... is a vote to complete the takeover of America by big corporations. Take the history of affordable, accessible health care in America.
When I want to step back and get a broad view of what's going on in the world of capitalism, I have the luxury of talking with Robert A.G. Monks. Bob Monks is a shareholder activist, author and committed capitalist. I asked him how the practical effects of the strange notion of corporate personhood has affected how we govern ourselves.
Summarizing Mr. Monks' assessment:
- The corporate perspective dominates political considerations.
- A prime example: American health care is the world's most expensive and much less effective than health care in other developed countries, which have single-payer systems.
- Given the clout of interested corporations, such a single-payer system cannot even be realistically discussed in America today.
- By acknowledging the current reality, President Obama achieved what Presidents Clinton, Johnson, Truman and Roosevelt could not.
- To address our health care challenges, large businesses in the field had to be effectively bribed.
- The American political agenda is being framed almost exclusively by corporate interests.
Some who run big corporations and are among the one percent are not afflicted with purblind self-interest. Bob Monks, who is certainly among the one percent, has argued regularly and persuasively for more than 30 years that corporate power and its abuses are destroying capitalism along with our collective well-being. He also insists that profits are an insufficient metric for human well-being. Though rare, he is blessedly not alone.
In the old days, individuals and businesses would occasionally bribe a senator or a Congressman or a government official to get special considerations. In a peculiar reversal, we now have the routine oddity of the government bribing big corporations in order to be allowed to serve the public interest. This opens the door for rich new varieties of crony capitalism, one definition of which is:
... an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of dirigisme.
Unfortunately this definition also includes the archaic notion that the flow of influence and power is from politics to business. That flow is now firmly reversed, thanks to the fiction of corporate personhood and the political power of seriously big bucks.
So, if you're a fan of crony capitalism, if you trust Exxon, Goldman Sachs, KBR, Monsanto, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and their crony kin to look after you and your community, Mitt Romney and the Republicans is your kind of band. Go ahead, help complete the Corporate TakeOver. Dance while the walls of the city shake.
Overwhelming evidence suggests that your trust is misplaced and is already heartily abused. I don't trust the band and I don't like the music.