Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hoffa: Politics is about corporate power vs. the people

My boss, Jim Hoffa, wrote a terrific column in the Detroit News today about how nuts it is to describe politicians as "left" or "right."

He says that it doesn't make sense to talk about politicians as "liberal," "conservative," or "moderate." It only makes sense to describe them as pro-corporation or pro-ordinary American.
If you understand politics as a battle between liberal and conservative, then you don't understand politics at all.

The central political battle today is between the corporate billionaires on one side and the little guy on the other. The fight is about whether the government should protect corporate power to enrich a few billionaires, or restrict corporate power to protect the liberty and property of the average American.

He writes that the government isn't doing enough to help ordinary workers because corporations have way too much power.

Corporate power explains why the U.S. hasn't made the transformation to renewable energy. It's why we can't trust our food, drugs or toys to be safe. It's why we're struggling to develop new industries. It's why workers' wages have stagnated or fallen over the past decade and why so many families are losing their homes.

It's why so many jobs moved offshore so quickly. U.S. multinationals now employ one-third of their work force overseas.

A single corporate billionaire -- FedEx chairman Fred Smith -- has actually held up funding for the entire Federal Aviation Administration for three years. He doesn't like the bill because it puts FedEx back under the same labor law that all other delivery companies have to follow.

Hoffa also makes a good point about how corporations hide their intentions. This is especially important right now because the Supreme Court lets corporations spend millions of dollars secretly on their candidates. The corporations realize that people wouldn't believe their attack ads if they knew who was behind them.

Hoffa writes,
...corporations have been wily about disguising their plans to further concentrate their wealth and influence. They're adept at creating phony populist groups that claim to support individual freedom.

He also has a message for the tea partiers: If you're worried about individual freedom, you should worry about the concentration of corporate power.
It's the banks, not the government, that are taking people's homes away from them without even making sure they have the right to foreclose on them. Last onth, Jason Grodensky paid cash for a home in Florida, only to have the bank sell it out from under him in a foreclosure "mistake."

Just the other day, Nancy Jacobini was alone inside her Florida home when she heard someone breaking into her front door. She locked herself in the bathroom and called 911. It turns out the intruder was someone who worked for JP Morgan Chase. He was changing the locks on her home, something he had no legal right to do.

Does anyone think the banks want government to "interfere" with the "free market" and make sure they stop breaking into people's homes and selling houses they don't own? Of course not. But does anyone really think it's "conservative" to let powerful banks steal people's property?