corporatocracy american style

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Corporatocracy:

a term used to suggest an economic and political system controlled by corporations or corporate interests.[1] It is a generally pejorative term often used by critics of the current economic situation in a particular country, especially the United States.[2][3] The term has been used by liberal and left-leaning critics, but also some economic libertarian critics and other political observers across the political spectrum.[2][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] Economist Jeffrey Sachs described the US as a corporatocracy in his book The Price of Civilization.[18] He suggested that it arose from four trends: weak national parties and strong political representation of individual districts, the large U.S. military establishment after World War II, big corporate money financing election campaigns, and globalization tilting the balance away from workers.[18]

The term was used by author John Perkins in his 2004 book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, where he described corporatocracy as a collective composed of corporations, banks, and governments.[4]This collective is known as what author C Wright Mills would call the Power Elite. The Power Elite are wealthy individuals who hold prominent positions in Corporatocracies. These individuals control the process of determining society’s economic and political policies.[19]

The concept has been used in explanations of bank bailouts, excessive pay for CEOs, as well as complaints such as the exploitation of national treasuries.

The New American Corporatocracy

Keith Olberman speaks out against the growing influence of corporations within our nation and electoral process. We already live in a Corporatocracy in many ways, corporate lobbyist ensure that private companies and banks are allowed to destroy lives…

What used to be a democracy in America we can now call a corporatocracy, a very different thing indeed. The “collective will” of the people is no longer the determining force that drives political decisions such as the preservation of our environment, the welfare system, civil rights, and how your tax dollars are spent in general.

Rather, large transnatinal corporations have bribed and bought the political weasels in Washington, called politicians, or worse, political leaders, who pander to their singular drive for profit at any cost. A democracy is only as good as the leaders who govern and voters who support them.

It’s a long-established fact that voter apathy in America leads to appalling participation in the political process, which weakens the entire system of checks and balances against government fraud and tyranny. This is one major probem.

What most people don’t realize is that behind the scenes in the White House, politicians are comfortably in bed with CEO’s of major corporations deciding things such as tax policy. Matt Stoller at Truthout.org writes how the “steady stream of corporate CEOs flowed in and out of the White House to discuss the impending fiscal cliff”. It’s no surprise that bigwigs from Goldman Sachs were distinguished guests and participants at some of the most important political decisions our government makes, as they seem to own a fairly large piece of it.

So after whittling away all the inflated rhetoric, the fiscal cliff is really not about how the country will manage its economy fairly and responsibly, but who will connive their way into getting more money for themselves. “This is what the fiscal cliff is about – who gets the money,” writes Stoller. The corporate sector is “a key negotiating partner”. “The negotiations over the fiscal cliff involve more than the Democrats, Republicans, the middle class and the wealthy. The corporate sector is here in force as well.”

While the Republicans were seen caving on tax breaks for the wealthy, CEO’s were secretly lobbying for “what’s known as “tax extenders”, or roughly $205B of tax breaks for corporations.” Took your eye off the ball, didn’t you?

So who were some of the lucky VIP’s invited to Obama’s house party to see who would get what size piece of your money?

1) Tax break extension for NASCAR racetracks “projected to cost $43 million over two years”. That would have been a nice little trust fund for impoverished children who desperately need better schools or health insurance, or even decent food to eat.

2) About $165 million to private railroads for maintenance of their tracks. “It’s unclear why private businesses should be compensated for their costs of doing business.”

3) A cool $150 million or so for Hollywood studios. It’s great that our government has finally discovered the wonderful enrichment that art brings to all our lives. But why is the money flowing to the rich moguls who own the studios instead of the poor struggling artists waiting tables?

4) Tax breaks for mining companies to buy safety equipment and train workers how not to die in mining accidents. Again, why are we paying for this?

5) It always good to disguise the real targets of your largesse by using deeply emotive fodder to lure the brain from its moorings. Using rhetoric that would make the Patriot Act flush with envy, tax-exempt financing for the “York Liberty Zone” — area damaged by the 9/11 attack staged by the CIA — “was, according to Bloomberg, “little more than a subsidy for fancy Manhattan apartments and office towers for Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Corp.” Sweet.

6) More lavish, endless funding for banksters. Targeting “offshore” business, this provision “allows American corporations such as banks and manufactures to engage in certain lending practices and not pay taxes on income earned”. You didn’t know about this?

7) Another provision “allows US multinationals to not pay taxes on income earned by companies they own abroad.” If you’re an individual living and working abroad, you’re still expected to file tax returns and are essentially regarded as slave property of the State.

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living or traveling outside the United States, you generally are required to file income tax returns, estate tax returns, and gift tax returns and pay estimated tax in the same way as those residing in the United States.

So if US citizens are “generally” required to pay taxes even if they live and work outside of the country, why is the government making special tax provisions for corporations? Could this have anything to do with the fact that the US government is now for all practical purposes, and despite appearances to the contrary, a corporatocracy?

8) Throw in another $120 billion or so in “Bonus Depreciation, R&D Tax Credit”. Still not convinced you’ve been had? David Sirota at Salon writes that, “the fiscal cliff] is “real” but not real — [and] defines contemporary politics… those few watching at home almost certainly sensed that it was all a scripted production — one whose outcome was predetermined.” He makes the following points.

Democracy? A Tragedy

Democracy? A Tragedy (Photo credit: Byzantine_K)

1) “Clinton’s tax rates delivered big budget surpluses and one of history’s strongest rates of economic growth. By contrast, President Bush’s cuts to those tax rates birthed massive deficits and the slowest rate of economic growth in modern history.”

2) Remember how the Fiscal Cliff was supposed to help us reduce budget deficits? “According to the Congressional Budget Office, the final bill will increase the budget deficit by $4 trillion”.

3) “Corporate welfare is sacrosanct: For all the effort to make wasteful spending the villain in the “fiscal cliff” TV show, Congress ultimately refused to touch that spending. Somehow, defense contractor largess in the bloated Pentagon budget was off the table. Somehow, subsidies to corporate agribusiness were separated from the negotiations and then extended. Meanwhile, as the Roosevelt Institution’s Matt Stoller documented, the final “fiscal cliff” bill included taxpayer handouts for everything from NASCAR racetracks, to Hollywood studios, to a new Goldman Sachs headquarters.”

So, you still think Washington politicians are working for you? Do you believe you still have a say in how your country is run? Is this still a government “of the people” and “for the people”? Or is your worst nightmare finally coming true?

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