Im currently reading Arianna Huffington's "Pigs At the Trough" which is a very horrifying and informative book about the power of wealth and politics. I am wholly convinced that washington is owned by major corporations. There is something like 38 corporate lobbyists for every one member of congress.
We live in a system where the most corrupt people are rewarded for failing. Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco, in May of 02 charged for avoiding $1 million worth of sales tax, and fleeced his company for more than $11 million dollars in loans to buy furniture! In his last three years at Tyco Kozlowski recieved $466.7 million in salary, bonuses and perks. He was doing so great that in the summer of 01 Tyco closed or consolidated 300 plants and laid off 11,000 workers.
Sam Waksal, former CEO of ImClone, was convicted of bank and securities fraud, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and perjury.
In the last three years, the stock of SBC communications (a company that provides the dialtone for one in three americans) has dropped 27%. Meanwhile, SBC's CEO, Edward Whitacre has seen his compensation rise. In 01, the third year in a row that the value of SBC declined, Whitacre recieved his largest windfall ever: $82 million at present values.
In April '02 The Wall Street Journal
reported that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made $706.1 million in total compensation in 2001. Shareholder return for that year was negative
James McDonald CEO of Scientific-Atlanta, Inc. nade $86.6 million that same year, his shareholders got a return of negative
Since the beginning of this century over 570 public companies- including most famously Enron, Global Crossing, Adelphia, WorldCom and Kmart- have declared bankruptcy, causing 2.7 million americans to lost jobs, and a loss of nearly $9 trillion in market value on Wall Street. Corporate corruption is real, and if necessary I have MANY more examples from Huffington's book to give. The most sickening and startling part is the power that these corporate elites have over Washington. In short, heres the top five corporate lobbyists:
1) Philip Morris (suprise
) whom is responsible for making a product that kills 400,000 Americans every year, spent $54,216,000 on lobbying congress alone. Since 1995 PhilMorr has given over $13.5 million in campaign contributions to nicotene stained congressman.
2) Verizons Predecessor Bell Atlantic spent a whoppign $41.9 million on lobbying anti-trust issues, as well as contributed over $7.5 million in for pro monopoly congerssional races.
3)Exxon Mobil gets a good spot with $34.1 million worth of lobbying services between 97 and 99. Exxon and Mobil (later ExxonMobil) have given a combined $4 million in campaign contributions, and you could say that they got a bargain since thte government okayed their controversial, competition cooling merger in 1999
4) Ford Motors hsa lobbyed a total of $29.5 million and given over $2.5 million in campaign contributions since 96. Most of this lobbying was aimed at saving them from tough fuel economy standards. Currently treated as light trucks, SUV's get less miles to the gallon than the ORIGINAL MODEL T's! Thats some successful lobbying.
FInally for one more example, in case you not convinced, there are quite a few family ties between Congress and the lobbying business. Lobbyist
Chet Lott, son of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) the senate Minority leader
Linda Daschle, wife of Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S. Dak) the senate Majority Leader
Joshua Hastert son of Rep. Dennis Haster (R-Ill) Speaker of the House
Scott Hatch son of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
Phyllis Landrieu the aunt of Sen. Mary Landrieu(D-La.)
John Breaux, Jr. son of Sen. John Breaux Sr. (D-Nev)
Anne Bingaman wife of Sen Jeff Bingaman (D-N, Mex)For some great data on who gives campaign contributions to who, go to www.opensecrets.org
Thats enough... now the questions:1)
CEO's today make over 280 times the pay of their workers. Meanwhile, many CEO's break the law as readily as any petty criminal. The examples above are only a few extreme examples of the few that get caught. Why should we, the 99% accept this behavior from the people that benefit so lavishly from our consumer instncts?
[B]2)Democracy is representative government, ruled by majority decision. Plutocracy is rule by the rich. Is America slipping further towards becoming a plutocratic republic?3) For you non-Americans on the site, has this corruption of business since the 90's boom happened globally? Or is it strictly a rich-white-american thing?