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Modern Day Robber Barons

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Message August Adams
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From the eighties on we have been living in a post Milton Friedman economic model that has not been clearly understood by the people. It has been setting us up for the ultimate corporate heist. “Trickle down” economics and the idea of shrinking government have been an illusion. The terms “democracy” and “capitalism” have become so intertwined in the public psyche that we think that capitalism and free markets are the same thing.

Unfortunately we have not been given “free market” capitalism, instead we have been given a “Super Capitalism” model that destroys free enterprise. Breaking up large monopolies and oversized corporations through anti-trust litigation has all but disappeared. We have entered a period of corporate destruction that at present seems unstoppable.

Problem is, the capitalistic model of Milton Friedman is not a free market system. It is a highly controlled market system that benefits those that have monopolistic powers. It benefits the status quo to the detriment of society at large.

Monopolies are the enemy of a free market system. Monopolies control price, quality and distribution to the detriment of local economies. They destroy local economies and society for the benefit of the few. Monopolies are not democratic markets. Oversize monopolies remove choice, free will and destroy local communities by taking resources away from the local economy.

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Privatization and deregulation have been an elaborate ruse. They have accelerated the selling off of our core governmental services in the wake of September 11th. Traditional rolls of government have been shifted to private hands at an alarming rate and with almost no public debate. Huge profits have been made and public oversight has been reduced or eliminated. These monolithic corporations are shielded from public scrutiny through corporate protections and a lack of oversight. These corporations have no public oversight, they are free to price gauge, outsource and use international labor at the expense of our society at large.

These governmental giveaways are worse then taxation without representation. Corporations are not required to have public debate or oversight. They can charge what ever they feel like and they do not even have to disclose their private practices. They are given a license to steal from us.

The policies of Reagan; deregulation and the suspension of anti-trust litigation were the set-up. The passing of international and sweeping corporate friendly trade agreements like NAFTA and the creation of the WTO established the infrastructure. And under Bush, and the shock of September 11th, the great American give away transpired right under our noses, it happened while our attention was focused on national security.

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While we reeled in shock from the events of September 11th, our President, his administration and our Congress stood by and gutted our Constitution and civil liberties. But they did more than that. While we were reeling from the events of September 11th, this administration and their corporate cronies, looted and pillaged functioning areas of our government. They have plunged us into record amounts of national debt.

This government (including Congress) handed over state assets to private corporations at an alarming rate. Insiders to this government have profited handsomely. Our public services have been given away and been privatized Black Water, Halliburton and the like provide services at several times the rate it would cost for military personnel to perform the same functions. They are shielded from public oversight because they are private corporations. They can charge anything they want and we are limited in the information we can obtain. Governmental oversight has been circumvented.

These “new enterprises” are not created in a free market system. They are not openly discussed and debated with proper controls in place. They are gifts to wealthy Washington insiders.

They should be highly scrutinized – but they are not. These gifted agreements with virtually no public debate instantly form super monopolies and create billionaires. Trouble is – these private corporations do not have the same protections and oversight that are built into our governmental process. There is no due process over a private corporation – these giveaways are a sham.

In many ways, these newly created public benefit corporations are shielded from public scrutiny through their corporate protections.

It should be a crime. Any corporation providing public services should have increased public oversight. If they are providing a public service or a governmental function, there should be public input and discussion. Unfortunately, often there is none.

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Those lucky enough be given state assets instantly recognized super profits and become billionaires. All to the detriment of the people who pay for it through their taxes.

Naomi Klein in her book “The Shock Doctrine” discusses how in the aftermath of shock, whether that shock is caused by a natural disaster or a man made one (like a war against a soverign nation) it is possible to push through massive economic reforms. Trouble is these reforms benefit the status quo and the powerfully entrenched politically connected elite.

These Washington insiders are able to parlay their connections and create private corporations that are instant monopolies and reap super profits. They make billionaires out of privatizing the people’s government.

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August Adams is a CPA and holds a Masters Degree in Psychology. He is an activist striving to create a fair and just world for all.
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