Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's Time For A Little Populism, via Balloon Juice:

Corporations being regarded as people by our laws and courts seems to be back firing a bit. If you operate a hot dog stand and sell contaminated hot dogs that get people sick you are out of business and get sued. If you operate an oil drilling operation and cause an eco-disaster you collect insurance money for you losses, you have limited liability and the profits keep rolling in. We need some fundamental change.

That sounds about right to me. The game has been rigged for so long that people have become inured to the results. Sadly, it's difficult for most of us to relate to the shenanigans on Wall Street, the machinations of big oil, and the incestuous dynamic between our government, corporations, and the lobbyists who act as financial Jezebels in the relationship. 

But when we lose our jobs and can't get a mortgage due to the oafish, criminal behavior of the money managers, and The Daily Show parrots the kabuki theater of the House and Senate nightly, even the most dense of us begin to realize that we've been played as a bunch of saps. Start throwing some petroleum-coated birds and dead fish on the television news next to video of BP, Trans Ocean, and Halliburton passing the buck while lighting cigars with sawbucks, and the closing argument has been made.

In a perfect world, the concept of privatizing the profit while putting the public on the hook for the risk would seem ridiculous. But that's where we've landed. The question now becomes whether it's too late for the pendulum to swing back toward honesty, fairness, ethics, and responsibility.

I fear that it has.

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