Corporate Greed Crashes Middle Class

It wasn't that long ago, the rant was to let a businessman run the country. The point was for an 'individual' like as 'one' person take the helm. What we got instead was control of the government by business.

After the purge of middle management from their ranks, CEOs unleashed lobbyists to convince Senate and House officials to enhance their corporate model. In favor of self-regulation, the government deregulated banks, media, gas and oil, retail and the industrial corridor. Government was open to the idea of a competitive economy that efficiently kept American wages in check with the global market. Free trade agreements exported raw material and American manufacturing jobs to developing economies. To balance the equation, imported finished goods took the place of 'Made In America.' Big corporations successfully promoted these goods to an unsuspecting public with fractionally lower prices but void of consumer protection against inferior goods and dangerous content. Profits rose.

Customer service became a third-world phenomenon. Jokes abounded about our inability to understand the words technicians read from a prepared sheet. Technology was good for business and they laughed too as huge blocks of American jobs were outsourced to cheaper labor. Warranties became an end of sale product without guarantee you'd get satisfaction or a refund.  The communication nuisance put a barrier between consumer and manufacturer. Sales stayed sold. Profit was good.

And successful businesses piled up campaign dollars. Even more efficiency was possible when virtual rubber-stamped mergers took out competition of product and duplication of jobs. What power brokers envied, they took. What was unbeneficial was stripped of assets, then made redundant. There was no monetary value to employee loyalty and the benefits package was an albatross around the neck of parent companies. Once again, the business pattern held up. And the mouse trap on free enterprise snapped shut.

When the taxman came calling, the whining became epidemic. Executives took their cut, dividend payments kept investors on the hook, capital gains churned over into options and futures, loopholes were maximized and still too much taxable income remained on the books. By any standard the amount was obscene and corporate America found a way to keep the lion's share their genius had created. In a blip the excess riches were moved offshore to tax havens the IRS could not touch. The legal maneuver was a profit write off.

And legally, the money found its way to the Wall Street playground. The only thing I know about the stock market is it isn't for the weak-hearted. Also, it isn't for small changers (that's the middle class.) Your portfolio and 401K are the first victims of a downturn. They are fluctuating gadgets the moneyed players use. If the stock market is successful only for business, why is it used as the measure of a country's economic health? It is an elitist currency, either real or existing only on paper.

The hard workers of America lived a high-scale American dream. It's nothing like the collapsed middle-class version where one works more hours for lower salary and struggles with inflation. Wage earners can be down-sized without notice. They are glad just to have a job. It grated on me when former President Bill Clinton told an interviewer he spent $5 million on his daughter's wedding. Worth it or not, the casual way the amount was brushed aside said there was no recession at the 1% level.

We do not arrive at the 1% and 99% divide as a single nation and it is not a simple economic strategy, nor did it happen all at once. It was a cleverly orchestrated process of business moving toward an unprecedented model of global domination by the few. At the time of taxpayer bailouts to arrogant 'Too Big To Fail' companies, there was belief our leaders would divert a crisis from becoming a catastrophe. Now we contend with Red States and their business-friendly legislation that further cripples the people socially and economically. The jobs are not coming.

The middle class is caught in this crunch between recession and depression. Pushback is coming from global populations in reaction to the imbalance. We want to be heard when we say social programs are a needed expenditure of our tax dollars. We want to pay our share for the pie and also have a slice of it.

Those elected into office in November must find the moral courage to stand with the people to stop this global gobblization. Close loopholes and end corporate welfare. Make a new businesses model that will ensure investment in people is a desired asset. Be certain world poverty is not the theme or a footnote in your legacy.

 

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