It appears that any remaining Greek sovereignty (that being most importantly, the voice of the citizens) is now being taken away by the big European banks, including the European Central Bank. As the IMF gets ready to bailout Greece’s banks, the US (taxpayer money!) will be contributing 780 million dollars, money that could certainly be used at home, as we are in a budget battle that will probably cost lower income families benefits in Social Security and Medicare. The IMF and EU are making a 9 billion Euro profit off the Ireland bailout. That could be used to give 2,000 Euro to every citizen of Ireland, but it obviously will not be used it this way, but will instead pad executives pockets. The aid packages to Egypt and Tunisia given by the United States and other western countries will only strengthen the military states currently ruling (because they are the ones getting the money of course) and will not foster change. The Palestinian authority on the other hand, will not be able to pay their public employees because of lack of foreign aid. In Haiti, there was low voter turnout in the most recent election because all of the candidates were massively unpopular and handpicked by business interests. This followed a Bush Administration approved coup of the popular President in the early part of the century. According to a Gallup poll from 2002, majorities on every continent believe governments do not represent the will of the people. Russia continues to be one of the most blatant oligarchies, as left opposition parties are banned, and the richest of the rich rule the political world. Don’t sing a Lee Greenwood song just yet, because America is basically no different than Russia or Haiti in the democracy department. There is just not much in American politics that resembles democracy. As Chris Hayes writes: “In the past decade, nearly every pillar institution in American society — whether it’s General Motors, Congress, Wall Street, Major League Baseball, the Catholic Church or the mainstream media — has revealed itself to be corrupt, incompetent or both” There are few opinion pieces that I really find myself enjoying and could see writing the same thing (less eloquently of course), but Hayes’ piece is one of those, as polls show that he is absolutely right. To make matters worse, the only “post-recession” economic recovery has been for the corporations, as the average worker and person is still suffering mightily. Wall Street just came off its best week in two years, even as official unemployment has risen.
The ever so hyper-partisan PoliticusUSA swings and misses at the problem “Conservatives though, have taken inequality, destructiveness, and suffering of the masses to a level the Founders could have never imagined.”. They use the word Republican and Conservative interchangeably. Whether one likes Conservative Libertarian ideology or not, it is hard to insist that the ideology is embodied by the Republican party’s destructive path (encouraged by the Democrat establishment) or their media lackeys. Stop calling them conservatives, the religious couple in Kansas that vote Republican and attend Tea Party rallies are not the reason the United States (or any other country) is where it is today.
There are whole government agencies (outside of the usual, like Congress, Courts and the Presidency) that do nothing but work for corporations. Conservative Timothy Carney points out: “Ex-Im (the Export-Import Bank) puts taxpayer money on the line to boost the sales of Boeing, GE, Halliburton, Bechtel, and Westinghouse.” The Treasury Department works for the big banks. Timothy Geithner has proved to be a great Treasury Secretary for Wall Street, and now that he may be leaving, an even more (which is almost impossible to imagine) pro-Wall Street executive may be installed. Goldman Sachs gets it, as they are now stepping up their lobbying efforts. They now are spending 4 times as much on lobbing now as they did in 05. They are especially known for a lack of transparency in their lobbying. There are whispers of a possible QE3, despite denials by the Fed. QE2 was a very simple program, it printed money and gave it to rich banksters (many of them foreign and having nothing to do with the American economy) and the oligarchs. CNBC insists almost everyday that Wall Street doesn’t want QE3, but this suggestion is quite amusing. During the Fed’s secret loan program in 08, Lehman Brothers borrowed 18 billion dollars. Senate Democrats have been meeting with CEOs so the executives can lecture and teach Democrats how to create jobs. Republicans have been blocking a database that would protect consumers by informing them about unsafe and faulty products. Michael Bloomberg has taken the task of defending Wal-Mart and calling them a “job creator” (Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the United States, but it also destroys American jobs by both using so many imports, and paying their workers so little that they are able to run all other businesses out of a town), it could have nothing to do with Wal-Mart making a 4 million dollar donation to his city. The Auto Industry is now lobbying for handouts and subsidies in return for emission standards. They are taking the government and climate hostage. This should concern us and make us ask whether or not corporations have too much power. We often hear of Big Government, and polls show that most people don’t want that, but polls also show that Wall Street and Big Business have too much power as well. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is now asking the Koch brothers (yes the same Charles and David Koch that have been rightly critiqued by Democratic publications for quite some time now) for money. Koch industries is also admitting illegal campaign contributions in another case. They had to pay a grand total of 4,700 dollars in fines. I am sure this is sufficient punishment to stop these things from happening again. The Onion had a humorous article where the American people hired a lobbyist to represent them. If only it were true:
“The 310-million-member group said it will rely on Weldon’s considerable clout to ensure its concerns are taken into account when Congress addresses issues such as education, immigration, national security, health care, transportation, the economy, affordable college tuition, infrastructure, jobs, equal rights, taxes, Social Security, the environment, housing, the national debt, agriculture, energy, alternative energy, nutrition, imports, exports, foreign relations, the arts, and crime.”
Chris Hayes ends his piece with the words “For at the end of the day, it’s the job of citizens to save elites from themselves.” Many historians believe that it was egalitarianism that allowed humans to survive in the first place. This isn’t good news for a society with rigid hierarchy and vast inequality.