A political-economic oligarchy has taken over the United States of America
Published on Global Research.ca, by Prof. John Kozy, July 4, 2009.
A political-economic oligarchy has taken over the United States of America. This oligarchy has institutionalized a body of law that protects businesses at the expense of not only the common people but the nation itself.
CNN interviewed a person recently who was seriously burned when his vehicle burst into flames because a plastic brake-fluid reservoir ruptured. Having sued Chrysler, he was now concerned that its bankruptcy filing would enable Chrysler to avoid paying any damages. A CNN legal expert called this highly likely, since the main goal of reorganization in bankruptcy is preserving the company’s viability and that those creditors who could contribute most to attaining that goal would be compensated first while those involved in civil suits against the company would be placed lowest on the creditor list since compensating them would lessen the chances of the company’s surviving. This rational clearly implies that the preservation of companies is more important than the preservation of people. Of course, similar cases have been reported before. The claims of workers for unpaid wages have often been dismissed as have their contracts for benefits.
But there is an essential difference between a business that lends money or delivers products or services to another company and the employees who work for it. Business is an activity that supposedly involves risk. Employment is not. Neither is unknowingly buying a defective product. Workers and consumers do not extend credit to the companies they work for or buy products from. They are not in any normal sense of the word “creditors.” Yet that distinction is erased in bankruptcy proceedings which preserve companies at the public’s expense.
Of course, bankruptcy is not the only American practice that makes use of this principle. The current bailout policies of both the Federal Reserve and the Treasury make use of it. Again companies are being saved at the expense of the American people. America’s civil courts are notorious for favoring corporate defendants when sued by injured plaintiffs. Corporate profiteering is not only tolerated, it is often encouraged. The sordid records of both Halliburton and KBR are proof enough. Neither has suffered any serious consequences for their abysmal activities in Iraq while supplying services to the troops deployed there. Even worse, these companies continue to get additional contracts from the Department of State. “A former Army chaplain who later worked for Halliburton’s KBR unit . . . told Congress . . . ‘KBR came first, the soldiers came second.’” [http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/news/deyoung.html] Again, it’s companies first, people last. But Major General Smedley Butler made this point in 1935. [See http://www.scuttlebuttsmallchow.com/racket.html] And everyone is familiar with the influence corporate America has over the Congress through campaign contributions and lobbying. For instance, “the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has earmarked $20 million over two years to kill [card check].” [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-card-check4-2009jun04,0,7195326.story?track=rss] Companies expect returns on their money, and preventing workers from unionizing offers huge returns. And on Thursday June 4, 2009 USA Today reported that, “Republicans strongly oppose a government run [healthcare] plan saying it would put private companies insuring millions of Americans out of business. ‘A government run plan would set artificially low prices that private insurers would have no way of competing with,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said . . . .” (Kentucky ranks fifth highest in the number of people with incomes below poverty. Why is he worried about the survival of insurers?)
The profound question is how can any of it be justified? … (full long text).