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Genesisblade
"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day":
(Theodore Roosevelt, April 19, 1906)

approaching exactly 100 years on, and in the light of the dubious (i would say corrupt, but that's just me) behaviour of politicians and businessmen to do with everything from Iraq and Afghanistan, to New Orleans, just how concerned is the current incumbent president with such weighty issues? and if not, is it a reasonable expectation of a ruler, in any country?
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Amlord
Is this not the constantly repeated mantra of all politicians?

"I will stamp out the corruption of this government!!" It's funny that Teddy was speaking about the government that he himself was in charge of at the time.

Business is not evil. Business is business. It's about good ideas and making money off of good ideas. When government entangles itself in the business community, the business community must become involved in the government. It has a vested interest in doing so.

When will we realize that business is a part of society and that the interests of businesses are just as important as the interests of the environment, of religions, and of other groups? Should businesses (and businessmen) have their rights trampled by the government on a whim? Should the livelihood of businesses and the proceeds of running a business be confiscated by third parties?

Of course not.

Using the word "unholy" and "corrupt" when referring to business is a mistake. Certainly some business people match those descriptions, but lumping business all together in that manner is a mistake.
Know Paine
100 years? I'll do you one better:

"I hope we shall take warning from the example [of England] and crush in it's birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country."
Thomas Jefferson, 1816

I would also like to point out that it is not "just buisness" if people can create war for financial gain. It has always been a motivating factor for war, and our seperating of the profiters from the war makers has not eliminated the temptation.
Amlord
War definitely creates opportunities for business. No argument there.

However, I have not seen an example forwarded where a person or people "created war" for financial gain.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Genesisblade @ Mar 21 2006, 03:11 AM)
"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day":
(Theodore Roosevelt, April 19, 1906)
*


I'd say this is still dead on and accurate today, in fact probably moreso. Viewpoints like the one espoused by Amlord are the result of either denial of reality or naivete. There are literally scores of examples of how big business seeks out politicians and how corruption results from that relationship. And regardless of whether the relationship becomes corrupt or not the interests of the business' consumers and of the politicians constitutents are not served.

It really isn't even that hard to understand how the system works. Business spends money directly on campaign contributions, indirectly through lobbying, holding fundraisers and even on little perks like allowing politicians the use of their private jets. The result of this is that these very same politicians sponsor and pass legislation and policies that benefit the business but are often in direct contradiction to the interests of voters and consumers. I really fail to see how one couldn't be aware of this especially with the massive amount of corruption in today's Congress.

There are tons and tons of sites out there that track this stuff. There is a site (which I can't find right now) which tracks the use of corporate jets as favors for politicians. The Washington Post has an article specifically about Boehner on this subject.

I could write pages and pages on this subject, so let's just go with a few examples.

US Royalty Plan for Oil Companies
NY Times link:
QUOTE
The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.

New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011.
The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.


This of course coming after the news that oil companies are making record quarterly profits in the range of mulit-billions of dollars. Remember this story about Exxon earning 11 billion dollars for a single quarter? The other oil companies fared about as well.

That certainly doesn't paint a picture of companies strapped and wanting of federal royalty relief. So why does it happen? Money and corruption, plain and simple.

From 1998 to 2004 the oil and gas industry has spent $343 million federally lobbying politicians with $45 million of that being spent in 2004 - source. They've also given just in the 2004 election cycle $20 million to Republican candidates and $5 million to Democrats - source.

So basically they invested a few million dollars and got a return of billions for it - not too shabby. And this is just one deal. If you head out to a site like On the Issues and look at the voting records for the people that get these contributions you'll see favorable vote after favorable vote. These votes more often than not are against the interests of the people that put them in office in the first place.

The Bankruptcy Bill
Oil give aways not sexy enough for you? How about that lovely bankruptcy bill that passed due to Republican support this past year. The vast majority of the poorest states in the union vote Republican, you think this bill was in their best interest?

The story is much the same here. from 1998 to 2004 the banking industry has spent $216 million on lobbying and $35 million of that in 2004 - source. They also made just over $30 million in political contributions to federal races in 2004 alone - source.

I really find it hard to believe that people can have their eyes closed about this. The reason that nearly every environmental reform made by the Clinton administration has been rolled back is because of business interests - not the interests of society and of the voters that installed these politicians. You think the people that elected them want toxic substances in the air they breathe and the water their children drink? Of course not, but that's how their representatives vote because the money keeps flowing in.

Yet another example is what is currently going on with the FDA and Oragnic Food standards. Right now you have to meet certain criteria to call something "organic" and as a general rule stuff that is "organic" is more expensive. Huge companies like Monsanto, Kraft, etc are successfully working to get those standards removed so that they can slap an organic label on anything they want and charge more for it. Don't believe me? Here's where you can start researching it for yourself. Do you really think the people that voted these politicians into office want to be duped like that? I don't think so.

The position that business is just interested in making money and is completely innocent and in fact gets beat up on by everyone is completely unsupportable by facts. They are certainly interested in making money and they use that money to become more powerful than voters and convince politicians to act against the interests of their constituents.

A left Handed person
We'll the government did give an excuse for that oil thing:

"We need to remember the primary reason that incentives are given," said Johnnie M. Burton, director of the federal Minerals Management Service. "It's not to make more money, necessarily. It's to make more oil, more gas, because production of fuel for our nation is essential to our economy and essential to our people."

That would only make sense, if the royalties were cut from hypothetical future wells and derricks. Cutting them from current wells won't provide an incentive for anything. Sure they'll have more money, and thereby more ability to expand, but isn't 58 billion dollars a year more then enough to do that with? Heck, isn't the carrot that represents enough to innocent them all by themselves anyways?



Yogurt
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 21 2006, 05:36 PM)
It really isn't even that hard to understand how the system works.  Business spends money directly on campaign contributions, indirectly through lobbying, holding fundraisers and even on little perks like allowing politicians the use of their private jets.  The result of this is that these very same politicians sponsor and pass legislation and policies that benefit the business but are often in direct contradiction to the interests of voters and consumers.  I really fail to see how one couldn't be aware of this especially with the massive amount of corruption in today's Congress.


You could quite easily replace the word "business" in the above with:

"Hollywood"
"Unions"
"Lawyers"
"Farmers"

and it would be equally applicable. The single biggest difference is business are more tightly regulated.

Are the institutions corrupt? Certainly. But every time there is a reform effort, guess what is left of it by the time all of the special interests are taken care of? Little more than table scraps. So why blame business for a corrupt system, there's plenty of blame to go around!




Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Yogurt @ Mar 21 2006, 04:39 PM)
Are the institutions corrupt? Certainly. But every time there is a reform effort, guess what is left of it by the time all of the special interests are taken care of?  Little more than table scraps. So why blame business for a corrupt system, there's plenty of blame to go around!
*


Well for starters because everything you listed - unions, hollywood, lawyers, farmers - are not the subject of this debate. The poster who started this debate posted a quote from from Teddy Roosevelt and asked us to debate its relevance today. The question for debate wasn't something general like "is our government corrupted and who is responsible" it was very specific.

So the way I interpret that is you provide evidence either supporting the statement or refuting it. Stating that X, Y, and Z do it too is not a valid rebuttal.
Yogurt
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 21 2006, 09:16 PM)
So the way I interpret that is you provide evidence either supporting the statement or refuting it.  Stating that X, Y, and Z do it too is not a valid rebuttal.


I am just trying to demonstrate that business is in the "effect" half of the equation in the cause and effect relation. The system is bad, so business, along with everyone else, takes advantage of it. So the answer is to go after business? I think it would be better to eliminate the cause, and the effects will then become mute. I think a true systemic treatment would have more effect than a topical ointment.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Yogurt @ Mar 22 2006, 02:25 AM)
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 21 2006, 09:16 PM)
So the way I interpret that is you provide evidence either supporting the statement or refuting it.  Stating that X, Y, and Z do it too is not a valid rebuttal.


I am just trying to demonstrate that business is in the "effect" half of the equation in the cause and effect relation. The system is bad, so business, along with everyone else, takes advantage of it. So the answer is to go after business? I think it would be better to eliminate the cause, and the effects will then become mute. I think a true systemic treatment would have more effect than a topical ointment.
*


I don't know where in my post I said we should "go after business". I'd agree with you that all of the special interests which exert their power in Congress are a problem, but that doesn't happen to be what this debate is about so we have to stick to the scope of the discussion.
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Amlord
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 21 2006, 05:36 PM)
Viewpoints like the one espoused by Amlord are the result of either denial of reality or naivete. There are literally scores of examples of how big business seeks out politicians and how corruption results from that relationship.


I never denied that such things occur. I only ask that we understand why businesses would feel it necessary to gain influence with public officials.

Why do lobbyists exist? Why do "special interest groups" exist?

Foreign countries have diplomats because what governments do affects other countries. These other countries want to make sure that their point of view is understood before we take action. The same thing holds for business. What the government does can and does affect business. In fact, our government has more power over domestic businesses than it does over foreign governments so the businesses have more of a stake in the process. They need representation so the government understands their viewpoint.

At some point, this could become corruption. I never denied that, nor would anyone who looks at the situation rationally. But to conclude that all business are unholy or that business should have zero influence on the political process is ludicrous as well.

Pointing out that certain interests spent X number of dollars on an issue does not indicate corruption or an unholy alliance. It indicates how much of an effect a government decision could have on certain groups. It indicates how much our government intrudes on transactions that it should not be involved in.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Amlord @ Mar 22 2006, 10:44 AM)
At some point, this could become corruption.  I never denied that, nor would anyone who looks at the situation rationally.  But to conclude that all business are unholy or that business should have zero influence on the political process is ludicrous as well.
*



That "all" businesses are corrupt was not my conclusion. My conclusion is that the system which allows them to operate like this is corrupt. Personally I'd like to see some sweeping clean money reforms to toss all the special interests out - one of the simplest things we could do is make the statement that if you can't vote for the candidate you can't contribute to them financially or in-kind. That gets rid of everyone but the voters - no corporations, no unions, no associations, no 527 groups. Perhaps then our representatives would remember why they are in office, to fight for the people they represent, the ones that elected them.

QUOTE
Pointing out that certain interests spent X number of dollars on an issue does not indicate corruption or an unholy alliance. It indicates how much of an effect a government decision could have on certain groups. It indicates how much our government intrudes on transactions that it should not be involved in.

No it doesn't, but that is why I didn't just do that. I showed the vast amounts of money contributed and then showed specific legislation that got passed which favors those businesses and is against the interests of the voters. I could list pages of this stuff Amlord, in much greater detail - when you know where to look it is there for the taking. But I don't have time for that right now so I'd suggest you work with the examples I did cite or find your own.
Amlord
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 22 2006, 01:58 PM)
QUOTE(Amlord)
Pointing out that certain interests spent X number of dollars on an issue does not indicate corruption or an unholy alliance. It indicates how much of an effect a government decision could have on certain groups. It indicates how much our government intrudes on transactions that it should not be involved in.

No it doesn't, but that is why I didn't just do that. I showed the vast amounts of money contributed and then showed specific legislation that got passed which favors those businesses and is against the interests of the voters. I could list pages of this stuff Amlord, in much greater detail - when you know where to look it is there for the taking. But I don't have time for that right now so I'd suggest you work with the examples I did cite or find your own.
*



No, that isn't all you did. You made some pretty flawed conclusions in the oil industry. Your quotes made it seem as if the government's choice to let oil companies drill on federal land only benefitted the oil companies and not the government. Did the government get increased tax money from the deal? Did taxpayers see any benefits from the increased supply?

The bankruptcy bill is exactly the type of thing I am talking about--government regulation could, and does, lead to billions in losses for certain companies. You look at bankruptcy as relief for debtors--I look at it as a hit for lenders. If you don't think this country is dependant on a strong lending industry which can expect to get repaid for the credit it grants I simply can't understand where you are coming from. Capitalism depends upon ready capital flowing into the hands of those that can put it to good use--i.e. loans. Bad loans mean bad allocation of capital. If companies (or individuals) are allowed to simply erase their loans too easily, then capital is allowed to be inefficiently allocated. If bad debt is too easy to erase, then that encourages more bad debt and (more importantly) much more scrutiny on the front end of loans--which means money isn't flowing based on the ideas of capitalists but upon the risk assessment of lenders.

Don't get me started on the FDA--a more worthless government agency would be hard to find. It exists primarily as a barrier to entry into the market. In short, it is terrible for competition and breeds monopolistic practices.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Amlord @ Mar 22 2006, 11:37 AM)
The bankruptcy bill is exactly the type of thing I am talking about--government regulation could, and does, lead to billions in losses for certain companies. 
*


I'm sure that it does, but that certainly can be attributed to the behavior of some lending institutions. In fact during that debate we had on the subject all of that was presented. Lenders engage in not only irresponsible lending practices but predatory practices as well. I'm not going to rehash that debate with you here, it is off topic. It is perfectly clear that you hold the typical "Republican" point of view that government should give priority to any and all business interests above and even in conflict what is best for the people they represent and society as a whole. That is a fundamental worldview difference between you and I and we are going to have to agree to disagree.

I will say that absolutely no data was presented during the time of the hearings for the bankruptcy bill suggesting that the companies involved were hurting in any way. In fact the GOP sold this to people as "reform for debt deadbeats" when that amounted to tearing down the side of a house to replace a broken window.

QUOTE
Don't get me started on the FDA--a more worthless government agency would be hard to find. It exists primarily as a barrier to entry into the market. In short, it is terrible for competition and breeds monopolistic practices.

Whether you like the FDA or not or whether you think they are efficient or not isn't the issue - they exist for a valid reason - to enforce standards for food and drugs. Are you saying that any food manufacturer out there should be able to just slap an "organic" label on whatever they want? Because if you are agreeing with the business interests in this case that is what you are saying Amlord, you can't dance around it by saying you don't like the FDA.

The standards we have should mean something and it is currently the job of the FDA to ensure that they do. I have plenty of complaints with them as well, but mine are that they don't do enough in a lot of cases where as I'm sure you'd rather see them disbanded completely.

Once again it goes back to that worldview problem. Republicans would like to see any and all regulations removed, relaxed and nullified that they can. If many had their way we'd go back to the times with no regulation at all - the "market" will handle that they say. Of course the rational person knows that to be untrue because it was tried and it has woefully failed which is why regulation exists today. Regulation can be excessive, there is a line, but it is extremely necessary.
Amlord
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 22 2006, 03:02 PM)
It is perfectly clear that you hold the typical "Republican" point of view that government should give priority to any and all business interests above and even in conflict what is best for the people they represent and society as a whole.  That is a fundamental worldview difference between you and I and we are going to have to agree to disagree.


QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 22 2006, 03:02 PM)
Once again it goes back to that worldview problem.  Republicans would like to see any and all regulations removed, relaxed and nullified that they can.  If many had their way we'd go back to the times with no regulation at all - the "market" will handle that they say.  Of course the rational person knows that to be untrue because it was tried and it has woefully failed which is why regulation exists today.  Regulation can be excessive, there is a line, but it is extremely necessary.


Ah yes, the broad brush often misses on the fine points, as you have in this case.

You seemed to have missed my point entirely.

My point is that if the government is going to regulate something (safety, environment, accounting practices, doesn't matter) then it needs the input of the governed. That is the American way. Consent of the governed is a very key principle in our system of government.

If the government is going to change its regulations on bankruptcy, you'd better damn well accept the fact that lenders need to have a voice in the process. If it's going to own land with natural resources on it then the appropriate industries are going to try influence how that public land is used.

In the case of organic foods, for example, from your link:
QUOTE
Now, large corporations, such as Kraft, Wal-Mart, & Dean Foods--aided and abetted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and members of the Organic Trade Association, have succesfully weakened organic standards by allowing Bush appointees in the USDA National Organic Program to take away the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) traditional lead jurisdiction in setting standards. What this means, in blunt terms. is that USDA bureaucrats and industry lobbyists, not consumers, will have near total control over what can go into organic foods and products.


I wonder how the OCA defines regulation if it isn't set by the government? They want to have their cake and eat it too (by defining things in a way amenable to their members).

But my argument here is not against organic growers (more power to them) but on the fact that the term "organic" means that consumers will pay a higher price. If the government is going to regulate that term, then you must expect "big food" to have a hand in the process of defining it. Consent of the governed.

Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Amlord @ Mar 22 2006, 12:46 PM)
My point is that if the government is going to regulate something (safety, environment, accounting practices, doesn't matter) then it needs the input of the governed.  That is the American way.  Consent of the governed is a very  key principle in our system of government.

If the government is going to change its regulations on bankruptcy, you'd better damn well accept the fact that lenders need to have a voice in the process.  If it's going to own land with natural resources on it then the appropriate industries are going to try influence how that public land is used.
*


The point that you have missed is that the voice of the voters and citizens of the country are being completely cut out. It is one thing to allow industry groups and even specific corporations the right to call congressmen and discuss issues with them. They should have the same right to write, email or call congressmen that you and I do.

It is quite another to allow them the ability to dump huge sums of money on congress with the implied statement "there's more where that came from if you scratch my back". Money buys influence in Washington Amlord, period. This allows the voices for industry groups, special interests and businesses to be orders of magnitude greater than ours. We, the people if you remember, are supposed to be the ones with the power in this country. Our representatives are supposed to be in office to serve us not special interests.

QUOTE(Amlord)
But my argument here is not against organic growers (more power to them) but on the fact that the term "organic" means that consumers will pay a higher price. If the government is going to regulate that term, then you must expect "big food" to have a hand in the process of defining it. Consent of the governed.

Sure they can have a hand in it, but they can't have complete control which is exactly what is happening.

Bottom line is I think you are not understanding who the governed are. The government is not in place to serve the will of businesses. It is in place to serve the will of the people. If the interests of people coincide with what businesses want to do then fine, but if there is a conflict (as there are in so many bills) the interests of the people (voters in a representative's district) should win out and hardly ever do, especially with the GOP.
Amlord
Who makes up these beastly "businesses"? Who runs them? People. Citizens.

There is money involved when lobbying is done because what the government does affects business to the tune of an order of magnitude more money.

People often forget that businesses stay in business because people voluntarily buy their products and services. There is no coercion for me to work where I work, shop where I shop or eat where I eat. I can choose all of these things and yet the government feels it needs to force this employer to give his employees something that it doesn't make other employers give. It regulates the minimum amount of pay and the maximum amount of work an employee can do. It regulates what product can be sold on what day and what label the product needs to have on it and what that label has to say and what that label cannot say.

The tax code is 17,000 pages long. Americans spend over $200 billion a year preparing their taxes, not to mention 6.2 billion hours preparing tax forms.

Now you might say that the tax code example supports your argument: "Look at all these loopholes for businesses!!" you might say. And you'd be right, to a point. But it is the underlying fact that the government is meddling in the minutiae that causes the problem. The fact that the Congress feels it is free to put this provision in for this guy (or business) and this provision in for someone else should demonstrate how meaningless the Equal Protection Clause becomes when it comes to tax law. The tax laws help some businesses, punish others, surcharge others--on and on.

The government is too complex. It has its hands in every possible cookie jar. The scope of its power has been unchecked for decades creating this environment where just about anyone can use the government to fund themselves. There is a cottage industry that has developed to help people get money from the government--to pay your bills, go to school, open a French restaurant, or whatever your dream is.

The problem is that the government feels the need to be involved in these areas. The fact that individuals (or businesses) will try to use Congress's attitude to enrich themselves should be a predictable result, not a surprise.
droop224
QUOTE
Who makes up these beastly "businesses"? Who runs them? People. Citizens.


The few, the wealthy, the elite, the minority.

These people are using wealth... not votes to influence our government. A minority in this country controls the majority of the wealth... that is a fact. If you allow our government to be influenced by wealth rather than votes, then you inevitably let a wealthy majority control the minority. Instead of of the government being for the people it begins to be a government for a few people. That is a corrupt government.

Trouble
QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
The point that you have missed is that the voice of the voters and citizens of the country are being completely cut out. It is one thing to allow industry groups and even specific corporations the right to call congressmen and discuss issues with them. They should have the same right to write, email or call congressmen that you and I do.

It is quite another to allow them the ability to dump huge sums of money on congress with the implied statement "there's more where that came from if you scratch my back". Money buys influence in Washington Amlord, period. This allows the voices for industry groups, special interests and businesses to be orders of magnitude greater than ours. We, the people if you remember, are supposed to be the ones with the power in this country. Our representatives are supposed to be in office to serve us not special interests.


You have made some valid points Cube Jockey but really what you are addressing is the ever-increasing influence of Non-Government Agencies (NGOs) and their abililty to dictate policy. Their very existance to me shows the mature relationship big business has with decision making.

Could I inject the idea that the accountability gap, the birth of the NGO, and the use of soft power which has been employed abroad for decades is finally making it's way home?

All three have a common thread of unlimited intervention based on personal preferance. All three engage in a personal agenda which creeps further away from their constituents.

This centraliation of power is endemic to a "mature democracy". As expressed with lobbying, the line between nation and state has been blurred just as resurgence of church and state of the religious right. The over riding theme here is a concentration of power.

The process of communication between local and federal levels if I understand you correctly Cube Jockey, has been disrupted to the point where local jurisdictions are no longer conveying their intentions to the state.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Amlord @ Mar 23 2006, 06:08 AM)
Who makes up these beastly "businesses"?  Who runs them?  People.  Citizens.

There is money involved when lobbying is done because what the government does affects business to the tune of an order of magnitude more money.=
*


So what Amlord. I was not aware that our government was formed all those years ago in order to help businesses make money. It was formed for people - for voters.

There are lots of ways that the government can allow corporations to make additional money if that was their goal. For example, we could just toss out environmental regulations so they wouldn't have to use all that expensive technology and those expensive processes to clean up after themselves. Of course that would mean that everyone else would get to drink toxic water, breathe tainted air and develop strange cancers. But hey you'd be able to buy that nifty thing you don't really need for cheaper! And most importantly wall street would be happy. That may be how things work in bizarro Republican land but in the real world that is wrong and that isn't how things should be. The government is there to ensure that people aren't drinking toxic water and they aren't breathing tainted air.

You don't need to explain to me why corporations spend money on lobbyists and political donations. I'm well aware of why they do and also the exponential benefits they receive for their investment. What I'm trying to explain to you is that government exists to serve the people - not corporations. In cases where the passage of a law is in direct conflict with the interests of the voters in the districts of our representatives, those people should win out. They don't because of money, fundraisers and perks.

You keep throwing out "consent of the governed" in your arguments but you are forgetting one important thing - corporations are only legal entities, they are not people and they cannot vote. Therefore that doesn't even apply to them. It is also telling that you are more concerned about their interests than of the 250+ million people in the country.
Yogurt
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 23 2006, 02:31 PM)
You keep throwing out "consent of the governed" in your arguments but you are forgetting one important thing - corporations are only legal entities, they are not people and they cannot vote.  Therefore that doesn't  even apply to them.  It is also telling that you are more concerned about their interests than of the 250+ million people in the country.



I, for one am glad they are making money. It's what I will use instead of SS that will be dilapidated by then. Institutions own much of most large corporations. A large portion of that is mutual funds. And who invests in mutual funds? Most people's retirement accounts. Take everyone's perennial favorite dog to beat, HAL for instance. It is 87.7% institutionally held, mutual funds owning some 47% of outstanding shares. "Insiders" own only 0.72%. When they are making money, I, and a lot of others, are making money.

Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Yogurt @ Mar 23 2006, 12:31 PM)
I, for one am glad they are making money. It's what I will use instead of SS that will be dilapidated by then. Institutions own much of most large corporations. A large portion of that is mutual funds. And who invests in mutual funds? Most people's retirement accounts. Take everyone's perennial favorite dog to beat, HAL for instance. It is 87.7% institutionally held, mutual funds owning some 47% of outstanding shares. "Insiders" own only 0.72%. When they are making money, I, and a lot of others, are making money.
*


Once again, I fail to see your point. You've said the same thing Amlord did in different words. Government is not about making policy that makes certain groups money. Government is about protecting and defending the interests of its citizenry. If an industry wants to lets say - roll back workplace safety legislation (which would reduce their costs ensuring more profit), the government should not say "sure, as long as it makes you money" they should be concerned about protecting their constituents.
Yogurt
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 23 2006, 04:27 PM)
Government is not about making policy that makes certain groups money.  Government is about protecting and defending the interests of its citizenry.  If an industry wants to lets say - roll back workplace safety legislation (which would reduce their costs ensuring more profit), the government should not say "sure, as long as it makes you money" they should be concerned about protecting their constituents.


Per the constitution, government is in the business of regulating commerce. They defend us from foreign powers. As for protection, we need need more protection from our government, not by it wink.gif . I already had one set of parents, I don't need another.

There are few "win-win" laws. Usually someone benefits to the detriment of someone else. Congress could pass laws tomorrow that would bankrupt every manufacturing concern in the US within a year in the name of safety, but to who's benefit? I guess if everyone was sitting back waiting for an unemployment check no one would get hurt, but who's going to pay for it? It's all cost:benefit.

As for my last reply, and as Amlord stated, business does benefit the "constituents". I tried to point out a huge amount of the stock is held by retirement accounts, much of which is for "average Joes" like me smile.gif
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Yogurt @ Mar 23 2006, 02:05 PM)
As for my last reply, and as Amlord stated, business does benefit the "constituents". I tried to point out a huge amount of the stock is held by retirement accounts, much of which is for "average Joes" like me smile.gif
*


So then your logic goes - so what if some kids along a river downstream from a manufacturing plant get cancer as long as my mutual fund is performing well?
Yogurt
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Mar 23 2006, 05:11 PM)
So then your logic goes - so what if some kids along a river downstream from a manufacturing plant get cancer as long as my mutual fund is performing well?


Not quite, more like "if the possibility of someone getting cancer increases 0.0001% from normal background and hereditary causes, and the economy survives and hundreds of people keep working, then it's a reasonable risk". Not to mention the anywhere from 2.5 to seven jobs estimated created in the economy for each manufacturing job. We find out every day how over-blown risks have been. In the early 70s I used to be literally up to my elbows in PBC laiden tranformer oil repairing primary connections on pole transformers, now we worry about parts-per-billion. The wastewater at another factory I worked at was required to discharge better quality water to the POTW, in several metrics, than the water we were getting from the municipal source.

Likewise some things we consider safe now will prove to be not so, and we will regulate them. It's not financially prudent for any company to risk their employees, or neighbors, unreasonably.


If we outlawed cars we could eliminate a lot more deaths.

edited to finish, premature submittal
A left Handed person
Before Roosevelt, you could expect to commonly eat rat poison, dead rats, and rat poop in your typical sausage. Before him, many workers got paid starvation workers, and lived in plague stricken slums. Mafia like gangs forced you to vote for one party or the other (secret ballots didn't exist yet). Rail Road companies were handed off millions of acres of free land (and I don't mean just the two foot expanses used for track). People richer then Bill Gates walked the streets, and monopolies forced the consumer to pay way too much for goods...

Roosevelt and his first two immediate successors, ended this black era, and no that era is not comparable to the one we live in today. Sure we've still got corruption, but it exists on nowhere near the scale it did a hundred years ago.
Genesisblade
QUOTE(Amlord @ Mar 21 2006, 04:34 PM)
When will we realize that business is a part of society and that the interests of businesses are just as important as the interests of the environment


I don't think the selfish motivations of business should ever be considered as important as the social issues such as the survival of the species.

It has been widely alleged that business is the reason behind many wars...

Business should be well regulated, and government should always be clear and seperate from business. You can have cross over people because the skills transfer. But you should never have people sitting on both sides of the fence at once. A family of oil barons, for example, should never be allowed to take charge of the most powerful army in the world; still less to be allowed to use it for their personal financial agendas.

Yes they might be elected, but they should forsake business for the sake of social responsibility. Business are, as described, soley about making the most money of ideas. Occasionally a 'body shop' comes along that has a more social ethic. But they are more than just the rare exception - they are virtually unheard of as successful businesses.

Business is not social. Government is not about making money. The two should never overlap, else corruption is inherent. Business may offer backhanders to government to turn a blind eye, but a government with a social concience, indicated by a rejection of the business world, would have no problem punishing those businesses who try.

QUOTE(Yogurt @ Mar 23 2006, 11:04 PM)
[The wastewater at another factory I worked at was required to discharge better quality water to the POTW, in several metrics, than the water we were getting from the municipal source.


it would be nice if this were the rule rather than the exception. But our environment, the poisons in the water and fish, the increased levels of illness directly related to heavy metal polutions and so on and so on, all directly the result of business cutting corners and breaking rules with the knowledge of the authorities, simply to add more $$ to their already bulging profits.

Authorities should be so clearly seperate that there is no way this could happen.

hell, we all know this is the case. The question is whether we should expect the president of the united states to be clamping down on corruption and destroying this invisible government. And further, if this expectation is not realised, in addition to flagrant misspending (to be kind) of the huge moneys available to the federal government (that clearly and sickeningly parallel the vision of 1984), is that not reason enough to demand the elected president stand down?

Surely but surely it is.
Amlord
QUOTE(Genesisblade @ Apr 3 2006, 10:37 AM)
A family of oil barons, for example, should never be allowed to take charge of the most powerful army in the world; still less to be allowed to use it for their personal financial agendas.


You're darn right. President Bush should never have been allowed to be both the CEO of ... what company was that again? ... and the POTUS. How ridiculous of me not to have seen this before...

QUOTE(Genesisblade @ Apr 3 2006, 10:37 AM)
Business is not social. Government is not about making money. The two should never overlap, else corruption is inherent. Business may offer backhanders to government to turn a blind eye, but a government with a social concience, indicated by a rejection of the business world, would have no problem punishing those businesses who try.


The government does not have a conscience, social or otherwise.

QUOTE(Genesisblade @ Apr 3 2006, 10:37 AM)
QUOTE(Yogurt @ Mar 23 2006, 11:04 PM)
[The wastewater at another factory I worked at was required to discharge better quality water to the POTW, in several metrics, than the water we were getting from the municipal source.


it would be nice if this were the rule rather than the exception. But our environment, the poisons in the water and fish, the increased levels of illness directly related to heavy metal polutions and so on and so on, all directly the result of business cutting corners and breaking rules with the knowledge of the authorities, simply to add more $$ to their already bulging profits.

Authorities should be so clearly separate that there is no way this could happen.


Exactly!! Why the life expectancy is so low today that it is ludicrous. ermm.gif

QUOTE(Genesisblade @ Apr 3 2006, 10:37 AM)
hell, we all know this is the case. The question is whether we should expect the president of the united states to be clamping down on corruption and destroying this invisible government. And further, if this expectation is not realised, in addition to flagrant misspending (to be kind) of the huge moneys available to the federal government (that clearly and sickeningly parallel the vision of 1984), is that not reason enough to demand the elected president stand down?

Surely but surely it is.


Stand down from what, exactly? Don't invoke George Orwell and expect not to be called on it. Do you really think that it is business that is likely to exert overwhelming control of us, ala 1984, or the government? If it's more likely to be the government, then how do you justify giving that same government more power over the potential counterweight that is business?

Henry Ford, to the annoyance of his competitors, instituted the eight hour day and forty hour week in 1914, almost 25 years before the federal government made it the standard. Before that, it was unions that organized and demanded shorter work days and weeks, not the heavy hand of government.

The big difference between how business operates and how government operates is the give and take of business. Business is a series of voluntary transactions. There is nothing voluntary or give-and-take about government. It carries the force of law behind its decisions: you follow them or ELSE!!

When government gets involved in business too closely, then businesses must push back to protect its own interests. If the government did not exercise such control over business, business would not find it profitable to meddle in government.

However, do not attribute virtues to government. It varies from a benign dictatorship (ala many European governments) to an amalgam of varied interests (ala the United States). In no case is the government moved by purely wholesome motivations. They may be wholesome during some period, but over time the role of government is a restriction on freedom, not a guarantee of it.
Genesisblade
QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 3 2006, 05:51 PM)
The government does not have a conscience, social or otherwise.

Conscience: the sense of right and wrong that governs thoughts and actions. And you say the government doesn't have (or shouldn't have) one of these?

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 3 2006, 05:51 PM)
QUOTE(Genesisblade @ Apr 3 2006, 10:37 AM)
QUOTE(Yogurt @ Mar 23 2006, 11:04 PM)
[The wastewater at another factory I worked at was required to discharge better quality water to the POTW, in several metrics, than the water we were getting from the municipal source.


it would be nice if this were the rule rather than the exception. But our environment, the poisons in the water and fish, the increased levels of illness directly related to heavy metal polutions and so on and so on, all directly the result of business cutting corners and breaking rules with the knowledge of the authorities, simply to add more $$ to their already bulging profits.

Authorities should be so clearly separate that there is no way this could happen.


Exactly!! Why the life expectancy is so low today that it is ludicrous. ermm.gif

right... thumbsup.gif forget about the advances in medical science, and overlook the vast increase in levels of illnesses related to man-made poisons, heavy metal or otherwise. Compare this to China, where historically old age is a time of wisdom not weakness and alzheimers.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 3 2006, 05:51 PM)
Stand down from what, exactly?  Don't invoke George Orwell and expect not to be called on it.  Do you really think that it is business that is likely to exert overwhelming control of us, ala 1984, or the government?  If it's more likely to be the government, then how do you justify giving that same government more power over the potential counterweight that is business?

Henry Ford, to the annoyance of his competitors, instituted the eight hour day and forty hour week in 1914, almost 25 years before the federal government made it the standard.  Before that, it was unions that organized and demanded shorter work days and weeks, not the heavy hand of government.

The big difference between how business operates and how government operates is the give and take of business.  Business is a series of voluntary transactions.  There is nothing voluntary or give-and-take about government.  It carries the force of law behind its decisions: you follow them or ELSE!!

When government gets involved in business too closely, then businesses must push back to protect its own interests.  If the government did not exercise such control over business, business would not find it profitable to meddle in government.

He should stand down from his position if he is unable to make decisions based on the wider needs of the people without being swayed by business.

In 1984, governments spend all the extra money that should be spend on health and education and divert it to fabricated or unnecessary and deadlocked wars with the other two world governments, in which no country wins or loses but drains all the money. The purpose of which was to keep people too busy working to feed their families to realise the truth of the situation.

The point i made was that government and business are merged into one in 1984. The strings of both (and indeed the rebellion) are pulled by the same people. This is increasingly the case in the modern world. You want an example other than Bush? Look at Italy.


QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 3 2006, 05:51 PM)
However, do not attribute virtues to government.  It varies from a benign dictatorship (ala many European governments) to an amalgam of varied interests (ala the United States).  In no case is the government moved by purely wholesome motivations.  They may be wholesome during some period, but over time the role of government is a restriction on freedom, not a guarantee of it.

an amalgam of varied interests? nah, i'd say it was an oligopoly, where only a limited related few families run the whole show, and its only their unvaried money oriented interests that are served.

But you did pretty much paraphrase the concern i have... certain (if not all) governments are not motivated by purely wholesome motivations. But surely that is exactly what they SHOULD be motivated by and no by money. That is exactly the question. The president of the united states should be obliged to break down any links between government and business, should direct federal policy actions (through his assistants etc) with a purely wholesome motivation. this should include issues such as survival of the species and environmental concerns (not pretend nothing is wrong and carry on as before).

the president should be the healing balm that counters man's greed, not the deepest darkest part of the problem.
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