by Pam Martens and Russ Martens, Wall Street On Parade:
As if someone had quietly turned on a light bulb last month illuminating the corporate takeover of America, a series of articles from multiple outlets chronicled the demise of American democracy under the jackboot of the corporate state.
David Dayen at the New Republic wrote:
“Far from selfless arbiters of right and wrong, CEOs are as responsible as anyone in America for skyrocketing inequality, climate crisis, waves of consumer fraud, and the biggest financial meltdown since the Depression. Condemning the unpopular views of an unpopular president whom they see as an inferior businessman is no sacrifice, especially when they are simultaneously plotting with administration officials to win as many perks as possible. CEOs aren’t ‘finding their voice’; they’re finding a way to control government like a marionette, while hiding the strings.”
Last week, Don Kopf, writing for Quartz, provided more clarity. Citing newly released research, Kopf wrote:
“According to economists Jan De Loecker of Princteon University and Jan Eeckhout of the University College London, this basically describes the US economy since 1980. In a recently released paper, De Loecker and Eeckhout analyzed the balance sheets of listed companies from 1950 to 2014. (In 2014, these firms accounted for around 40% of all sales.) They found that average markups, defined as the amount above cost at which a product is sold, have shot up since 1980. The average markup was 18% in 1980, but by 2014 it was nearly 70%.”
And John Light of Moyers & Company wrote about the latest efforts to further pervert representative government through more unbridled corporate financing of political campaigns. Light explained that there are “three riders deep inside the House appropriations bill” intended to “bar federal agencies from enforcing campaign finance laws.” One insidious rider is aimed at a Federal Election Commission rule, says Light, and would allow “every trade association under the sun to receive money from a given corporation during that year.” Light explains:
“These trade associations are already powerful groups, some of which are well known publicly, such as the American Petroleum Institute or the US Chamber of Commerce. Some of them are more obscure, like the Association for Christian Retail. But most exist to lobby for policies that would help their members’ bottom lines, sometimes at the expense of workers, the economy, or the environment. If these riders pass the House, these groups will have a much larger war chest with which to punch their agendas through.”