Image from Web Urbanist
Dear Letter2Trump Writers and Readers,
I propose that our government, like our medical system, is broken, and Trump is simply a symptom of that broken system. Just as our medical system treats symptoms, rather than getting at the causes of disease, we are treating the symptom (Trump) of a diseased government, rather than getting at the cause. I’d like to share the writings of two critics who explore the cause.
In a recent article from Truthdig, (“This is What A Pseudo-Democracy Looks Like”) Norman Solomon states: “With vast income inequality and corporate power, this country’s oligarchy keeps consolidating itself—largely hidden in plain sight—normalized and embossed on the wallpaper of mass-media echo chambers. Several decades of ominous trend lines have brought us to dire tipping points. …the power of billionaires, huge banks and Wall Street over U.S. politics is …dominant, while a propaganda fog diverts attention from their antidemocratic leverage. An array of news media (including “public” outlets like NPR) and corporate politicians, unwilling to acknowledge let alone challenge the reality of an oligarchy in the United States, love to point accusatory fingers elsewhere.
“Oligarchs like Sheldon Adelson, Jeff Bezos (the richest person in the world; owner of Amazon and The Washington Post), Charles Koch, David Koch, Robert Mercer and Rupert Murdoch are wielding enormous power at many levels of the political economy and social zeitgeist, while corporate America functions with expanding latitude and increasing impunity. The extreme concentrations of wealth and economic power equal extreme concentrations of political power.
“Noam Chomsky is correct when he calls the present-day Republican Party ‘the most dangerous organization in world history.’ …Fighting the GOP right is only part of the imperative. We need an ongoing and escalating grass-roots challenge to the national leadership of the Democratic Party, which remains aligned with Wall Street and the warfare state. The tasks ahead involve strengthening progressive populist movements to gain power inside and outside of electoral arenas.”
More specifically, Jim Hightower, in his latest newsletter The Hightower Lowdown, focuses on the corporate power of Jeff Bezos and Amazon. He states: “…Amazon is totally re-writing the rules of the game, supersizing its piles of public money without even having to go door to door.” Bezos has started a bidding war among major cities, Mexico, and Canada to scam their tax payers into paying for a second headquarters that supposedly includes as “many as 50,000 high-paying jobs.” Bezos list of “incentives” include: “a business-friendly environment,” “contributions of land, site preparation, tax credits/exemptions, relocation grants, workforce grants, utility incentives/grants, and fee reductions”…and “a highly-educated labor pool, an international airport with direct daily flights to key cities,” quality of life where “our employees will enjoy living,” and “elected officials eager and willing to work with the company.” In fact, Amazon, “In 2014 alone, … cost cities and states an estimated $625 million in sales tax and $420 million in lost property taxes. At Tax payers’ expense, Amazon’s low overhead and prices drove thousands of local shops and … entire chains out of business.” (Hightower) Tucson, New York City, Seattle, and Stonecrest, Georgia hope Amazon will “choose their taxpayers to rip off.” Some cities, however, have said, “No thanks.” They are San Antonio, San Jose, and Little Rock; I suggest we emulate these cities in our own actions.
Both Hightower and Solomon recommend grass-roots action. I’d like to recommend some specific actions that we all take and urge our friends and families to take:
- STOP purchasing anything from Amazon. Shop at your locally owned cooperatives, clothing stores, and book stores.
- If you bank with any of the large, corporate banks, STOP. Move your money to a cooperative credit union or small, locally owned bank.
- Get involved with local politics, as well as national politics, and support progressive candidates.
- Tune in to local politics and get involved when any large corporation wants to move into your city. Don’t allow your city or State government to scam the tax payers by giving away “incentives.” Those are your tax dollars they’re giving away.
Profit is the bottom line for corporations. If we refuse to give them money, either directly or through the tax scams they entice our cities with, we take away their power. Always consider carefully where you spend your money.
Finally, check out the following, thoughtful newsletters and organizations:
- Truthdig.com, an alternative, on-line newsletter
- GoodJobsFirst.org (a public interest watchdog)
- Amazons’s Stranglehold (Institute for Local Self Reliance)
P.S. Some statistics on corporate job creation (from Good Jobs First):
- 386 incentive deals gave at least $50 million to a corporation. Good Jobs First tallied the number of jobs created since 1976. The average cost per job was $658,427.
- New York gave a $258 million subsidy to Yahoo and got 125 jobs ($2 million per job)
- Oregon awarded $2 billion to Nike and got 500 jobs ($4 million per job)
- North Carolina shelled out $321 million to Apple and got 50 jobs ($6.4 million per job)
- Louisiana handed $234 million to Valero Energy and got 15 jobs ($15.6 million per job)
Do you see a pattern here?