Money! Money! Money!
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Have you noticed? Every facet of our lives is more and more ruled by money. And sadly, when morality comes up against money, morality always loses.
What is frightening is that these phenomena seem to be much worse than they were 20 to 50 years ago. And what is truly alarming is that the situation seems to be rapidly getting even worse.
The most obvious example is the overwhelming greed of the Wall Street banks and financial institutions that brought down the economy, stripping away the savings of the middle class and precipitating millions of home foreclosures.
The motivation of the already wealthy higher-ups in those institutions had little to do with providing a service to their clients, but was primarily to stuff their own pockets with all the money they could get their greedy hands on. They put their clients’ money into risky gambles from which they hoped to wax even wealthier, netting them annual bonuses running into billions of dollars. And when those gambles went bad, it was the clients who took the loss.
The big shots went to their government (not ours – they are the ones who own it) and begged for bailouts to cover their losses because their financial institutions were just “too big to let fail.”
Then when Congress tried to rein in the speculators by controlling their gambling addiction, the financial powers deluged Congress with swarms of lobbyists, to the tune of $320 million, to weaken the provisions of new financial reform regulations so they could return to their old lucrative (for them) high-risk market practices.
But the financial moguls aren’t the only culprits.
The pharmaceutical companies are also in on the game, employing all kinds of lucrative perks to get doctors to prescribe their drugs to more clients, many of whom do not need them, often prescribing drugs off label for uses for which they had not been approved or tested.
Pharmaceutical companies have also held back on the production of critical drugs, creating scarcities which drove up prices. All of this to further increase their already handsome profits.
Increasingly our government is being taken over by the money of corporations and the money hoarders, which gives them the power to acquire still more money and still more power.
The massive amounts of money needed by elected federal office holders to finance their election campaigns requires them to devote an inordinate portion of their time to raising that money. In the process they become beholden to their larger contributors, who expect (and receive) legislative favors in return for their largess.
As Will Rogers observed, “We have the best Congress money can buy.”
Now even the election process is being taken over by money as a result of the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. That decision grants corporations and wealthy individuals (and the impoverished labor unions and the middle class and the poor) the right to pour unlimited and undisclosed amounts of money into front organizations supporting the candidates who will do their bidding and blowing those who won’t out of the water.
Another example of overweening greed is the professional sports scene, with salaries of the top major league players running from $10 million to $30 million. This year, 89 major league baseball players are being paid $10 million or more. It has become a game of out-salarying the other guy.
And where does all that money come from?
It’s that great sucking sound, as popularized by Ross Perot, siphoning the money out of our pockets to reimburse the manufacturers of the products we buy for the exorbitant cost they are paying to run their commercials on the television broadcasts. And ticket prices have reached an amount the average working family can no longer afford.
How do we reverse this Las Vegas mentality and attitude that the middle class (because it still has some money) are chickens to be plucked for corporate gain.
The answer is that we have to take away their power to do so, and that means taking back our government from the plutocrats who control it.
The first step has to be to start the repeal of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision by a constitutional amendment, which must be called for by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states.
Then we have to replace the tainted money that now dominates the election process with federal funding, so our Congress can spend its time and effort serving the American people instead of the moneyed interests.
– “As I See It” appears on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Hal Sundin lives in Glenwood Springs and is a retired environmental and structural engineer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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