Economy and Business
Coal, oil, gas, and nukes have mounted a powerful defense against altering the status quo, and local utility companies daily build more legislative walls guarding their potent existing cartels. Public utility regulators remain cozy with those utilities, and the regional agencies in charge of seeing that there’s enough juice to go around remain deeply secretive and deep in the industry’s pocket.
As much as liberals would wish it otherwise, Joe Stack, the fellow who flew his plane into an IRS building in Austin, TX, was no right-wing nutcase.
No one likes to talk about taxes in a positive light, but the truth is that our nation has built a remarkable marketplace for enterprise and wealth creation. Taxes paid for the public investments in research, education, infrastructure and technology that made this possible. They paid for law enforcement and orderly marketplaces. These public investments buoyed my personal opportunities and wealth. I am certain they have done the same for millions of other Americans.
Did you ever notice how it works? Sell your cousin a joint for some harmless fun and you both end up in jail. But manufacture cigarettes that kill tens of thousands of people and not only do you earn billions of dollars, you avoid all risk of hard time. Lawsuits may cost you something but your personal freedom is never at stake. And presumably if you had a conscience you wouldn’t have gone into the business to begin with.
It was one of those bold policy decisions made by President George “The Decider” Bush. In 2005, to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, Bush directed that an electronic “virtual fence” be built to detect “bad guys” trekking into our country. Of course, like all things Bush, he privatized the project, turning it over to Boeing.
Like the five-man majority of Supreme Court justices, perhaps you’ve been worried sick over the possibility that corporations just don’t have enough power over our government. If so, let me soothe your fevered brow by showing that election spending is just one path that corporations take to buy our government. Many other lanes are also open to them. There, feel better now?
In this period of painfully partisan politics, it’s too easy for the focus to be on who won today, instead of the American people’s needs. We’re witnessing just that in two roiling debates–one over the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), another over the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Sallie Mae isn’t one of those girls who’re made of “sugar and spice and everything nice.” Well, she is filled with sugar, but it comes from you and me, thanks to a longtime sweetheart deal she has from the federal government.
The United Nations will host a Haiti donors’ conference at the end of March.
This conference will be quite different from last year’s event, of course, coming as it does on the heels of the worst earthquake to strike Haiti in two centuries. An agenda has already begun to take shape: It’s already clear that a future Haiti must be populated with environmentally sustainable, earthquake-resistant buildings, for example, and it’s also clear that the international community must do something to ease Haiti’s massive debt burden.
America’s No. 1 growth industry is health care. No one has yet found No. 2. This preeminent role is not due to deadly epidemics, environmental meltdown, or massive public education. It’s due to greed.