Category Archives: ALEC

Rollerball Syndrome

 On Monday I read the article by Paul Krugman in the New York Times about the group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council funded by the Koch brothers, Exxon Mobil, et al). Actually I have read about this group before, but this summary was so succinct and clear it galvanized my vague paranoia into something more solid. ALEC is a group which introduces bills into state legislatures and which has been successful in having their bills passed in their original forms. This is a Conservative group and has a strong connection to corporations. This group seems to be working to privatize everything: schools, hospitals, health care.
This makes sense. If America is not going to be a manufacturing nation; if only services are left as profitable business endeavors then the corporations want to be the ones who rake in any profits that will be generated in these areas. They do not seem loathe to taking over the American government in a much more public way than they have in the past in order to line their pockets. The American middle class will truly lose any role they currently have in the governing of America, which happens to be almost negligible right now.

The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people. This decision will invade every corner of our lives. Corporations are like people in some important ways. They have a survival instinct and they can adopt whatever strategies are necessary to stay alive. They can reinvent themselves in new forms. However, there are differences; they can spend large sums of money to buy influence which most of us cannot and they can put pressure on our government which relies on business for its economic health. Capitalism is the best way to ensure a healthy economy, but capitalism on steroids, capitalism which uses money and influence to tweak the law so it favors business even when the people in the society are not benefiting from the profits of the corporations, puts most of us in the position of being at war with corporations because they seem to be stealing our rights, our votes and our money.

The argument is that we all have the opportunity to be wealthy and influential. This is the “if you can’t beat them, join them” view I guess. So look around and find that one thing that will make you rich, and once you are rich you will also be able to tweak the law. But be careful because you will probably want to influence the laws in different ways than you would have when you were just an ordinary citizen.