Tag Archives: wall street

The Daily Roundup

20 Apr

Class still plays an important role in political and economic life in America. While this seems a fairly self-evident statement, politicians are often loathe to acknowledge it.

So with Democrats and the Obama administration set to take on large Wall Street corporations and bankers, class tensions have been exposed and the results are interesting. Republicans have opposed the measures at times with somewhat twisted logic, given that these same Republicans who were against the stimulus and bailout measures are now against measures to restrict the power of corporations and banks to get themselves into similar situations.

By seeking to exercise increased governmental power over corporations, Democrats are essentially trying to give people more power over corporations – because government is one of the main ways people exercise power in a large way in a democratic society. This change upsets the higher class (or bourgeoisie, capitalists, elites, whatever name you want to use).

Anything that alters the power relationship between capitalists and employees is usually opposed by the capitalists, and often by working class conservatives who, ironically, are most likely to benefit from increased social control over corporations.

This desire to continue the status quo power relationship is seen in GOP rhetoric. The Wall Street Journal reported today that the GOP would unveil a new Contract with America in early fall in anticipation of the midterm election.

“It will be about how we will make America the employer-nation that it should be,” Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas is quoted as saying by the WSJ.

The implication in the quote is that corporations provide employment and people are employed by them. That’s a clearly defined relationship. Anything that in even the small way changes, even something as small as increased regulation of the complex financial instruments that brought about the Great Recession, is seen as a threat. The Democrats’ agenda is very far from socialism, but any attempt to transfer power away from corporations is seen as such.

So you might say, so what? After all, real people work in corporations. Most people, after all, work for corporations.

Well, that’s true. But that’s also the point. People work for corporations. The owners and stakeholders of corporations are almost always concentrated in a very small number of people. As people living in a democratic society, it should concern us anytime so much power is concentrated in the hands of so few. And unlike government, we can’t vote out CEOs and executives.

A few numbers from The University of California at Santa Cruz.

  • 20 percent of people in America possess 80 percent of the wealth
  • 1 percent of people in America possess 35 percent of the wealth.

The United States has higher wealth inequality than almost every Western European nation.

Think about it.

Update: The incident no longer looks as bad as it seems. This article has some much needed context.

There was a disturbing incident between reporters and The White House today. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protestors chained themselves to the fence of The White House. When police came in to make the arrest, they not only pushed people and the press back across the street but also all the away across Lafayette Park. The action seemed entirely unnecessary and designed to stop video footage of the arrests.

This is disturbing and the press should not tolerate these kind of methods.

Teleconferencing may be on the rise as the Ash cloud is grounding European flights.

Along those same lines, as it turns out, the ash cloud is actually good for the environment.

You know all those “Hitler is angry” parody videos? Yeah, they’re pretty great. Well, it looks like they are going away. The company that owns the rights to the movie has demanded the clips be taken down and it appears YouTube is complying. It’s sad. Some of funniest viral videos I’ve seen came from that clip of film.

That’s The Daily Roundup. Have a great evening.


Today is the day to accuse big corporations of wrongdoing

16 Apr

There’s a couple of big stories coming out today.

First – The former president of Blackwater along with other top executives have been indicted on weapons charges. Blackwater is the largest State Department contractor and throughout the years has been involved in a number of questionable situations in Iraq and overseas generally.

Second – The Securities and Exchange Commission today accused Goldman Sachs of deceiving investors. Goldman was one of the firms in the middle of the financial collapse.

Have a great Friday.