Many people are raised with an orientation, indeed an imperative sense, that puts compassion and ethics — ones values and principles — as central to their dealings with others. This foundation becomes part of their identities and shapes the directions that their lives take.
One does not have to look only at charitable institutions to find this to be the case. One can see it in the teacher who works day after day against daunting odds to uplift materially disadvantaged children living in extreme slums. Further, the Girl Scouts, who devise a special project at a senior center, exemplify this mind set when they earnestly strive to bring joy to the elderly of whom many are on their last legs. Likewise, the social workers tirelessly toiling to help families whose homes have been foreclosed and the countless volunteers who gather supplies for victims of disasters typify this focus.
Therefore, one has to wonder about the morality of numerous U.S. government and business leaders, especially the ones who routinely put their own limitless self-gain above the needs of others. What sorts of people are these? Just how did their families and society in general fail them in matters of conscience?
In considering the answers, one often winds up incredulous and outraged by their actions. After all, what kinds of individuals lie about their underlying motives while they systematically destroy the people, the culture and the country of Iraq primarily in order to wrestle control of their oil for companies that favor American interests? What sort of individuals condone torture as their nation’s covert plan to help ensure that domination of the Middle East can be better assured? What sort of individuals publicly talk of service to society and change in which we can all believe while expanding resource wars in order to secure geo-political supremacy over regions rich in fossil fuels at a time during which scientific evidence inarguable points to the need to direct national focus on benign forms of energy?
Certainly, they are aware that this redirection of plans is a necessary precondition for future generations to not face a living hell on Earth due to climate change effects. Surely they must know that they have no moral or legal right to invade other lands for coveted war spoils regardless of the degree that they seem essential to have. Do they?
It is especially worthwhile to ponder the responses to these kinds of questions as one, also, considers that these same individuals, of whom many are U.S. Congressmen, annually allocate fifty-four percent of the federal budget to military related endeavors. Simultaneously, they are mandated to hand over nineteen percent further to the ongoing payment of interest on monies currently owed to maintain their present scale of funding for armed service, bailouts and other reckless ventures.
These circumstances leave a whopping twenty-seven percent left over for ALL other U.S. programs unless, of course, further loans beyond the ongoing intended ones are taken out, i.e., to purchase Swine Flu vaccines. With these additional costs in mind, one can anticipate that legislators will continue in arrangements to borrow staggering sums of money to sustain their disastrous spending patterns, as is mentioned in “The U.S. Federal Budget Pipeline: Where Do The Dollars Drain?” All the while that individual States, like California, and individuals continue to be devastated by the indirect consequences.
In a similar vein, one questions about the morality of people who keep supporting big business practices and amassing wealth for themselves1 like modern duplicates of mad King Midas while an increasing number of their fellow Americans wind up jobless and homeless. Meanwhile, a backdrop like this leads Ramsey Clark to suggest, “But we’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy: a government by the wealthy.”
Accordingly, U.S. employment positions continue to transfer to offshore sites to bolster a plan for maximum profits for the already grossly enriched at the expense of the populace at large. Analogously for companies on U.S. soil, cutbacks and closures have a similarly deleterious effect in terms of under and unemployment.
In relation, the public, obviously, cannot make lots of purchases while an inadequate supply of money is coming into households during which time store shelves are overstocked due to past practices wherein the market became saturated with far too many items for a wide variety of products. Consequently, the manufacture of goods grinds to an almost complete halt and the economy continues to tumble.
Yet no Works Progress Administration (WPA) and extended Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) programs are put in place to make up for the financial deficits that average people are experiencing even though the move could, indirectly, jumpstart spending. Further, the groups that stand to fabulously benefit from the status quo remaining as is continue to do so even as the masses flounder.
As Paul Kane points out in “Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments”:
The list of [lawmakers] who have personal investments in the corporations that will be affected by the [health-care] legislation — which President Obama has called this year’s highest domestic priority — includes Congress’s most powerful leaders and a bipartisan collection of lawmakers in key committee posts. Their total health-care holdings could be worth $27 million, because congressional financial disclosure forms released yesterday require reporting of only broad ranges of holdings rather than precise values of assets.
Health care is not the only industry that is both heavily regulated by Congress and heavily invested in by lawmakers. As The Washington Post reported Thursday, more than 20 members of the House leadership and the House Financial Services Committee hold investments in companies that received more than $200 billion in federal bailouts.
On the Senate banking committee, at least a half-dozen senators had significant investments in companies that benefited from the $700 billion bailout legislation that the panel helped draft last fall. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) reported $18,000 to $95,000 in investments in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae bonds, and also that he sold at least $15,000 in Fannie ‘step-up’ bonds at the end of last year. The committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Miss.), reported holding $260,000 to $850,000 in money market and retirement accounts with Countrywide, Citigroup and Wachovia.2
Now contrast their bounty with these stark facts of which all were derived from Michael Moore’s investigations.3 (One can agree with his overall perceptions or not. Either way, it does not change the basic actualities.)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually reported that 54.5 million people were uninsured for at least part of the year. Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2006. Centers for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/insur200706.pdf
According to the most recent estimate from the Congressional Budget Office issued in January of this year , for the ten-year period, 2006 through 2016, the projected spending [for medical purposes] is $848 billion. “The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2008 to 2017,” Congressional Budget Office, January 2007. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/77xx/doc7731/01-24-BudgetOutlook.pdf
At one point, Moore notes where the U.S. ranks in terms of health care around the world. ‘The United States slipped to No. 37 in health care around the world, just slightly ahead of Slovenia,’ he said. That ranking is based on a 2000 report from the World Health Organization…
Meanwhile, the health-care industry lobbyists are trying their utmost to guarantee that there are no major shifts in US medical policies. Why would they press for alternatives when it has proven to be such a boon for them and many legislators to keep everything the same? Therefore, they throw almost a million and a half dollars per day at the effort to shape Congressional opinion while sometimes bribing or threatening government officials in the process.4
Concurrently, let’s not forget that these tempted lawmakers are the very same ones who vote on war and black ops budgets for which, if they make certain choices, they’ll be lavishly compensated with money for their reelection campaigns, as well as receive stock option tips and other perks, such as highly lucrative job offers after they leave public office. All considered, what a boon such alluring plans en toto have been!
For example, “members of Congress invested nearly 196 million dollars of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon.”5 At the same time, the heads of companies that receive favorable legislation pertaining to subsidies and bailout cash do not make out poorly either. As such, the salaries for directors of certain organizations and their bonus payments are considerable and, for the ones who don’t get direct funding, they still make out well due to favorable deals made relative to resources (i.e., the petrol, minerals, metals, etc.) indirectly obtained through U.S. military assaults.
As such, they can do well for themselves even when they do not make out as well as the banking/oil Rockefeller family or the Rothschilds, with their respective holdings equaling roughly (US) $11 trillion and (U.S.) $100 trillion according to Gaylon Ross Sr., author of Who’s Who of the Global Elite.6 Correspondingly, Bank of America chief Ken Lewis made a mere $24.8 million in 2007 while performance bonuses were lavishly paid out in this banksters’ paradise, one managed so poorly that it has taken in at least $25 billion in bailout funds.7
This sort of happening being more the norm than not, it is apparent that no importance has been attached to Abraham Lincoln’s counsel: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the Country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.”
With the beefed up surveillance of private citizens by operatives in assorted government agencies and the above sorts of disasters, some researchers are understandably questioning whether the U.S. is slipping towards a permanent plutocratic, oligarchical and/or fascist state. If so for the latter condition, the opinions of Naomi Wolf and Laurence Britt, as well as this following description from the Wikipedia anti-capitalism section,8 might have an uncomfortable ring of familiarity.
…Fascism protected the land-owning elites and is regarded as a reaction against the rising power of the working class…
Adolf Hitler stated in Mein Kampf that ‘the attitude of the State towards capital would be comparatively simple and clear. Its only object would be to make sure that capital remained subservient to the State’. Hitler made a clear distinction between ‘capital which is purely the product of creative labour and … capital which is exclusively the result of financial speculation.’…
Marxists argue that fascism is a form of state capitalism that emerges when laissez-faire capitalism is in crisis and in need of rescue by government intervention. Fascists have operated from a Social Darwinist view of human relations. Their aim has been to promote ‘superior’ individuals and weed out the weak. In terms of economic practice, this meant promoting the interests of successful businessmen while destroying trade unions and other organizations of the working class. Lawrence Britt suggests that protection of corporate power is an essential part of fascism. Historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because ‘the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise… Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social.’
Classical liberal economist Ludwig von Mises argued that fascism was collectivist and anti-capitalistic. According to Mises, fascism maintained an illusion of respecting private property, since individuals could not use their property how they wished because the government frequently enacted regulations (on behalf of government allies in the business sector) that were not in line with the functioning of a free market.
Historian Robert Paxton contends that fascists’ anti-capitalism was highly selective; the socialism that the fascists wanted was National Socialism, which denied only foreign or enemy property rights (including that of internal enemies). They did, however, cherish national producers.
One might add that they particularly cherish fiscal producers, wizards that magically pull a seemingly endless stream of money out of the air for their favorite recipients. As H. L. Birum, Sr., suggests, “The Federal Reserve Bank is nothing but a banking fraud and an unlawful crime against civilization. Why? Because they ‘create’ the money made out of nothing, and our Uncle Sap Government issues their ‘Federal Reserve Notes’ and stamps our Government approval with NO obligation whatever from these Federal Reserve Banks, Individual Banks or National Banks, etc.”
Moreover, one can easily supplement his views with those of John Adams: “Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good.” (Can you imagine the comments that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin and other founders of the nation would make were they to observe a number of contemporary Congressional activities in relation to banks and other organizations?)
At the same time, it’s not all that hard to conclude that, for some time, U.S. government policy has been one typically called “last man standing.” In other words, it is to throw the majority of federal funds into an effort to commandeer the last amounts of nonrenewable (and, in some cases, renewable, although depleting) critical material goods (through global resource battles, programs like NAFTA and so forth) with a sort of survival of the fittest (a modernized Social Darwinian derivative) model in mind.
As Henry Kissinger quipped, “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy” and “control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” In other words, let’s use the troops to enforce hegemony everywhere!
With such a Machiavellian frame of reference for expert guidance, the majority of US federal funds, of course, will continue to be slated for such endeavors as broadening wars, interest payments on further borrowed money and ongoing bailouts. In a similar vein, the fittest do not include the looted American middle and poor classes. They are immaterial and, as such, are mostly ignored or, if in terribly dire straits, pushed out of homes to live in city streets (90,000 in L.A. alone), tent cities (updated Hoovervilles) and car parks if they are fortunate enough to still have a vehicle in which to live after their domiciles are foreclosed and their jobs are removed. (Meanwhile, such loss is simply another program to enhance the monetary advancement by the elites — the ones fittest to survive in the ever worsening environmental and financial downturns brought on by draconian economic growth policies.)
In the end, one has to ask whether practices that are aimed at government and business leaders mutually servicing each other represent the best interests of Americans and other peoples of the world. Assuming that this is not the case, great accountability must be demanded of these so-called leaders.
If they cannot be made to conform to reasonable moral codes of conduct, the USA will surely become a terrible place to be a citizen for the majority of people who find that, while conditions in their personal lives deteriorate, the wealthy elites make out just fine due to self-enriching agendas, like deficient public health-care programs, that put everyone else in jeopardy. Put another way by Justice Louis D. Brandeis: “we can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
- Google Answers: average income of members of the u.s. congress and The Congressional Millionaires Club. [↩]
- “Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments,” Washington Post. [↩]
- MichaelMoore.com : SiCKO : ‘SiCKO’ News : AP vs. THE … . [↩]
- “Health-care industry spending over $1.4 million per day on lobbying,” Washington Post.; “Ethics Panel Rebukes DeLay,” Washington Post; “DownWithTyranny!: Has The Heath Care Industry Bribed Enough …; MEDIGATE; “Econbrowser: Fiscal Exposure and Medicare Part D“; “Lies, bribes and hidden costs,” Salon.com; () “Who tried to bribe Rep. Smith?” Timothy Noah, Slate Magazine. [↩]
- FINANCE: U.S. Lawmakers Invested in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars, IPS. [↩]
- The True Evil Doers. [↩]
- “Obama talks tough on CEO pay,” CNN, Feb. 4, 2009; Executive PayWatch Database; “Bank Of America To Get Billions More In Bailout …“; “Bank of America Has yet to Repay bailout funds to TARP,” NY Post; “BofA receives another $20 billion from U.S. bailout fund.” [↩]
- Naomi Wolf, “Fascist America, in 10 easy steps,” Guardian; “George W Bush and the 14 points of fascism“; “Anti-capitalism,” Wikipedia. [↩]