Sunday, January 24, 2010

Public Interest vs. Corporate Interest

Free market fans will try and tell you that corporations support public interest by competing amongst each other to offer the best products, thereby leaving it up to the consumer to choose who will indeed succeed and who won't, in this glorious deregulated market. They will say that government regulations stifle the American dream, that they squash a company's ability to be all it can be.
Let me say bullshit. The free market theory has been tested in numerous countries all across the globe. The lab results are in. It sucks. Regulations serve as protectors of competition and public interest. Free market ideology allows the biggest corporations to do whatever the hell they want, because they are answerable to no one, not the people and not the government.
Take our friends up at Wall Street, in particular Citi Group. Citi recently hiked up interest rates to astronomical levels. When questioned, the only response was that it was the fault of the customers for not paying back their loans. Um...what?! This coming from a company who has yet to pay back $25 billion of a $45 billion handout?!
Simply put, Wall Street knows that they can play high risk. Uncle Sam will be there to break the fall. They keep the winnings and distribute the losses on the little people down below, via bailouts and interest hikes, job losses, privatization and unaccountability.
It's our job to hold them accountable. The government is supposed to be a reflection of the people that they govern. Is that true?
Between now and December 15th, Phil Angelides and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission will try to get to the bottom of this financial meltdown. I wish them all the best. In an age when corporate interests headed by cocky, overpaid lobbyists take precedence, I fear it will take more than a commission to break down the over-inflated pedestal these corporations and financial institutions find themselves on.
What do you think?

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