About Us
Mission Statement
Rules of Conduct
 
Name:
Pswd:
Remember Me
Register
 

Takin' Care of Business
Author: BobR    Date: 04/07/2010 12:34:15

It is a basic tenet of Republican and Libertarian philosophy that the best way to treat business is with a hands-off approach. The market will reward the good companies and the bad ones will go out of business, they say. Government regulation and interference does more harm than good they say. And yet - we've seen the economy nearly crash this country due to practices by banks and investment firms, actions that were once illegal. Business will always take care of business first, swallow the competition, and create monopolies that are "too big to fail". They'll also skirt the law and even break it in search of a little more profit. People first?... hardly.

The most recent devastating example of that is the recent mining disaster in W. Va. A blast there killed 25 miners (so far), in what is described as one of the worst mining disasters in U.S. history. If this were a "one-of" unforeseen happenstance, it might be forgivable. The reality, though, is that Massey Energy - the owner of the mine - has had accidents before, and has been cited 600 times in the last year and a half for safety violations:
The coal mine rocked by an explosion that killed at least 25 workers in the nation's deadliest mining disaster since 1984 had been cited for 600 violations in less than a year and a half, some of them for not properly ventilating methane — the highly combustible gas suspected in the blast.

The disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine has focused attention on the business and safety practices of the owner, Massey Energy, a powerful and politically connected company in Appalachia known for producing big profits, as well as big piles of safety and environmental violations and big damage awards for grieving widows.
[...]
Upper Big Branch is one of Massey's biggest underground mines, with more than 200 employees, and it is not uncommon for big coal mines to amass hundreds of violations a year — and to contest many of them, as Massey does. But most big mines don't have as many serious infractions as Upper Big Branch, industry experts said.
[...]
Testimony showed Massey CEO Don Blankenship suggested firing two supervisors for raising concerns about conveyer belt problems just before the belt caught fire...

With the recent court ruling seeming to grant corporations the right to contribute to campaigns as if they were people, isn't it about time to bring people like Don Blankenship to trial for negligent homicide?

The courts also ruled yesterday that "pay to play" is acceptable for internet users and internet content providers by shooting down the net neutrality provision:
A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that regulators had limited power over Web traffic under current law. The decision will allow Internet service companies to block or slow specific sites and charge video sites like YouTube to deliver their content faster to users.

The court decision was a setback to efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to require companies to give Web users equal access to all content, even if some of that content is clogging the network...

Although this may seem to make sense, it effectively gives companies like Comcast the ability to squelch voices in what is one of the few venues left for free speech. Most people do not have the means to speak out via television, radio, or newspaper. However, the internet provides a forum for everyone that can get to the internet (and most public libraries have free access for those who can't afford it) to be able to get their message out to all that care to listen. With this ruling, companies can jack up rates on those they wish to silence until they're no longer able to be heard.

All of this wouldn't be so infuriating if the corporations were doing their fair share to help financially support the infrastructure they use when doing business. Sadly, no. Companies like Exxon pay no income taxes while enjoying record profits:
...According to the GAO, the vast majority (66%) of 1.3 million corporations, pay no federal income taxes. A quarter of the 1000 largest U.S. corporations (those with over $250 million in assets or $50 million in sales) fail to pay any taxes.

At a time when Americans are suffering the most, many corporations refuse to give back to the country.
[...]
...check out the behavior of ExxonMobil, a frequent target of vituperative screeds, but deservedly so. In 2009, Exxon paid zero dollars in US income taxes...

In 2008, then-candidate Obama pledged to close loopholes that allow companies like Exxon to hide profits in offshore accounts to avoid taxes. Here's hoping that actually happens. Companies are enjoying the right to contribute to campaigns, shield company CEOs from criminal prosecution, and stifle free speech. There has to be a balance between taking care of business, and giving them the whole store.

23 comments (Latest Comment: 04/08/2010 03:39:07 by BobR)
   Perma Link

Share This!

Furl it!
Spurl
NewsVine
Reddit
Technorati

Add a Comment

Please login to add a comment...


Comments:

Order comments Newest to Oldest  Refresh Comments

Comment by wickedpam on 04/07/2010 13:15:27
Morning

Comment by Raine on 04/07/2010 13:20:10
Morning!

Comment by TriSec on 04/07/2010 13:31:31
Morning out there....



I'd have to add a caveat, as the token Libertarian (remrof) around these parts.



One of the guiding principles of the movement is to "do no harm"....meaning you should be free to do anything and everything you want, unless another person suffers by your actions.



This mine business would certainly qualify; business practices, marketing, etc., would all be free and clear, but mine safety and more importantly, worker safety, would theoretically still be legislated under a Libertarian society.



And, if the company still kills people, the market should react and they should lose business. Again, in theory. Never works that way in real life, though.



Anyway...



Comment by BobR on 04/07/2010 13:45:20
Quote by TriSec:

Morning out there....



I'd have to add a caveat, as the token Libertarian (remrof) around these parts.



One of the guiding principles of the movement is to "do no harm"....meaning you should be free to do anything and everything you want, unless another person suffers by your actions.



This mine business would certainly qualify; business practices, marketing, etc., would all be free and clear, but mine safety and more importantly, worker safety, would theoretically still be legislated under a Libertarian society.



And, if the company still kills people, the market should react and they should lose business. Again, in theory. Never works that way in real life, though.



Anyway...



I know Libertarians that would disagree with you TriSec. They believe that if a mine operator is known to be careless with enforcing safety, that the workers will go elsewhere (the free market at work), and power companies would not buy coal from that mine for fear of the bad publicity.



Of course - as you mentioned, that doesn't happen in the real world.



Comment by BobR on 04/07/2010 13:57:56
Hal Sparks and Steph making the same point I did in this morning's blog. :smug:

Comment by wickedpam on 04/07/2010 14:13:34
rriiigghhhtttt - and I'll trade for Jeans.....

Comment by Raine on 04/07/2010 14:54:26
Comment by Raine on 04/07/2010 14:54:53
Quote by BobR:

Hal Sparks and Steph making the same point I did in this morning's blog. :smug:


I think we need a smug emoticon!

Comment by Raine on 04/07/2010 15:11:42
Wayhll know-- this maYn can Read his talking points REAL good, Y'all.

Comment by livingonli on 04/07/2010 15:26:52
Good morning everyone.



It's 80 degrees in Central Park, 79 degrees where I am but only 62 degrees at Jones Beach. Didn't put the fan on yet but it was nice to sleep with the window open.

Comment by Raine on 04/07/2010 15:41:33
TriSec: hedz up:



From
@Boston_Police SMOKE SHOWING from manhole at Congress St @ Dorchester Ave, near Fed Reserve, BFD is on the way. Avoid the area.


Comment by Raine on 04/07/2010 15:42:55
Quote by livingonli:

Good morning everyone.



It's 80 degrees in Central Park, 79 degrees where I am but only 62 degrees at Jones Beach. Didn't put the fan on yet but it was nice to sleep with the window open.
WE just had to put the AC on. 2 days in a row!



Should be much cooler here by the end of the week.



Comment by wickedpam on 04/07/2010 15:48:42


Comment by wickedpam on 04/07/2010 15:49:58
Quote by Raine:

Quote by livingonli:

Good morning everyone.



It's 80 degrees in Central Park, 79 degrees where I am but only 62 degrees at Jones Beach. Didn't put the fan on yet but it was nice to sleep with the window open.
WE just had to put the AC on. 2 days in a row!



Should be much cooler here by the end of the week.







60 on Friday - what's it going to be this weekend? Channel 9 only seems to do a 3 day forecast

Comment by TriSec on 04/07/2010 15:50:24
Quote by Raine:

TriSec: hedz up:



From






Fed reserve building is over a mile from here; I'm at the *other* end of Dot Ave.





Comment by livingonli on 04/07/2010 15:53:39
Quote by wickedpam:

Quote by Raine:

Quote by livingonli:

Good morning everyone.



It's 80 degrees in Central Park, 79 degrees where I am but only 62 degrees at Jones Beach. Didn't put the fan on yet but it was nice to sleep with the window open.
WE just had to put the AC on. 2 days in a row!



Should be much cooler here by the end of the week.







60 on Friday - what's it going to be this weekend? Channel 9 only seems to do a 3 day forecast


In New York, we're supposed to get rain on Friday morning and then only highs in the mid-50's which is where we're supposed to be (or maybe low 60's),

Comment by wickedpam on 04/07/2010 15:56:45
Do NOT confuse VA and WV - for that matter don't confuse NoVA with VA

Comment by Scoopster on 04/07/2010 17:28:19
Hi everybody! I'm on a dying computer today!

Comment by TriSec on 04/07/2010 20:01:27
Raine-



Now there is a fire in Boston...a 9-alarmer at the corner of Beacon & Mass Ave.



I normally drive right by that on the way home, but I've been going a roundabout route since that also goes right through Kenmore Square. [Fenway Park]





Comment by livingonli on 04/07/2010 21:50:19
Blog's been as sleepy as I have been today.





Comment by Will in Chicago on 04/07/2010 22:48:02
Hello, bloggers! Great blog, BobR!!



I think that we should demand accountability. Workers are held accountable for their actions, so why shouldn't companies and their leaders be held responsible as well?

Comment by Mondobubba on 04/08/2010 00:30:45
Quote by Raine:

TriSec: hedz up:



From
@Boston_Police SMOKE SHOWING from manhole at Congress St @ Dorchester Ave, near Fed Reserve, BFD is on the way. Avoid the area.




There is something about the fire service being BFD that tickles my funny bone.

Comment by BobR on 04/08/2010 03:39:07
FYI: New Audicon: