When I rail against Big Business today it is after careful examination of the facts and a compelling reality. I am not punitive in my castigation , rather I wish to turn back the clock to a time when Corporations served the people as benevolent benefactors. This is not today’s reality and I’m not happy with the evolution of the Gig Economy; a situation that allows the Corporation to plug people in or out of a job without concern for the ultimate consequences to their employees.
Higher wages are a salve but not the solution to greater job creation at all levels of income . We are still looking for meager benefits from the corporate world when we can can have a more equal way of life with more jobs for all, not a select few. When I worked for Ford and Pfizer they were profitable and productive, providing good paying jobs to thousands of workers for generations. As a capitalist worker, I was rewarded with a high salary, many raises and stock options. For years I traded 1000’s of shares of Pfizer stock, making a profit. I still purchase Lincoln’s.
Now, as I look at a decimated Middle Class, I can only shake my head and wonder what eroded the values of the “old time ” Corporations? I am reminded of the allegory of the boiling frog”, he boils so slowly, death almost comes as a surprise, without a whimper! After reading, Angus Deaton, the Nobel Prize winner in Economics for 2015, I am reminded, that our “old time ” Corporate values vanished when we treated Corporations as an elite group and let them prosper without taxing them like the rest of us.
According to Angus Deaton, who I have paraphrased, while quoting from his book, “The Great Escape”, health, wealth and the origins of inequality, he states, “Without an adequate capacity to tax, a state denies it’s citizens many of the protections that are taken for granted in a rich world. They may lack the protection of the law, because the courts do not work or are corrupt and the police may harass or exploit poor people instead of protecting them. People may be unable to start businesses, they may lack clean water, or their children may be exposed to potentially fatal diseases that may have been prevented. In short , if you can’t raise taxes, you can’t lift people out of poverty!
While he speaks about poverty in Nation States and Foreign Aide, I use his analysis to describe what we’re lacking in America. We are contributing to our “State of Inequality”, by making bad policy decisions and not insisting on accountability and responsibility for economic outcomes. You can’t throw money at a problem, you have to responsibly fund projects and have a measurable outcome for the people you are trying to help. That’s how you lift the poor and Middle Class up from this “State of Inequality”.
Instead, the corporation expects a free ride on the backs of their employees. AT&T wants to change, become more internet and data savvy, these Corporate goals have become the burden of it’s employees. In years past, the Corporation would pay full time employees, while they learned additional skills to achieve greater productivity. Not today. Not only do AT&T employees work normal hours, they’re now required to take online courses at their own expense and on their own time, to benefit their employer. Yes, the employee will profit, but at what cost? When will they have time for family life, health care? No wonder the gap in inequality has shaved years off of Middle Class lives. They work pay check to paycheck and now are required to add online classes after normal working hours?
Pardon me for my long memory, but I remember Bell Labs, paying full salary and tuition for talented young professionals . When this policy was enacted, the Corporation was taxed and profitable. Further, the young professional who obtained a higher degree was not bound to come back to Bell Labs. It was understood that higher education was a benefit to the Corporation and society. People were free to choose their path to upward mobility. They were not forced to benefit the Corporation at their own expense. What happened to the rights and values of we the people?
It is this loss of value that has propelled me to look at today’s reality. In this new era of Greed , corporate values have eroded as elite groups who enable corporate greed become wealthy at the expense of the multitudes. I say enough catering to a Global Corporate Entity that takes from Nations and gives nothing back.
Not convinced. Let’s look at the proposed rules for the upcoming TPP treaty. While I value trading with other Global partners, I want to protect the rights of small businesses and the Middle Class. Joseph Stiglitz has condemned this treaty because “it will cause the loss of jobs”. There is no increase in GDP projected for either America or Australia. Small drug producers and businesses may lose their proprietary property rights. Meanwhile, large Corporations are given significant powers which allow corporations to sue sovereign states , if the Corporation doesn’t like a ” deal”.
Small people do not have a private tribunal to negotiate terms. Only large corporations have special protection of their rights. I guess ” the Supreme Court” got it right, Corporations are People. They are an elite group, capable of evading and avoiding taxes, dictating terms to their employees and Nation States , alike! When did our fiscal policies go so wrong? We have created an entity that is accountable to no one. Remember, Network, the 1976 movie, the Corporate State has arrived, dictating terms to everyone on a Global scale. 7 Billion people held hostage to the Fortune 1000? But I digress, I am concerned with the Resurrection of the American Middle Class.
Are we for self determination or are we for the increased right of the corporation ?
The same Corporation called a “people” by the Supreme Court in Citizens United. Free speech indeed! Citizens United has stolen our Democracy . The Corporation and 154 large families, on both sides of the aisle , have bought the legislators and our elections. We are at a cross road, we can vote to restore the rights of the people or continue to feed the insatiable corporate beast. Think, and choose self determination . We’ve had the good life before, we don’t have to settle for very little, we can demand taxation with representation! In our country 360 million are being held hostage to Corporate rights, we’ve institutionalized their behavior, we can petition and vote to reverse wrong headed policy! One way or another we the people will suffer, let’s suffer taking back our Democracy and restoring the rights of the people.!