January 2004

Private corporations drain lifeblood from our country

By Galen Larson

It did not take many years for me to realize the truth in President Eisenhower’s admonition to be wary of the militaryindustrial complex, but he should have included in his warning the giant private corporations that suck our blood like vampires. Through our own greed and hypocritical attitude toward a lecherous past president, we have allowed the courts to appoint an administration that has been working to remake this country into a Third World nation.

Throughout the ’90s we were seduced into investing in companies that were not viable, even though their stocks grew like a winner’s loot in a fixed craps game.

The CEOs and brokers extolled the virtues of investing in these shell games while they raked in the profits. Some got so greedy they could not sustain; others faded like a fog, their investors holding the snipe bag while the corporate thieves ran off laughing. Will they ever be prosecuted? I doubt it.

Now, Martha, that’s a different story. She didn’t do any damage to her employees and her loss was mostly her own, yet the Justice Department is spending millions to prosecute her while Kenny Lay and Boy George are tipping a few cream sodas.

Like a giant octopus, the corporate tentacles of Big Business strike out to affect our lives, through inadequate health care, expensive pharmaceuticals, polluting energy, inefficient transportation, slanted news, and mindless entertainment.

Our military has become privatized. Corporations furnish and cook the food, repair the trucks, deliver the fuel and fly the troops to combat zones. If you get the chance for R&R, you pay your own way. (Was it true or did I imagine this? — a wounded soldier was given a bill for food he consumed while in the hospital. Not even I could dream that one up, but some corporate bookkeeper apparently could.)

The corporations have destroyed the highest quality of life in history by not respecting their employees and the taxpayers that make them ever richer. They have killed the unions by taking jobs overseas for lower pay - not for lower domestic prices but for higher profits. The subsidies and tax breaks and offshore shelters put undue burden on the minimum- wage employees. Then they point a finger at the jobless welfare recipients as they take the largest piece of the pie.

A little state news. Our Colorado governor is going to put the screws to those who don’t have car insurance. If these working poor can’t afford the exorbitant premiums now, how are they to find two or three jobs within walking distance when he takes their cars? You teach to the test. Get everybody off welfare into a nonexistent job market and everything will be just fine.

It works fine for them that has. And the rest of us . . .well, we’d better start studying the survival techniques used by people in Somalia, India, and Mexico. We’re going to be needing them.

Galen Larson is a landowner west of Cortez.