Economics and Government01 Nov 2010 08:02 pm

I can’t remember a time in which business and government weren’t thought of as being radically different and usually opposed to one another. Businesses labeled the government as intrusive and inefficient. The standard line was that government jobs and decisions wouldn’t survive in the real and competitive world of business.

If the government were a business, it was often said, the government would be out of business in no time. Government jobs were often characterized as “cushy” and had little need for productivity or efficiency.

The government was also viewed as a populist police force in which business success and progress was impeded by government’s policies and tax practices. Without government intervention the belief was “the sky was the limit” for the success and wealth of corporate America.

I’ll have to admit I never saw it that way, and as time has passed I think it is becoming increasingly apparent that there is little difference between government and business. In fact, in many ways the US government appears to be little more than a very large and powerful business enterprise.

Those acknowledging the more business friendly attitude of government throughout the years usually start by pointing out the increasing power and influence of special interest groups. Numerous trade policies, the destruction of the labor unions, and business friendly policies and tax laws are directly attributable to the monetary and legal influence of the business world acquired through the omnipresence of lobbyists in Washington.

The increased presence of the media through radio, newspapers, TV and the internet has made the success of political campaigns more dependent on highly expensive ad campaigns. The more elections are dependent on larger and larger funds the more crucial the role of campaign donations. Since wealth and business go hand in hand, it is easy to see how the role and importance of corporate America has become in national elections and even at times in local elections.

In a democracy the existence and survival of politicians is dependent on their being elected and the more elections are dominated by donations and monetary issues the more politicians are dependent on the support of business (corporate America). This reality has made it difficult for those opposed to the priorities and political platforms of the wealthiest of American’s to get sufficiently funding for their campaigns or get and stay elected.

Though these realities are difficult to ignore many still believe that mavericks and populist candidates can and do exist and get elected. Without media coverage no candidate can win a national campaign. Those few families who own the major media outlets are amongst the wealthiest people in the nation. Believing that these people do not protect their interests and influence the coverage produced by their employees is quite wishful thinking.

In most cases it takes money to attract money. Our entire political system is becoming increasingly dominated by wealthy people both as supporters and as candidates. This is not to say that the wealthiest candidate will win an election but more accurately that one will not become a national candidate without being wealthy or a friend of wealth. The majority of national candidates entered politics with a good deal of money while some were not themselves wealthy but found ways to get the support and backing of wealthy donors.

In other words as time marches on the national political scene in the US is being dominated by wealthy US businessmen and lawyers. Those running our country, Congress and the state legislatures and their governors are wealthy American businessmen.

When one has spent their entire professional careers being a successful businessman do you think they change their methods, practices and priorities once they become elected? Yesterdays corporate heads are today’s national political leaders and cabinet members. Those who govern today were yesterdays business leaders, and those few national leaders who weren’t business leaders before getting into office become wealthy business leaders when they leave office. If that doesn’t show you their loyalties and priorities than nothing will.

Our government is a business, a very large and powerful business. The old saw that business is efficient and government is inefficient should after all the recent bailouts be proven to be false. American businesses have not been efficient or successful for decades. Corporate America has been the recipient and beneficiaries of empire. For every story or invention and business integrity you can find you can find dozens of exploitation, piracy, intimidation, recklessness and the like as the source of success. We were a nation blessed with great and ample natural resources and a military will and ambition to use the resources and talents of the entire globe.

Our government is in debt, but so is corporate America. Taxpayers have been the only thing that has kept our government from defaulting and going bankrupt and the same could be said for corporate America.

Our government is a business it makes money directly and indirectly through its intricate and mutually beneficial relationships with corporate America. Most people now admit that our government has entered wars for purely economic reasons and not for political ideals such as freedom and human rights.

Our government is highly dependent on our military to maintain our role and position as the reigning superpower. One could make quite a strong argument that our military and the business of war are vital to our economic survival. Not only is war important in protecting our economic interests such as oil in the middle east, but our economy would probably fall apart if we decreased our domestic and international dominance in sales of arms and military hardware.

It is interesting to note that the largest media outlets in the US all have high stakes in the arms and munitions industry.

More and more people are becoming aware of the fact that the Federal Reserve is not a federal agency but a private banking cartel. This corporation through its contract with the US government is able to print money and highly alter the value of the dollar. In some direct and more often indirect means this private corporation is able to use and abuse tax payer money.

Yet, the government under the guise of representing the people is doing the same thing. They are a business and all of the major players are businessmen who are protecting the monetary interests of themselves and their friends through the use of tax payer money. The same people who promised workers retirement funds and reneged on those promises are now making decisions on social security and other tax monies they took out of our paychecks.

Tomorrow many Americans will go to the polls and exercise their right to vote. I myself am a voter in search of a candidate. I have no desire to support or enable a corrupt system which does not represent my interests or values. I have no interest in maintaining “business” as usual.

Our government and our society in general is far too dependent on the world of money. This makes us dependent on all the ways money is generated in the world. Money is power and security, it is the only currency we officially recognize. A society dependent on money is dependent on making sure that it is involved in the largest and most lucrative industries all over the planet.

Our government being a business must tolerate and exploit all the arenas of wealth. As long as many of the best prospects of monetary growth are provided by unseemly activities and industries we must condone and partake in those activities.

We must war and promote conflict to support our arms economy, and even torture and use shameless propaganda. We must hide and understate dangers such as the gulf spill and the air quality of New York City following 9/11 to keep commerce flowing. We must lie to people regarding our true interests in foreign lands that harbor valuable products such as oil, heroin and cocaine, while at the same time exaggerate the potential harms of nations not playing by our economic rules and conditions (Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Panama, etc.).

I guess many of you will not agree with the last paragraph and view it as cynical or exaggerated. Maybe I am wrong or am over stating the dark side of economics. Yet, it does seem logical to me that the wealthiest nation on the planet can only maintain that position by leading in the marketplace. A nation whose values and business practices were above or opposed to the functioning of the real economy would soon lose its position.

Let me just give you a few quick examples of our media’s complicity in seemingly protecting the interests of the wealthy, special interests groups, and donors. It is common knowledge that some of our nations largest campaign contributors are wealthy people from foreign nations who return favors with campaign contributions. One only has to think of the concerns that were expressed when it was revealed that many of Bill Clinton’s largest campaign contributions were coming from Chinese and Asian businessman.

Our media presents the situation in Israel in quite a different way than most of the world press. While most nations are horrified at the way the Palestinians are being treated, are press stands alone in viewing the actions of the Israelis with sympathy and support. The Palestinians are a captive people cut off from the world. Over a 100 Palestinians are killed for every Israeli and many of the Israelis are killed by friendly fire. They have no air force or organized army and have little access to arms. Israel is major player in world arms sales and has sophisticated technology such as drone planes and robotic gun fire run by soldiers in underground bunkers.

President Carter recently said that the Palestinians live “in a cage”. Reports of kids being killed by soldiers and robot fire for just moving “too close” to restricted areas is fairly common. Though being one of, if not, the most impoverished people on the planet the Israelis are currently burning their olive trees during their harvest season which is their most important crop as well as having social and religious importance.

While most of the world describes the situation as a genocide being conducted on the Palestinians our press and president still talks of Israel’s right to protect themselves and label the Palestinians as terrorists not victims. And, of course, since Palestine is not recognized as a nation and has no official or recognized army than any military action can be technically defined as terrorism.

It would appear to me that Israel’s sizable economic relationship with us coupled with its sizable and influential lobby makes them hard to criticize. In our own nation there are many wealthy political donors who are sympathetic to the nation of Israel and would not back any candidate who was critical of any actions of the Israeli government. All in all there is a lot to be gained by a politicians and the media going soft on Israel and a lot to lose by presenting some of the views accepted as fact in most of the world including our allies in Europe.

I began the last paragraph by starting out saying that it appears to me, and then went on to explain my perceptions and my reasons for my perceptions. The point is that when our priority is wealth and money truth is at least secondary and possible an obstacle. A salesman will often emphasize the strengths of his product while minimize or distract someone from recognizing the weaknesses of the product. In some cases salesman may even go so far as to totally misrepresent a product to get a sale.

When money is primary truth is at least secondary, which means when we are being treated as a consumer we can be fairly assured that we are not getting an accurate picture of the situation. Long ago we stopped being referred to and treated as citizens and have since been handled as consumers. As voters we are consumers of politics and politicians have become products we believe in and vote for.

We are a proud society. We are proud of being capitalist and proud of being a democracy. Improvements in our quality of life and our standard of living have been largely acquired through our economic system. Yet, now money is no longer a tool or a vehicle, but has become synonymous with the system itself.

And now for something completely different!

Here are a few miscellaneous thoughts and a couple of jokes I made up.

What do you call a Rastafarian percussionist?
The dreaded drummer

When gladiolas wilt do they become sadiolas?

A man is divorcing his wife for emotional abandonment. In court the man tells the judge that his wife spends all her time doing crafts such as sewing, quilting and embroidering. He states that she never cleans the house and when he comes home from work she never has dinner ready.

His final statement before the judge is that his wife seldom comes to bed and if fact the previous night he got no sleep due to the noise of the sewing machine whirring away as she worked on a quilt well into the morning hours.
After hearing this the judge turned to the wife and asked “how do you plead”?

The wife smiled and responded, “Quilting as charged your honor.”

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Let’s look at the difference between the words here and (t)here. As you can see the only difference is the initial (T).

In physics (T) stands for time in many equations. And in the real world the difference between here and there is essentially time. Here is now and in the present. To get there takes time, even if it is just to look over there. Hence, here is now and there is not now.

Now lets take a look at the difference between here and where.

Here and (W)here.

Again the difference is one letter in this case the initial W of where.

It is interesting to note that the letter W is the first letter of most question words. Who, What, Where, When, Why and Which are all examples. How does not begin with a w but ends with one. It is hard to think of a question word that does not begin with the letter W.
A question is an uncertainty, and the difference between here and there involves going
from a known place called here to an unknown or uncertain place referred to as where.

So this observation is neither here nor there, but I’m here and you’re where?

Jim Guido

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