#171 – Dick Bernard: Big Dogs* out for the kill (who may unwittingly kill themselves, and us, too.)

Last evening’s 60 Minutes on CBS had a long and very useful segment about the why’s of the Wall Street collapse, and why the Big Dogs on the Street haven’t learned their lessons. It is very worth your while to watch the segment in its entirety. It is about half an hour.
Earlier in the week, and presumably this week as well, the monolith U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been flooding the local TV airwaves with intentionally scary prime time ads against Health Care Reform legislation. The prime target is Rep. Collin Peterson, in Minnesota’s rural 7th District, a sprawling rural district that essentially covers the western third of Minnesota. Peterson is a Democrat, and apparently is viewed as a target because he is wavering on supporting health care reform.
Yesterday, I read an interesting commentary by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its campaign. Succinctly, the U.S. Chamber is not really what it portrays itself to be: a coalition of small business owners across the U.S. It’s funding comes primarily from 19 major corporations who names are not disclosed (and need not be). You can read the commentary, published on Friday, March 12, here.
The Chamber of Commerce’s railing against Health Care Reform seems absurd on its face. After all, all of these supposed “trillions of dollars” and “billions in new taxes” they allege will be spent will flow into Big Business coffers, one way or another. Capitalism will make out big time from Reform. I think the real back story here is that the Chamber fears competition, and regulation, both of which are positives for consumers, but bad if one’s sole objective is making more and more and more money. But…what do I know?
Also, yesterday, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune was a long front page article in the OpEx (Commentary) section about government subsidies to Farmers, who gets them, and why they continue, even though they are dinosaurs which basically benefit the biggest farmers the most, and generally hurt agriculture and the economy. The same Rep Collin Peterson, mentioned above, is the Chair of the House Committee that fails to rein in the subsidies. His problem: reelection. This is not an uncommon problem for legislators. “We the people” regularly kill ourselves by our own greed and stupidity. To be courageous and a lawmaker is an almost certain recipe for political death.
None of these links are uplifting, about our future, but nonetheless they are informative, and worth the time to watch and or read.
And then to act.
Knowledge is power, but only if it is used and shared.
* – My apologies to dogs, for which I have great affection. I’m talking about the occasional destructive rogues.