Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Corporate Power Decried By Former Lawmaker

From the Huffington Post courtesy of AlterNet:

Lawmakers rarely speak candidly about the relationship between large corporations and government, avoiding the ugly realities surrounding campaign contributions and legalized corruption. But occasionally when lawmakers leave office, they're more frank about the intersection of business and politics. In an interview with The Huffington Post, former Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) issued a stark warning about the government's inability to rein in the growing power of multinational corporations.

"Because [corporations] have become so international and global in nature, it's highly questionable whether governments can actually control corporations to a sufficient degree to prevent them from controlling governments," said Kanjorski, who served for 26 years in the House of Representatives until he was ousted last year amid a swarm of Republican congressional victories.

Two of the most worrying examples of the increasing ungovernability of corporations, Kanjorksi argued, are the current push to bestow tax breaks on American firms for stashing capital overseas and the failure to implement a new rule breaking up too-big-to-fail banks.


Kanjorski said his proposal did not imply that the U.S. government needs to micromanage corporate affairs. There's a difference, he said, between limiting corporate power in order to preserve a viable economic architecture and dictating how every aspect of a business ought to operate.

"I'm not saying we should get involved in capital in all things, but where it's abusive, you damn well should."

More here.

I love it when you get such honesty. Usually, outgoing Congressmen keep their mouths shut about all the corruption because they're absolutely depending on corporate largess so they can make the big bucks in the private sector after their years of public service have come to an end. But not this guy. He's speaking his mind, and damn the traditional hush money. I particularly like this because whenever I talk about how the corporations control everything it's very easy to dismiss my assertions because I'm just some guy with long hair--I mean, of course the hippies are always talking about the evil corporations. But when a Congressman says it, he's speaking from first hand experience. It bears a lot more weight, more ethos as they call it in public speaking classes.

Of course, Kanjorski isn't quite saying the same thing I am. I go all the way. I say that democracy is over, that the corporations bought it cheap, and all that's left is the void-of-substance formal theater we call "voting" and "debate." But the former representative hedges a bit, talking about it being "questionable" as to whether corporations can now control the government. For me, it's the same difference. That is, if we really have to sit down and seriously question who actually runs the country, its people or the vastly wealthy and highly influential economic organizations known as corporations, we're already in a big heap of trouble.

I mean, if there's any doubt at all that the government is not of, by, and for the people, then we're definitely headed down the wrong track.

I also like how Kanjorski heads off the usual establishment retort to such rhetoric: regulating corporate ability to subvert the people's will is not the same thing as socialistic state control of industry. I mean, if you listen to the GOP, hell, if you listen to Obama, pushing the corporations out of the Capitol is tantamount to joining the Communist Party. But that's just corporate propaganda designed to stop this much needed discussion in its tracks before it actually gets people thinking.

That is, if you're going to have big business, you must necessarily have big government. I mean, if you're cool with democracy. If you're all for rule by the wealthy, small government is the way to go.