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Deregulation, Privatization, and Cheap Labor: Obama's Corporate Plantations

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From President Obama's Complete 2013 Year End Press Conference President Obama discusses Edward Snowden, the NSA, Iran, Syria, the Sochi Winter Olympics and health care at his final press conference of 2013. The Daily ...
President Obama's Complete 2013 Year End Press Conference President Obama discusses Edward Snowden, the NSA, Iran, Syria, the Sochi Winter Olympics and health care at his final press conference of 2013. The Daily ...
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The man who promised to restore hope and bring cha nge to America, has announced a plan to open five corporate plantations in the United States. On Thursday, President Barack Obama, whose policies have resulted in the greatest number of public sector job losses in US History (Public sector jobs have declined by 718,000 jobs since Obama took office.) announced the opening of five "Promise Zones" located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. According to an article in USA Today:

"Under the proposed Promise Zones, the federal government plans to partner with local governments and businesses to provide tax incentives and grants to help combat poverty." ("Obama to name 5 "Promise Zones' for assistance," USA Today)

"Combating poverty" has nothing to do with it. Obama plans to shower the nation's biggest corporations -- which recorded record profits in the last year and are presently sitting on more than $1.3 trillion in cash -- with more lavish subsidies and tax breaks while providing an endless source of cheap slave labor to boost future earnings. The president believes that the wealth generated in these profit zones, er, promise zones will trickle down to the area's residents, even though -- as the Christian Science Monitor notes -- "it can be hard to tell whether a program's benefits reach the poorest people, rather than flowing largely into the hands of the business owners who get the tax credits."

Here's more from USA Today:

"Obama said his administration plans 'to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We'll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, and education, and housing.'" (USA Today)

Translation: The Obama administration is committed to assisting the corporate oligarchy whenever possible even if it means further eviscerating the rapidly-diminishing US middle class and reducing millions of hard-working Americans to grinding third-world poverty. Deregulation will allow corporations to privatize policing, education and any other lucrative public resource or service. According to the New York Times: "White House officials said the Promise Zones initiative would not provide new money, rather it would be aimed at providing the local governments and agencies "aid in cutting through red tape to get access to existing resources."

No new money??

How do you like that? So, the man that helped push through the multi-trillion dollar Wall Street bailouts is not going to give one red cent to the nation's poorest and most needy people. Instead, he is going to do whatever he can to eliminate the rules that keep voracious corporations from feeding at the public trough.

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Conservative Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky -- in a statement,  praised the proposed Promise Zone for Eastern Kentucky saying:

"I wrote a letter last year supporting this designation because this region has suffered enormous economic hardship over the last several years." 

Mitch McConnell likes Obama's plan. That says it all, doesn't it?

Plantations were a familiar feature of the antebellum South, but were abandoned following the Civil War. Now a new generation of corporate kleptocrats want to revive the tradition. They think that weakening consumer demand and persistent stagnation can only be overcome by skirting vital labor protections and shifting more of the cost of production onto workers. Obama's promise zones provide a way for big business to slip the chains of "onerous" regulations and restore, what many CEO's believe to be the Natural Order; that is, a Darwinian, dog-eat-dog world where only the strongest and most cunning survive. This is a world in which Obama has done quite well, although he's had to distance himself from his political base and throw friends under the bus (Jeremiah Wright) in his relentless climb to the top. Even so, selling out has never been an issue for Obama.

Special economic zones are not a new idea, in fact, they've been tried in the UK, Australia and other places where the global bank cartel exerts its grip. In Tokyo, last month, right-wing PM, Shinzo Abe announced the launching of his own "Special Economic Zones." Here's a short summary of Abe's plan from an article in the Japan Times:

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"Special zones aimed at spurring corporate investment through deregulation and tax incentives are to be created in Tokyo as well as Osaka and central Aichi Prefecture...Other deregulation steps to debut in such zones will let private firms operate public schools, let experts without teaching licenses teach classes, expand the scope of treatment that can be administered by non-Japanese doctors and nurses, facilitate the use of foreign drugs and increase the number of hospital beds." (Japan Times)

Sound familiar? Deregulation, privatization, and cheap labor; the toxic coctail that has vaporized the US middle class and wiped out a good portion of the developing world.

Obama calls these promise zones. We think corporate plantations is a more fitting moniker.


Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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Obama calls these promise zones. We think corpora... by 911TRUTH on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 11:58:47 AM
A slight variation on the regulatory fallacy is t... by Lance Brofman on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 1:17:31 PM
I've never seen such skewed information as in thi... by lindsncal on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 1:38:57 PM
You're considered garbage if you're not rich. Ob... by Rusty Wilson on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 1:40:22 PM
This country still has every freedom and opportuni... by Lee Beacham on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 1:55:39 PM
Brother you are  really out of touch with rea... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Jan 13, 2014 at 2:31:33 AM
no more good cop/bad cop pretense between dems and... by thepiffler on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 5:14:52 PM
Part of the problem with national solutions to lo... by Derryl Hermanutz on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 6:57:27 PM
Good analogy with failed World Bank projects.This ... by Charles Roll on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 3:14:16 AM
This type of behavior is nothing new for this pre... by Arianna Marie Cigolini on Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 9:44:47 AM
As long Republicans try to be Democrat-lite, we wi... by Lee Beacham on Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 1:57:17 PM
If the true conservative approach includes an actu... by Derryl Hermanutz on Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 6:05:54 PM
First, corporations as businesses in America are r... by Lee Beacham on Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 7:17:05 PM
"Any person or company that is so rich it can buy ... by Charles Roll on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 3:21:36 AM
Derryl I agree with much of what you say, especia... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 3:03:10 PM
I wrote about Promise Zones last week in Nonprofit... by Rick Cohen on Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 4:51:15 PM
Well said, Mr. Cohen! Agreed. We have been there, ... by Charles Roll on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 3:25:04 AM
When and how can we take matters into our own han... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Jan 13, 2014 at 2:22:23 AM
There's definitely no panacea promised by WSDEs. F... by Charles Roll on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 3:44:19 AM
Alperovitz tells Paul Jay that the experience o... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 10:49:44 PM