Look, it ain’t 1895 anymore. Does the American government tremble because of Ford, General Motors, U.S. Steel, Standard Oil of New Jersey, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and other mighty enterprises, many of which have collapsed completely?
No. It is the opposite. The corporations tremble before the government regulators who have the power to tie them into knots. And their main response is not to fight but to flee abroad.
Oh, mighty General Motors saved by the great Obama (Hooray! Hooray! … for the great messiah of business) with billions of your taxpaying dollars in order to create employment… in China!
Do workers living in hovels fear the boss telling them they are now out of work with no unemployment or pension, that their hours are increased, that they are going to be thrown out of their company homes because they were ten minutes late to work?
No, it is the unions—at least where such things survive in the heavy industry — that have the whip hand. The government is 100 percent on their side.
Do the big-bellied capitalists blow cigar smoke into the faces of newspaper editors and threaten to cut off advertising unless scandals are covered up? No, it is the government’s scandals that are covered up. And if anything, the companies are made to face unfair charges.
The corporate executives want to look good. They want people to say and write nice things about them. They want to be regarded as good corporate citizens. They spend money running image ads about how they feed songbirds instead of doing breakthrough research.
They can’t even get oil-drilling going off most of the coast at a time when America has no energy independence, prices are sky high, and the economy needs a boost.
What is reality here? Yes, there were such times in America of bullying plutocratic greedy polluting capitalist super-villains, but that just isn’t 2012.