Not surprisingly, special interests that stand to profit from government policies use their wealth to steer governments in their favor. In America, one of their most effective tools is lobbying, along with channeling campaign contributions to politicians who do their bidding.
But that’s not their only way of influencing governments.
There’s a more subtle means of bullying politicians. I saw it in Jamaica when Norman Manley became prime minister, and when his son Michael took the reins some decades later. Both were avowed socialists, and global financial interests don’t like socialism. So the moneybags backed away from Jamaican investments, starving the island’s economy.
And I’m seeing it in the U.S. today, as Big Business lines up against the Obama Administration.
It’s basically a kind of blackmail. By withholding investment when a government pursues policies they don’t like, business interests undermine economies and trigger unemployment. The objective is to make voters so mad they turn against the administration.
That’s obviously what’s happening in America.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has disclosed that large corporations are hoarding cash – nearly two trillion dollars worth. And the chamber says the reason is lack of confidence in Obama. The chamber claims corporate leaders are antsy because Obama is imposing too many regulations on them.
If these corporations had more faith in government policies, the chamber tells us, they would free up their cash and jobs would pop up like mushrooms.
What the corporate propagandists are not saying is that they want policies that give them the biggest bang for their buck regardless of the harm those policies would do to America. And they don’t care how much suffering they cause to get their way.
By hoarding cash, these corporations are punishing everyday Americans to spite the president. And they will get away with it if American voters aren’t smart enough to recognize extortion when they see it. Instead of being mad at Big Business, some voters are blaming the president and Congress for their troubles.
You hear a lot of Americans threatening to “throw the bums out” come November. And the corporate powerhouses are apparently planning to wait for the Republicans to regain control of Congress before loosening their purse strings. The ensuing flood of cash would create a temporary boom and the Republicans would get the credit.
Conservatives would say the Great Recession persisted because the president is a socialist.
But he is not a socialist. He is trying to steer a middle course between unfettered private enterprise and a government guided economy.
The president is looking to “small business” to do its part in the fledgling economic recovery. But as long as banks refuse to lend operating funds to the small business owners, that isn’t going to happen. The banks are in the Big Business camp, and Big Business is waging war against the country.
If President Obama were a socialist, his administration would simply shoulder Big Business aside and manage the nation’s resources for the benefit of the people.
Of course, he won’t do that. He is too staunch a believer in private enterprise.
So it’s up to voters to wait out the cash hoarders. Corporations can’t keep their money idle forever. You don’t make a profit doing that, and profit is the life’s blood of all business – big and small.
Smart voters would not “throw the bums out” in the mid-term elections. They would keep the Democrats in the driver’s seat.
The alternative is too scary to contemplate. For while there might be a short-term boom as the hoarders release their cash, the long term would surely bring a Great Depression as the failed policies of yesteryear are reintroduced and the robber barons are turned loose upon the land.