see what we have become so blind to. It is not cultural or racial why others in the world do not want our democracy; they see the hypocrisy of it all. They recognize that corporations will reign over the people, that the pursuit of profits will create an immoral entity that will overrule the will of the people.

I believe that to return to government for the people, by the people we will need to begin to reform our system. I propose beginning in 3 areas, while these are not cure-alls they will atleast begin to reverse the current trend. Please continue to follow this series for my proposals.



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