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They can see the writing on the wall. They know that unions will cut into their wealth and their affluent lifestyle. They are the definition of greedy capitalism!

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Feb 27Liked by Robert Reich

No, what they really fear is that the unions will cut into their power, which they intend to be absolute.

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Yes, and maybe the power will be owned by the majority of US as it should be.

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YES, Maureen!

It just HAS to be about the POWER... the wealth they

have already accumulated is TOTALLY UNFATHOMABLE!!!

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Unfathomable is one thing, but to have more that the others is to be the winner.

But, we all end up in the same place eventually, dead. I do believe they think that would not happen to them.

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They're probably funding research into how to make them immortal. That must be why they need even more money.

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It's all about hoarder syndrome Mentally ill.

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There are two things, at least, which drive these critters

1. Addiction. Acquiring money, and money is power, is an addiction, every bit as harmful as gambling. Interestingly it is harder to break the addiction to gambling than it is drugs, smoking and alcohol. I never had an addiction to drugs or gambling, but I found it easier to quit alcohol, than smoking.

2. Competition with peers, be it or old money or new money, and old money ostracizes new money from the elite social circle, or tries to. The plutocrats are in competition with their peers, each other, for status. Just as their are social classes of upper, middle, lower, within the social classes there are upper, middle, and lower.

And among the upper class, that is the entitled, privileged, wealthy, they strive to be at the top of the pyramid, and since it is a money oriented pyramid, they strive to attain that status at any cost and expense, except to themselves.

Workers, environment, posterity, the future be damned. The only thing that matters to them, is today and obstacles in front of them.

For these anti humans, Gaia is a resource from which to extract resources to produce money, which is used to produce wealth and gain power.

Humans are simply a source to be consumed in the production of their wealth and power.

Next time you hear about HR, remember that a resource is something to be consumed in production, and resources have no rights

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“For these anti humans, Gaia is a resource from which to extract resources to produce money, which is used to produce wealth and gain power.

“Humans are simply a source to be consumed in the production of their wealth and power.”

WELL-SAID!

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Until the humans say We Don’t Consent.

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That takes democracy, but in our bastardized version moneyed interests makes for minority rule.

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So, you're saying we're already "Soylent Green"? These corporations and rich effs are eating human beings.

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Only people of a certain age, like me, know about soylent green.

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My kids know. But, then, they have me as their mother, so.......

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Absolutely! I was just thinking the same thing. Bezos and Musk think what's fair is what THEY want. Read "Nomadland" by Jessica Bruder. She discusses Amazon's "camperforce" and how physically demanding working in an Amazon fulfillment center is.

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If people weren't clamoring for jobs that will kill them, make them infirm, oppress and abuse them, Bezo's and his ilk would have no power.

Miners crawl into the earth to earn money, and die from black lung disease.

People work and live in or near oil refineries and died from cancer (my fathers family)

When they were building the Golden Gate bridge in SF. Men were camping on the shore of the bay, waiting for someone to fall to their death, so they could rush in and get the job.

People will slit throats for the opportunity to risk their life and health for money.

We at or near the bottom of the social pyramid risk our lives, just to live another day an fill our bellies

Those at the top risk our lives also, just to maintain their social status, fulfill their ego needs and feed their addiction.

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The actual power Musk has via his communication satellites and X, rocketry, etc. should scare the crap out of everyone. And he is an antisemite.

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It IS an illness. They can NEVER have enough (which means they're never happy).

They have to be continually stopped and managed by government laws. If we had permanent workers' rights, it would help.

Will Smith talked about this illness in his book. He felt it when he was very successful in movies. Interesting to read.

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If republicans would stop stripping away all regulations and if Democrats would reverse those decisions when they do it, we might not have so many problems. But, no. What's best for the elite is best for the politicians and SCROTUM judges, at least in their minds.

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It's time everyone understand this and stop being naieve about what lengths they will go to. Musk and Bozo are enthralled by their power and feel no obligation to conform to normal societal constraints or values if it curbs their power.

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They are not good guys and they are not about helping others or the country. They're all about themselves and only themselves. Forget Covid. We have a national pandemic that's been getting more widespread. They call it Narcissism Syndrome and it's spreading like wildfire.

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Geez. Reminds me of a renegade president we once endured.

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No noblisse oblige for Bezos and Musk.

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Imo, wealth IS power in a capitalistic society.

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Feb 27Liked by Robert Reich

Unless they heat their homes by burning cash, they could lose 90% of their fortunes and still live the lives of kings and leave fortunes to their heirs.

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Musk probably heats his home with his own hot air.

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The hot air coming out of both ends. Of course, he's apparently the King of Farts. He has a strange obsession about them.

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They could lose 99%, which is the amount they should be taxed, and still live like kings and leave fortunes to their heirs.

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It isn't for them to have more purchasing power, it's for ordinary people to have less, so we have less autonomy and they have more power over us. They already have limitless ability to purchase items.

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What they seem to forget is, that without ordinary people being able to buy their crap, they make no money. Funny how that works.

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They couldn't do that, there isn't the cash in circulation for the wealth they own!

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Correct. Most money is electronic and stored on servers in 0's and 1's, but money is not wealth. Wealth are things that make you happy, that fill a hole.

The hoarder whose house you can't walk through, thinks they are happy because they have things, which in their mind's eye is wealth.

J Leno hoards vehicles and makes is happy because he owns a huge stable of expensive and antique vehicles.

Tom Cruise and John Travolta hoard airplanes.

Some hoard mansions.

Money is just a tool to acquire things that make us happy or at the bottom of the pyramid, to be able to survive another day. However the acquisition of money can be an addiction, and that makes us susceptible to scams, and loss of our humanity.

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People with that kind of money are called wealthy individuals wheteher they surround themselves with cars, planes, mansions, etc., or just want to land on Mars like Musk who sold all his mansions. The point I tried to make was that they could not heat their homes with burning their cash since the physical banknotes are not available for what they have to their name. To start with, they would need to liquidate all the shares they own.

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Wealth is not money. Money is a tool by which to obtain wealth. Wealth are those things, material or immaterial, that make us happy. I am very happy, I am surrounded by things, a person and cats that make me happy and comfortable. And thus I consider myself wealthy indeed, wealthier than Musk, Bezo's, Gates because I have none of their worries, fears, obligations. Few are wealthier than I. It helps that I have 5 acres, with a barn, kennel, garage apartment, three vehicles and absolutely no mortgage, car payment or debts and the wife and I have a decent retirement income. My only concern if the health of my wife and myself.

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People growing up in this insane world of rampant capitalism tend to ingest the assumptions that it forces on us. We should at least be aware that money and power are not joined at the hip. The connection comes about because of a particular legal system which allows money to be used to buy political and personal power. It doesn't have to be that way. A few smart legalists could easily design a political system which prohibits the use of money to buy power. It might allow the accumulation of money to buy more Oreos but not people and not laws. A convention lasting three days would be enough to sketch it all out, and turn existing law on its head. Of course there is no way existing power would allow such a change, but that is a different question from whether it is possible. It is!

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That would be hysterically funny, if it were not so obscene.

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There are many who are leaving a legacy of hope for others. I fear these two and many like them, leave a legacy of greed.

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in the end, the jury is still out. At least in Musk we can see that he seems to want to fuel his other dreams with his money, and the intentions may be good. But with that money, you pursue even crazy dreams (like buying Twitter). Fortunately the pursuit of crazy dreams that end in failure does not destroy the money, it just gets transferred to another pocket. The waste is the time and effort expended on the dream, not the actual cash. What I dislike is when they use their power to take advantage of others, like the thing with workers and unions. Then it is about just plain making money even at the expense of others.

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It’s a shame that the government has let this get out of hand. That’s why the American workers need to do the government’ job! Unionize while they still can.

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Yes, they have a plethora of humongous mansions to heat.

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There is nothing - other than confiscating the whole of their personal wealth - that can cut into their lifestyle. They are richer than God. But their power can be checked, and I think they just don’t want anybody to put ANY restrictions on their GODLIKE power.

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Feb 27·edited Feb 27

It all's startin' t' kind'a make me feel like a'goin' t' take a damn pill! Oh Wait, Wait! Then I'd be a'supportin' the damn big pharma! OY! Are we great again yet ‽

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Agree with your though Keith, but even if minimum wage went to $40 an hour it couldn't cut into their affluent lifestyle. It's the rush that power gives them of being able to control other people

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Cut into their wealth? Just how many billions does one want. The wealth disparity in this country is embarrassing. To have as many homeless, un

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These people have so much wealth, paying their employees a decent wage will certainly not impinge on their lifestyle.

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Unions will have little affect on their wealth (already accumulated) or the lifestyle (how much more do you need to maintain their current lifestyle?)

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You’re correct that it will have little effect on their wealth but it will have a big effect on their worker's lives.

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agreed 100%

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How do you figure? Their wealth is defined by the valuation of their companies. Anyway, unions are a PITA. I can understands why people want to keep them out of their companies.

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RemovedFeb 27
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Feb 27Liked by Robert Reich

Nonsense. As Professor Reich has frequently pointed out, when unions were strong a few decades ago, they not only benefited the workers but companies and the economy as a whole. What ruins companies is management that focuses entirely on short-term gains for shareholders at the expense of employees, customers and the society at large. Boeing is an obvious example.

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Feb 27Liked by Robert Reich

Good point. As an attorney (before my tbi), I worked with lots of companies who only cared about looking good for the next quarter. They would make contracts that on paper showed revenue, but in the long-term were terribly unfavorable to them. They literally only thought about the next quarter and all else was irrelevant. This was right before the tech bubble burst. Everything they were doing was short run; nothing was long run.

Giving some power to the groups that most care about the company's survival guarantees that somebody will be watching very carefully over what they are doing and what their plans are. Big investors like Vanguard do not police their investments very often. And the fall of one company is not of big concern as they do not have all their eggs in one basket ... They are diversified across the market A worker, on the other hand, has to commit to that one place for work, and unlike tech high paying jobs that are easily transferred, it is not so easy for an ordinary worker to just jump ship and expect to get better benefits. Seniority is lost, nobody pays for the move, the next job might be just like this one if they have no say, etc. They have a big interest in the company.

Also, companies make big promises to places they choose to locate at. Yet they are rarely held to their vague promises about the economic benefits of their presence v. the very real concessions they ask for. Generally, graft benefits the political powers who are solicited directly, but the general local populace rarely even knows what is going on beyond vague promises of jobs (likely for outsiders more than for the people already there but that is another issue).

We say that a corporation, a business entity, is like a person, but we allow corporations to exist without any of the restraints of a person. If I poison a river, I go to jail for murder. If a corporation poisons a river, well, did the regulations allow it? If you sue, the company can fight for years, nobody goes to jail, and in general, they will lobby to change the law. For example, class actions are harder to bring.

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The other way corporations harm communities is by competing with other communities to build a plant there if they get tax breaks and the community affords roads and infrastructure for them, or they will go to another community that will give them a better deal. Do the jobs they create offset the expense to the community?

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WAY too often, communities don’t ever do the math. They forfeit much in community benefit, in perpetuity.

This is one of the ways business can raid the public purse instead of contributing to public well-being. For a while, maybe twenty or twenty-five years ago, we talked about companies functioning as good citizens, meaning serving the needs of their communities in their business practices — being environmentally responsible, paying a fair wage, establishing equitable hours and holiday-vacation for workers, paying fair taxes, participating in the life of their communities, etc. We don’t hear much about good citizenship in business these days. Why not?

I often say that starting and owning a business is an aspect of participating in and benefitting an economy, which exists to facilitate living on a small planet with 8 billion other people.

Business is not an end in itself.

An economy is how human societies manage the resources of life for humans to live on a small planet together. People are not a resource for business to exploit. The people are the only reason for business to exist in the first place. And there should be symbiosis, not exploitation in either direction.

I’m such a dreamer.

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Positive action begins with the dream.

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The city of Redmond, WA was sold on a pitch by a company that sells red light cameras, they rubbed their hands together with dreams of fines filling the city cofffers.

However traffic cases are brought before King County Superior Courts, which skims the lion share of fines, leaving the city with bumpkiss.

The city council did receive the heated epithets and opprobrium of the citizens and finally after wasting millions, took them down.

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When they do not offest the expenses, there is little the communities can do, There is a good "the Problem With Jon StewartL episode abkut this exact issue. I remember when the Dallas Cowboys wanted a new stadium. Cities right next to each other in the metro area kf Dallas fell over themselves competing for the "economic benefits" of having the stadium located in their "town." Now if you were a neighboring town you could get most of those benefits for free (there was no way to see when you went from one town to another as it is a dense metro area). But nobody seemed to say let our neighbor host the stadium and its burden while we reap free benefits. Instead they all fell over by offering every inducement they could, even though there was no doubt that the team would still be nearby in the area. Lucky for most of them, only one city could hold the stadium, so only one had to lay. The others got the benefit for free.

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Yes Gloria, they can only do this because the politicians of communities, people elected by the people, jump in the fray and compete for favor.

The most ridiculous thing in America is public financing of sports stadiums.

The public is sold that they will produce jobs. Outside of the laborers, who find themselves out of work, once the job is done, maybe a hundred or so get laborer jobs for maintenance.

The real benefactors are the developers, contractors, the suppliers of materials to build the stadium, and food vendors and suppliers, meanwhile the tax payer is on the hook for decades to pay off the bonds.

Professional sports are just that. Teams owned by a single person, or a conglomerate, who purchase gladiators at ridiculous prices and charge ridiculous prices to see these modern gladiators fight against each other.

And people get all emotionally involved in the activity, called a sport, because one side wears on it's jacket the name of a city or state.

Meanwhile the modern gladiators, get sold and traded by and between owners as though they were property.

You can do anything to a person with their consent (or not) so long as The Price is Right.

The name for a contract, in the 17th and 18th century was an indenture.

If you owned an indenture you could sell it. The south was built on the backs of indentured servants and slaves. Indentures were like sports contracts they had a limited life, and at expiration the indentured servant was free. Same with athletes, so long as the indenture/contract was in force, you belonged to the person that held the indenture/contract.

It is all about power. Money to get the power, power to keep the money.

We, laborers, shop owners, athletes, are just pieces on a chessboard.

In the final analysis we are the instruments of our destruction. We support and finance those who use and abuse us., and do so of our own free will.

Think of the things that you (first person plural,not personal) spend money on. How many of them are really needed,or are impulse buys because you saw some ad on TV, Facebook, social media, or because of it's packaging.

We are all guilty. I abhor Bezos and Amazon, but because I live rather isolated, with no franchise or big box store, and my local supermarket can't keep the products I want or need on the shelf, I am forced to use Amazon and it has been a life saver.

Cell phone providers are the very worst. In France, you can buy a cell phone cheap, then buy a sim card, from which provider has the best price and service. In America you are faced with regional and local monopolies.

Before I moved the only TV services available was either ComCast or Satellite. The only ISP available was Verizon, and they charged by the traffic.

Where I live now, I can get Verizon if I step outside on the porch, otherwise it is T Mobile (I don't use it, the wife does, she is addicted to games and her tablet).

As far as an ISP, the only provider is a local, and he charges what he can. I can go Hughes net or some satellite, but reception is iffy and again at the mercy of Musk or someone like him., also much more expensive and if I have a problem I can't talk to a local representative after I endure 5 minutes of listening to a machine .

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You're right.

There are some restraints. As a corporate lawyer, have to list all "contingent liabilities" in annual SEC audit reports.

I heard Sarbanes Oxley/ Dodd Frank whistleblower cases. https://www.whistleblowers.gov/statutes/sox_amended

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In short, they have the privledges and rights of people without the accountability. Sounds like a great gig.

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I live in Reno Nevada and our politicians have given Musk everything he’s asked for. Millions in subsidies. Pays no sales tax. The burden his Tesla plant has placed on this town is enormous.

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R. Gilsoul, people can complain till the cows come home but people dont have any way to roll back corporations -

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That is the problem eh? We bail them out if they suck at their business but are too large. We make it so people have a hard time suing them. And although we used to roll back corporations to the extent that we would break them up (like Ma Bell when it was big), we no longer have the will to do that. All of this is because we do not see them as a threat to our freedoms--only the government gets that.

We cannot and should not do away with corporations. Combining resources is the only way to great things, and a corp is a vehicle for doing so. However, we can and have treated them differently, Politicians put them on a pedestal, and allow them rights beyond what is reasonable. That impacts us in our daily lives in countless little ways.

Why allow only capital assets to be combined. What tenet of economics says that the combination of capital assets rather than labor assets in a negotiation is more fair or proper? Legally forbidding unions is just another interference in the economy by a government. Any asset should be able to be combined too (and remember the sophisticated professional lawyer or architect already combines their labor and expertise without the blink of an eye. It is when the "unsophisticated" "working class" people want to do the same thing that there is an objection. Capital interests demand the right to combine but refuse the same right to other kinds if assets m like the time of one laborer v, the time of several laborers.

So we could go back to old systems or start new laws, but the first step is to not think of these corporations as inviolate. They are just a means by which we combine capital assets owned by lots of different people. That is it, They should garner no special treatment beyond that they are possible. They should not be a shield to allow the unscrupulous to do what they would never be allowed to do as individuals.

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You are wrong. There are many laws which regulate corporate behavior, which is a contributing factor to corporate mergers and the bigness of today's companies. The bigness is required to deal with the complexity.

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bjarnason, p. , Anti Trust laws -- if they are enforced by the government-- will solve the "complexity" problem for the corporate fat cats....but the taxpayers, We the People, do not have the power to sue under those laws, if Im not greatly mistaken. Only the government can enforce Anti Trust laws.

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I don't think breaking up companies into smaller companies would solve the complexity problem, because complexity of the laws is one of the reasons the companies have gotten so large. For example, accounting rules (GAAP) has gotten so complex a company has to have a staff of highly paid accountants to avoid getting into trouble with the SEC. These accountants make several hundred thousand dollars a year and the CFO will make north of $500K. Break the companies up and you'll have multiple highly qualified staffs, i.e., just an increase in overhead. It's the same with corporate legal departments. Then there's the DEI office in each company, which would have to be duplicated if a company were broken up, dedicated to ensuring "diversity, equity and inclusion"! This makes me wonder how union seniority rules fare under DEI scrutiny! This is not a simple matter.

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They are constantly and successfully fighting against those restrictions for the large part despite the horrible financial failures, burst bubbles, bailouts and fiascoes that prompt lawmakers to feel the need to address the problems. Much like gun laws, much is said, little is done to change anything, and the cycle repeats,

Enforcement of anti-trust law has been very lax in the last few decades with a slight resurgence just recently. Again, though, efforts to enforce properly come from Congressional funding, and despite the law, there is not much enforcement.

So yes, on paper, we have some laws but in reality, they are toothless thanks to the exertion of corporate political power in both the lawmaking process and execution.

Always, despite the existence of regulations or not, they oppose any limits on them. The idea is that if they had their way they would have no limits. As it is, they have numerous tools to fend off the law in ways that no individual is close to enjoying, and are allowed to do things that would be criminal for a person to such an extent that they would be imprisoned. Example: Knowing that x number of people will die if I do not maintain certain railway crossings and the financial liability possibly accrued will not outweigh the costs allows them to make that choice if not maintaining the crossings. People die, as predicted by the railroad. Nobody goes to jail. They just pay a judgement or settlement as a cost of doing business. If an individual person made the same calculation knowing that their actions would lead to the death of some people and went ahead anyway because of the cost to people with every right to be where they are, the life of that person as they know it would end in jail. Yet like a zombie, a corp will continue on despite what would be debilitating blow for any normal person.

And how do corporations justify such calculations anyway? Well, as much as the individuals in the corp might dislike it, they are the servants of the shareholders whose only wish is to maximize profits. So they can set aside their morality and make a choice under the cover of a large corp that would be completely unthinkable for an individual.

There are just so many examples of things like this. Generally, where they are thwarted, like by punitive damage laws to change the "costs" of doing business that kills people in favor of not killing people, the corps lobby and often are able to change the laws. Normal people are misinformed about the exact nature of the issues, and politicians get the thanks of a big political donor. That is graft and corruption.

No lover of free markets on either side of our political spectrum should welcome that kind of activity. Insurance corps, when they lose money, will attempt to renege on their contractual obligations all the time. In Texas, for example, there was a duty of good faith and fair dealing when dealing with a claimant. You violated that duty if you intentionally tried to deny a claim that you knew was valid as it was recognized that an insurance company was in a superior position in terms of information about costs and such, Well they started losing cases against them which basically said they had to try to follow their contractual obligations and pay up. The insurance companies then championed tort reform to "unclog" the courts (even though at any given time fpthe vast majority of court cases are corps suing corps). They got rid if the duty of fair dealing, among other things, They started denying all claims because they felt rather invincible and the courts were clogged like never before as a side note. The main effect was that they were free to attempt in every way possible behind the scenes to not fulfill their contractual duties. So if there was an email saying, "Why did you tell the guy x was a possible treatment. It might be more effective but cost more than y." All of a sudden that was OK to do and no longer a loaded gun pointing to a violation of the duty of good faith and fair dealing,

Basically, we have even come to the point where we will forgive large corporations for even their contractual obligations to individuals if they are small enough, disorganized, or the exploitation is widespread but not profitable enough for an individual to bring action (rememeber the laws about class actions). Out of an overlarge respect for the job creating powers of corporations, we have given them a free pass to do things no mere human could even think of doing legally.

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Yes, I agree that what you suggest about giving the big corporations a pass at the expense of the people is often the case. The most recent case in point is the shielding from liability the Big Pharma companies which produced the Covid vaccines and were injected into millions of people without much testing for safety and effectiveness. Now, it's coming out that this legal liability shielding is going to come in really handy and necessary. And the government recommending the Covid vaccine for healthy children as young as 6 months. This is an outrage.

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That’s what has happened in medicine. Small private practices in any specialty are very difficult to sustain because of government rules and unfunded mandates.

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Right. My brother was a podiatrist and retired a few years early because Medicare and Medicaid were cutting the fees they were paying him, to ridiculously low levels. It became such a rat race, he decided to close his practice -- he couldn't sell it because it was a one doctor operation. Now, he makes money on the side repairing and setting up bicycles, his true passion. LoL

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Part of that is because of these obscene contracts they give to CEOs. Instead of doing that, they should just make the CEO an employee like everyone else, sans contract. Then they can be rewarded based on their performance and not based on bonuses that they have have whether they do well or not.

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Raymond, Vanguard has ownership in America Inc, along with Black Rock, Jp Morgan and a few others. I spent a day last week doing google for Who owns whom and I saw the same names, Vanguard, Black Rock, JP Morgan and a couple others show up on everything from media to medical centers, and when not on the list, they own subsidaries that are on the list.

A handful of foundations, family trusts and private equity funds own the country, along with sovereign Funds.

The major shareholder in Exxon is the Saudi's, who also own most of the refineries in cancer alley, and that is why we export oil products, and import oil to refine so the Saudis can export it.

Two things are responsible for the corporate short term interest in the next quarterly profit and earnings statement.

1. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled in the early 20th Century that the corporation has only one duty and that is to make a profit for the investors.

That ruling has been adopted as the justification for corporations, especially Milton Friedmans Chicago School of Economics.

2. The Charter wars of the late 19th and early 20th Century.

Corporate charters use to have an expiration date of about 50 years, and the corporation had to show that it operated in the public interest (see the above ruling) never the less the states held on to the public interest and expiration date.

John Davidson Rockefeller, who famously said competition is a sin, let out the word that he would move his company to the state that came up with the most favorable charter law.

NJ won the war, and he moved to NJ, Standard oilof NJ, followed by other states that "learned their lesson" like SOHIO (Standard Oil of Ohio)

Delaware saw what NJ had done, and upped the ante, and came up with an even more favorable law, result Delaware is home to over 600 Corporations, and it's Senators are known as the Senators from Wall Street.

There are no state charter laws that have an expiration date, not a requitement to act in the public interests. The only thing that matters is producing a positive rate of return for investors, and that is the sole function of the Board of Directors, all corporations including media have one, and they hire whip wielding overseers called CEO, CFO, COO to ensure just that,if they do they are rewarded with bonuses worth millions in the form of shares and perks,if not they are replaced.

That is how corporations and business works, including media corporations.

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According to my reading over several years, this is not all entirely so, Lee

<<In 2014, the United States Supreme Court voiced its position in no uncertain terms. In Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., the Supreme Court stated that “Modern corporate law does not require for profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else”.>>

For decades, corporations were run for the benefit of stakeholders {shareholders, clients and customers, employees, municipalities …}, and NOT ONLY shareholders. As a matter of history, a corporation could not even get a charter without some public benefit accruing to the allowance of the charter, given the power a charter confers. But we’ve been told since the Reagan years the great big ol’ fib that corporations MUST maximize profit by all legal means, stakeholders be damned, and we’ve swallowed that bilge.

Public benefit, too, has gone the way of the Dodo. Corporations got out from under THAT one {except supposedly for non-profits, but I think even they are trying to wiggle out of showing a legitimate public benefit for the boon of NOT paying taxes}.

Letting corporations be “people,” and letting money be “speech” has delivered our culture into the hands of the financial sector…lock, stock, and barrel…and real honest-to-goodness people have a devil of a time competing on the cockeyed, skewed playing field of corporate America.

We COULD change it, we more people knew what is going on and how we got here … but they don’t. We do still have the vote as a tool that could be used by our side, if we could rally voters to put the bounders out, but maybe not for a lot longer …

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Hobby lobby case was about discriminating against gays. SCOTUS under the trad rad six, use any rhetorical device they can devise to justify their rulings. Just like the court ruled for Bush v Gore, and said that it was a one time ruling, no precedent.

Yet it remains, the only purpose of a corporation is to produce a positive return for the investors. I do not hold that opinion, of course, but that is what is taught in universities, and what is upheld by the media and the courts.

1919 Supreme court of Michigan declared that “a business corporation is organized and carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders.”

That ruling has not been challenged at any level, and remains if not the common law, then the raison d'existe for corporations. That SCOTUS said different for Hobby Lobby, is an exception created for purposes of discrimination on religious grounds.

When they take a case challenging that idea, and rule that corporations exist for the public weal, then I will agree with you, until then, we must agree to disagree.

https://www2.law.temple.edu/10q/purpose-corporation-brief-history/#:~:text=Readers%20may%20recall%20being%20assigned,era%20that%20now%20appears%20an

When in a position of power, one can justify anything, just ask a parent ;)

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Raymond - A superb summing-up of the situation. Thank you!

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Unions helped supported the growth of the middle class.

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There was a time when one was proud to wear clothing with a tag that said "union made". I believe it was blue

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"Look for the union label, when you are buying that coat, dress or blouse. Remember somewhere, our unions sewing, our wages going to feed the kids, and run the house, but whose complaining? Thanks to the I.L.G. we are paying our way! So always look for, the union label. It says we're able to make it in the U.S.A. !"

Sometime in the 90's I couldn't find the union label anymore, even in second hand stores. Incredibly sad.

I learned what happened in Robert Reich's class on wealth and poverty. Intentional government policy that I believe was intended to break the unions.

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Correct me if I got the lyrics wrong. It's been a long time.

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Unions created the middle class as it is, before unions the middle class was doctors, lawyers, merchants.

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Unions need to function according to rules, too, just like companies. Labor’s well-being is every bit as wedded to survival of a business as the business owners’ well-being is. Successful businesses are the source of the money for owner and worker alike. Seriously. Unions run with integrity do NOT ruin companies, anymore than companies run with integrity ruin their employees lives. Unions enable labor to have a say in the economy, instead of being serfs working for lords.

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Well said, Eric!!

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RR was correct, but the problem is we the people. People permit and enable this behavior. Right to work laws have reduced the lives, the security, the well being of people who live in those states, but they exist because the people voted for the laws and/or the people who passed those laws.

While Biden was speaking to the union members in an autoplant, Trump was having a rally in a non union plant. Wanna bet how many of those non or anti union workers were Trump humpers.

Truck drivers are notorious right wing Trump humpers, they sit hours at a time in the cab listening to hate radio, and almost all belong to the Teamsters Union 30-40% of the Teamsters voted for Trump, though the Union endorsed Biden.

This defies the belief that people act in their own best interests, unless their perception of their own best interest is not their pocket book, but their ego and identity.

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Feb 27·edited Feb 27Liked by Robert Reich

I don't understand the desire to accumulate obscene amounts of wealth, money eats at a person's soul like an out-of-control disease. It infects a person's inner spirit and renders up a zombie like replacement which stands in their place. I watched a beloved member of my family give in to the effects of greed. It's a vicious circle, power begets more of the same and people sadly lose the essence of who they once were. Why would these two American versions of Russian oligarchs be so opposed to organized labor? Especially considering the amount of wealth Musk and Bezos have amassed in their lifetimes. How much is too much? The rich are obsessed with things that shine, it's just a shame, as men, these two have lost their luster.

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The other day a 93-year-old retied doctor gifted a Billion dollars to a medical school so its students could educate themselves free from the worry of how they would ever afford the required expense of their education. The obscenely wealthy in this country could do so much to help those who can't see a way into their own future. I've said this before, I would make a terrible rich person because I'd give it all away. When those kids heard the words that came from Dr. Ruth Gottesman's lips, they jumped from their seats with an inner joy that could have righted the Lunar lander that recently fell upon its side. If Musk and Bezos would trickle a little wealth from their oversized piggy banks down to the people in need, how could they help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Pay a kindness forward, pass that along.

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If I suddenly had a great fortune, I would buy politicians and Supreme Court Justices to tax the wealthy and direct our country toward economic equality.

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Gloria--Did you hear of the offer John Oliver made to Clarence Thomas? It seems on live television Mr. Oliver offered Mr. Thomas $1,000,000.00 per year for the rest of his life if he would step down from the SCOTUS. Too sweeten the deal Mr. Oliver offered to throw in a $2.4 million dollar motor home. Interesting proposal.

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THAT was awesome. John Oliver makes me laugh, but he comes up with such VIVID ways to help us see our real world.

Love that doctor’s contribution to the medical school in the Bronx, too. AWESOME use of a couple billion dollars.

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start a gofundme for Thomas to step down.

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Yes! But it's only good for 30 days. Oliver made his point while being entertaining at the same time.

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Ha. Gloria — Oy, vey. Love that humor, but — oy — what a world.

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I can explain why the likes of the billionaires don't care.

When you drive past a stockyard or a farm with cows and sheep, or a chicken coop, what thoughts do you have towards those that are being fed to slaughter.

To those at the top of the social pyramid, those down below are mere tools, to be used to improve and protect their position.

Take Putin, for example, to him people are no more than the bullets, rockets, shells and missiles which he hurls at Ukraine to be wasted to achieve his desires.

The same with HAMAS, the citizens of Gaza are simply tools to be sacrificed to achieve its goals.

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Lee--There has always been those who are used and those who do the using. It's the nature of our society. I agree that what has been happening all around the world is a poor example of who we are as people.

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Every once in a while, we make the users accountable for their abuse ... And sometimes we find an easier target for our ire instead I guess. As a mere individual, I always hope for eventual accountability, but the pendulum seems a little stuck lately and has delayed that accountability.

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That was so accurate, Donald!! I have known wealthy people and to be honest, they had the personality of a wet sponge!! They always acted bored with everything!! I use to think to myself, if I had their money I could.......and then list all the things I wanted to do. The truth is, I'm glad I didn't have their money because now I absolutely love the normal everyday things like watching the sun rise, admiring beautiful flowers, laughing at my pets' antics. It is sad that the richy rich miss out on what should lift their soul and bring them happiness. I don't think Bezos or Musk are happy and I don't think they ever will be. As far as luster, I don't think they ever shone enough to have any luster.

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Peggy--I went deer hunting with one of my rich family members and would you believe this individual took a stack of legal briefs to study while he sat in the blind. He had so much money he forgot how to enjoy life.

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You know what, Donald? They are the ones missing out on the absolute joy in the little things in life. It is so sad they will never know how much beauty and fantastic creatures are on this planet. While life goes on all around them, they have blinders on trying to make more money. If I were to win the lottery tomorrow, I will never forget how to enjoy my life. It really is the simple things that bring me joy.

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Peggy--This person purchased 3/4 of a mile of shoreline on Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan just North of Traverse City at a $1,000 a front foot. The individual wanted a place to picnic where they wouldn't be bothered. Do the math.

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Sorry Donald, but shooting deer is enjoying life?

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Lee--In my world it puts meat on the table. My father's family never purchased meat of any kind, they just went out and shot it. I was raised with the hunting spirit burned within me. Besides, seeing how we slaughtered the natural predators in their eco system the only means left for humans to control herd size and overall health of the population is by hunting.

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I have known SOME wealthy people who retain their humanity, and some less wealthy who don’t. I hate to just too often characterize “the rich” as monolithic, especially when lobbing a criticism.

Not that becoming obsessed with things that shine is not a common characteristic among those who amass wealth. It’s all too common.

Oddly, sometimes the bigger the pot of money, the more those who own it worry about adding to it constantly more than about using it well. Somewhere along the line, simply “having it” becomes the reason for getting it. [I picture a person gleefully rolling around in piles of money.]

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I thought, naively, when Bill Gates decided to use his wealth for the common good (fighting disease, homelessness, etc) that it was an idea whose time had come. No such luck. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if Bezos and Musk could copy Gates:

According to its website, the goal of the BMGF is to “reduce inequities and improve lives around the world.” To achieve this, the Foundation concentrates on three main areas: global health, global development, and the US program that includes education and access to technology for low-income communities in the USA.

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All of those goals, in the long run, produce more customers for Microsoft and it's products.

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I'm not offering any oligarch lifetime immunity (LOL) for deciding to suddenly discover generosity. But once they are rich, it's a good thing. I'm still naively hopeful!

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Gates isn’t a perfect person — who is??? — but I agree with you, Marge. I hoped his and his wife’s example would help us reach a time of more caring. But there has been a huge push-back. Even farther back, during the Reagan years, it was a time of deep striving to get people away from working for the common good and into the Rand camp where altruism and caring-and-sharing are considered grievous faults. Demonizing government and selling “greed is good” was not frivolous. They meant to change attitudes about who “deserves” wealth {or even decency, I think sometimes}.

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Just like Scrooge McDuck in the Donald Duck cartoons!!!

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Pat--I was just giving generalizations; I know there are good wealthy people out there, just look at Dr. Ruth Gottesman.

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I know, Donald — I read your comments A LOT. {And LOVE the medical school contribution news!!}

I was just making the observation, too, because I also far too often make sweeping statements, and I realize they can eventually serve to create walls that we don’t need.

I started to write about the wealthier members of my family {seven figure estates, usually} who retain their joy for life. But also, some who think they are more deserving of their wealth than those who DON’T have it, whether they are the founders of their estates or they inherited them.

I personally do NOT have a seven-figure estate. I don’t even have a six-figure one. Well, not yet, anyway. I’m not dead yet.

🙄

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Pat--I'm so broke I can't even afford to have a car. But I'm Happy.

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Buffet's first wife said he saw money as points in a game.

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After a certain point in the accumulation of bucks — when you have plenty to hold you in good stead maybe for the rest of your life — I guess that would make sense for it to become more like points in a game.

Who has more bucks, who’s winning on “points”? Like Monopoly money.

Thing is, if one forgets that those points are the REAL means of keeping families whole and safe, one can forget who truly deserves a fair share of them.

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You're exactly right. George Michael wrote a song about that. Called "Star People". One of the lines in it asks over and over "How much is enough?!" He talks about that in the song...How much money is too much. Great song. Elon and Bezos have already lost their souls I'm afraid. Like the Bible says "It's easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into Heaven." I didn't realize however they are practically terrorizing people to stop them from forming Unions though. Shameful!!!

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Lisa--I have always loved that saying about the needle and a rich man. I grew up in a family that eventually developed 5 ridiculously wealthy individuals all of which were at one time good people.

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*Oops...Sorry. Donald.

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Lisa--LOL

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David sorry it took me a bit to reply. Got busy yesterday and today. I'm sorry to hear that happened to you. Sounds like quite a story. My family comes from modest wealth. My Mother was a trailblazer during the 70's, 80's and 90's in a Direct Sales Business and she did really well. But nothing to the degree of those men. But I was exposed to some powerful people along the way and I learned a lot. I can definitely see how how money and power can corrupt the soul.

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There is not such thing as "enough" to them. It's an endless battle for "The Most". Massive egos are at work here, along with the power that money brings.

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Patt--I had a very wealthy uncle who I hadn't seen in some time, at the end of our family's last get together as he and my aunt were leaving, I went out to say goodbye. He wouldn't even make eye contact with me, he just stared into the windshield of his fancy new car and said, "Shave." I was trying to see if I was man enough to grow a little facial hair, but it didn't agree with how he felt I should look. Wealth breeds arrogance in spades.

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Indeed, it's insidious.

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Patt--It's also a passive aggressive way in which to express their arrogance.

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Why would a company owner be opposed to unionization of his workers, you ask?! That question ignores the reality that nobody likes being told what to do. Back in the late 1960s when containerized freight first came into use, the longshoreman's union required a 14-man crew to unload each container. The containers only required a couple of men, so there were at least 10 men standing around doing nothing. It's called "featherbedding" and is brought to you by the union. There are other similar union requirements, such as only allowing a man to do one type of job, which is also featherbedding. So, unions are not simply a force for good -- it's a mixed bag.

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Paul--There are instances of abuse on both sides. Unions are an essential part of this country. I agree there are <a few bumps to work out but aside from those little differences> labor and management have to find a way to work together.

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I agree, Don. But, if I were management, I would not want a union and if I were an employee, I would probably want a union.

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Paull--The best of both worlds would find us in a position where we had no need for unions in the first place.

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That is the way of all human activity Paul. Medieval guilds existed to limit the supply of craftsmen and artisans. They had rather rigorous requirements for apprenticeship , today we use licensing to limit competitors. Licensing also raises the standards of practitioners and serves a public good, supposedly.

Create an organization be it altrustic or self interest, and you create what becomes a Golam, a self sustaining monster, breathed into life by saying it's name.

All organizations, including co ops, are hierarchical, with paid executives and/or staff and minions underneath (volunteers as in the case of non profits) and paid in the case of for profits.

Organizations become "living things" or at least those whose incomes, status, lifestyle depends on their continued existence,become a collective living thing.

And there is only one mandate, to survive, to continue the flow of cash, and even more than survive, to prosper and dominate

I was a shop foreman in a union, and as such a volunteer worker ant, but I was also part of the bargaining team, and there I extracted from my employer (at the resistance of others on the team, who just wanted to go home) A concession that benefited retirees.

I did not trust the Union leader or it's staff, their interest was looking out for no 1, themselves, and that meant working with and conspiring with the employer.

To your point though. Every organization has to have a reason to exist, that the leadership can ride the gravy train.

When that raison d'exister dissipates, incomes, status and prestige are forfeit. thus they must continuously justify their existence by ever increasing demands.

The auto workers did themselves in, because union officials, kept demeaning higher and higher wages and benefits, and interceding when some slacker or hazard was getting disciplined or fired.

and that there is the problem with Police unions, be that benevolent associations or fraternal orders.. They kill people, harbor criminals wearing a badge, protect bullies and harass the public, because they can.

Unions have a place, and we need them, but we also don't need corrupt leaders like Jimmy Hoffa. And there is no denying that, at least in NY and NJ, unions and organized crime work hand in hand.

But without unions we are merely wage slaves, two legged cattle, a resource to be used, abused and consumed in the production of profits for the investors.

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You certainly have been around the block, Lee. Thank you for sharing your experience and observations, all of which ring true to my own. Bj

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Yep, all the more reason to be sure our workforce is knowledgeable and capable of reason and self-advocacy. If we developed a culture that fostered better relationships between labor and management and owners who realize they are all a part of a system that is working for the whole of a society … well, if …

{I recall a mill owner in New England and how he handled the situation when the business fell on har times — I can’t remember if it was a fire or economic downturn — but while the mill was closed, the owner paid his people from his own pocket, because they had been part of his success, and he felt it was right to help them through the breach, too… Not many like him…}

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Is this one of those situations where sometimes it's busy and everyone plus some more are needed, but sometimes there is less work? Companies usually deal with that by hiring the minimum number of workers to handle the busy time while running them ragged. Unions can prevent that situation, but sometimes there are more workers than needed. You can't have it both ways.

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Featherbedding has been a problem. I don’t know if we’ve gotten rid of it, but it’s a problem that can be solved. Understaffing is also a problem, even in industries where understaffing can be life threatening.

Which is the bigger problem — a loss of profits to business, or a loss of life to labor? Or, as in the case of cost-cutting in building airplanes, the loss of a door that brought down a plane full of “customers.”?

[Yes, that was a regulation problem—no one ensuring that inspections during manufacture were adequately performed, but the point is there … Why is maximizing profit {shareholder benefit} the end, and not maximizing functionality of business that serves all stakeholders? Unions CAN be a part of a stakeholder economy. They, too, need to be managed for the greatest good, not so narrowly that featherbedding is a problem.]

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Even all of their obscene wealth can't fix crazy. Evil grasps while the Earth gasps.

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Ilene--Perhaps the quest for that wealth is what made them that way.

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I suspect that sociopathic personalities were always on that sort of quest; extreme wealth and its accompanying power only exacerbated their aberrations.

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Sadly,, there’s some of that out there!

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Ilene--That and it makes things worse---

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It's an obsessive-compulsive disorder; hoarding mental illness. When people are a danger to themselves and, or OTHERS, they are locked up and get treatment.

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Gloria--I was working in downtown Detroit when some ignoramus decided the city could save money if it shut down its mental hospital. Kwame thought all those mentally ill individuals would be better off living on the streets, so the fool closed the doors of the only help they knew and forced them out to live on their own in boxes along the streets of downtown Detroit.

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Walk around Los Angeles some time and see how many of those poor souls should be treated in mental hospitals! Thanks a bunch, Reagan

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It’s not as simple as equating homelessness with mental illness.

First, homelessness itself is such a stressful experience that many people can feel and look mentally ill and/or self-medicate their situation with drugs/alcohol.

Second, the majority of people who are homeless are not mentally ill; they are unable to afford their rent. 40% of Americans would be unable to secure $400 to pay for a financial crisis. If a person or family list their housing due to job loss, divorce, accident/illness, it can often be impossible for them to pay the high costs of housing start-up — which is often $3-4,000.

Third, the spiral downward is a real thing. People who lose their housing usually “couch-hop” but are unable to secure employment or save housing start-up costs. They may or may not (depending on the policies and resources of the state where they live) secure a bed in a shelter. Otherwise they are on the streets.

Fourth, rent increases have outpaced both wages and public benefits. Since Clinton converted AFDC entitlements to TANF state block grants in 1996, cash assistance was frozen in almost every state FOR 25 YEARS. Many States also stopped providing any cash assistance to adults without children or froze benefits for many years at ridiculous amounts - such as $201/month (in my state, one of the “generous” ones). Assistance to folks with a disability is so low that there is not one county in the US where they can afford a one-bedroom apartment.

Rent subsidies are so underfunded and over-regulated that people who are eligible wait years - and three out of four never get help. Even those lucky enough to receive a subsidy can often see their subsidy lost if no landlord will accept governmental subsidies within a short period of time.

Of course there is more, but I will get off my soapbox now! I know that there is so much misinformation about homelessness out there…I just can’t help but offer TMI (which may be NEI - not enough information!).

My thanks to anyone who reads through my latest diatribe!

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Lorraine--In this day and time I don't understand how our society can allow the misuse we see every day of our mentally ill.

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Donald, wasn’t that one of the policies of St. Ronnie? The lie (one of them at least) was to move them to community based services, which didn’t exist and didn’t get funded, so that never happened.

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Harry Corsover, Yes

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They used the REAL excuse that those hospitals were snake pits — instead of fixing a problem, they foisted it on the very souls who were already being abused, and on the rest of us, too.

The “better care” that was supposed to be developed never came about, in large part because NIMBY types kept it from happening.

SOMETIMES, actually, NIMBY is realistic. The solution is not to throw up one’s hands, though. It’s to find a way through. And our culture chose letting homeless and/or helpless people sleep on the streets. OR, wait until they get in trouble, and put them in jail.

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Pat--Tough choice to make. Living on the streets or living in hell.

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The Union won the American Civil War!

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Feb 27·edited Feb 27

Mike Hunt ; troll!

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“Mike Hunt” - named by a 12 year old making a prank call

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I hereby vote him off the island.

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good description!

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True!!

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What ruins companies is their incessant focus on short term cash gains while simultaniously sending 3× as much out the door in hiring, training and massive turnover of highly valuable experienced employees.

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Deirdra — to a very large extent, bingo.

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Unions ruin companies? Is your last name Musk or Bezos by any chance.

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Not like mentally ill narcissistic baby men!

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Unions can make companies more competitive and more efficient and a better place to work.

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Nonsense. Unions provided the security for workers to be productive. Never forget...if you knew...that government subsidized health care...what wr call Single Payer or Social insurance..was invented by that great liberal Otto von Bismarck..as a way to strengthen the German economy and the health of the working people as Europe was sliding into regional wars. At the end of that half century of violence and misery, every other country on the continent followed suit.

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There's a noticeable lack of evidence of that. Some companies will cash-out to spite the workers, to hug their money closer. They are the ones who destroy the companies to avert paying workers a fair wage.

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No not at all.

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……and unchecked corporations are undemocratic and ruin humanity.

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TROLL ALERT

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How? You can’t make such a damning statement such as that without some evidence. Back up your claim with proof, with civilized argument, not just a single, inflammatory sentence. You make yourself look very ignorant on a forum such as this.

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My job was not in the union, but because the Teamsters negotiated for vacation and benefits for their members, I got the same benefits and vacation time.

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Mike Hunt. Really?

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Feb 27·edited Feb 27Liked by Robert Reich

Professor Reich: as much as i despise both elon musk and jeff bezos, this anti-union sentiment is not limited to them. when i was desperately trying to find a job to help pay my rent when unemployed in NYC, i interviewed for a job at starbux, and was denied a position. the reason? i was told i'd unionize the employees so they refused to hire me because they didn't want to deal with that problem. when i asked why they thought this, i was told i'm highly educated, so therefore, i'd be a troublemaker (on behalf of my fellow employees.)

basically, my point is, this pre-screening of employees occurs before they are even hired, so a megacompany headed by an abusive greedmeister like elon or jeff is reducing the chances they'll have to deal with unions.

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Hehe. So they have a policy of not hiring bright people because they will figure out how to allow people to work together to make the job better. You know why they told you that, right? So that you would blame them not hiring you on unions. But they could have not hired you for any number of reasons in reality. Usually if you are overqualified, they worry that you will quickly find a better job elsewhere and all that time training you will be lost. Worry not!

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Nobody said that anti-employee fundamentalism is restricted to Bezos and Musk. Starbucks in particular is infamous for it's refusal to understand that people are the key asset of (almost) every company.

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I think Starbucks missed out on a really good employee, GrrlScientist!! Wouldn't it be a hoot if they hired someone thinking they were meek and would follow their rules only to discover that meek little employee was able to unionize all the employees and lead the fight to get the fair wages and safe working conditions and whatever else was necessary? That would make me laugh!!

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Thanks for writing this. I will not be going to Starbucks again!

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Do you have any evidence that Musk or Bezos employees are generally unhappy or underpaid? Tell me if I'm wrong, but I thought the employees of these companies were at the "top shelf" of the working class and that jobs at these companies are highly desirable.

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You realize these companies don’t just employ Engineers, yes? You know Amazon distribution centers hire tens of thousands of warehouse workers at minimum wage? You realize Tesla also employs factory workers? Did you realize that even among the Engineers working at Tesla, thousands left to form their own company, Rivian, out of dissatisfaction with their boss, their jobs, and their career prospects within the company?

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Absolutely not. You ARE wrong. Ever had a family member employed there??

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Their companies, and Starbucks, are famous for not only resisting unions, but actively obstructing their formation, against the law. Right now. In the news.

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Yes, but I can't say as I blame them for resisting unionization. What management in their right mind would want to deal with a union, when it seems one of their primary purposes is to shield the incompetent and lazy. In my 40-year federal government career, I saw how the federal employee union worked and that's what they did, although I'm sure there must be cases where they did well for justice -- it's just that I never, myself, saw any such cases.

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Paul, it would seem to be a problem with the constant “us v them” construct. And “owners” thinking labor has some nerve wanting to feel an “ownership” stake in business. And labor thinking owners have some nerve thinking they succeed only by their own efforts, and not their labor’s efforts.

Our culture does not promote cooperation — and recognition of REALITY — as much as it should.

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Pat - I agree that our culture seems to have evolved in a selfish direction. What's going on socially in our society is all so crazy I can't figure it all out, but I think part of the problem is the transition towards all social problems being in the lap of the government. I know I'm going to sound like a conservative, but I think that replacing the traditional family with the government as the "daddy" of the family has led to so many fatherless boys. Studies show that children of unmarried women are at a big disadvantage in life, especially boys. I have a good friend who is a public middle school teacher and she tells me there is no discipline in the schools, the administration is afraid to hold the kids to account or back up the teachers if there is a discipline problem. Look at the tolerance for shop lifting (looting) and violence in the streets -- cashless bail!!! Perhaps the "what's in it for me" attitude is rooted in how crazy our culture has become. Your thoughts?! Bj

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Paul, I think “what’s in it for ME” is a cause of the craziness, not the other way around. If “me” is not included in an inclusive “us,” and if only the us who look like me are incuded in MY “us” … That’s the crux of a large dollop of our problem.

{On the family and fatherless issue — yes, the loss of a father from a nuclear family is a huge loss. But we shouldn’t be so damned nuclear in the first place. My father died when I was seven, and my brothers had no father for years after. They’re fine. They had FAMILY [a close Italian family, mostly].}

YES, I think the break-up of families matters, but even more-so the break-up of “the village” that it takes to raise a family. Nuclear families are NOT the be-all and end-all of a society that wants to encourage caring and sharing of a limited world.

You mention issues that I agree exist. I wonder if we really know whats going on in them, or are we projecting our preconceptions onto them?

Someone on here mentioned the loss of religion and teaching values in schools — I see a loss of cohesiveness with those changes, but I am an atheist. I do not appreciate teaching “religion”in our schools. But I DID edit a book by a group of diligent educators who talked about teaching values and building community in schools without resorting to the specificity if “god” and religion. It was a good book. I want the cohesiveness back, for sure. How to get it without making ME supposedly talk to God in school, when I don’t believe there is one? And our founders knew that trying to make one idea of God predominate over all the ideas that exist about gods was NOT a good thing for governments to do.

I believe I am a very caring and I-hope-thoughful person without a god, and I believe we need to make our world better, even if we can only do that where we live {my mother told me I could not save the world, and I should make where I live a better place}.

Finding ways to cement our communities {yes, they call it part of social engineering}, we could design communities better to enable interaction and sharing of the activities of life to promote recognition of each other and a sense of “community” — shops, schools, libraries, cafes, front porches, walking on the street, even Post Offices where we meet each other …

People think we lost that sense of belonging to something, and to respecting each other, when we “took religion out of schools.”

Well, I think we designed those things right out of our culture in the way our communities changed. I see it not as “losing religion,” but coinciding with the creation of huge residential tracts of houses with little incentive for people who live in them to share little bits of their lives during their day. Along with other changes that made us more isolated.

People didn’t walk to a local corner store. They had backyard decks and not front-yard porches. They had to travel longer distances for goods and services where they shopped among strangers. They drove long distances to work, and didn’t ride there on buses together. They consolidated neighborhood schools and lost touch with neighborhoods. Our work life became far distant from our home life. And people began moving out of their childhood communities to seek “better opportunities,” or to live in tract houses, bringing children into places where they felt no agency and ownership and connection {and didn’t see people they knew all day long, like I did in my close Italian-family neighborhood, as a kid}.

A National group identity, a commitment to national group well-being, a respect for the whole country as a group — we don’t encourage it in America. We encourage cultism and fragmentation. We encourage Diversity WITHOUT the Equality and Inclusion and TOGETHERNESS that we also need. And THEN we commit to small groups, rather than the society as a whole. We don’t encourage being a COMMUNITY of diverse members {even when we talk about it, we don’t encourage it}.

Is it any surprise we don’t feel societal solidarity in our diverse America, like countries that can claim “Frenchness” or “Dutchness” or “Britishness”? {I could go on an even longer rant about celebrating diversity — which I think is a good thing! — but it needs to be DIVERSITY with INCLUSION and MUTUALITY. That’s the circle we have to square.}

Back to our disconnected society that siloes and competes rather than cooperates — Our economy threw us into the Two-Wage-Earner family mode {and YES, women wanted a chance to work — my own mother NEEDED a decent job in the 1950s, as a widow supporting four kids, and she couldn’t FIND one that paid well, because “women didn’t need” a fair wage —} and with families no longer living their daily lives in their homes, we segued into hyper-nuclear families instead of villages and communities that participate in the lives of our kids {who themselves become less caring about being seen as good people in their community and just wanna have fun … OK, I’m being snarky. But only a little.]

Hell, I could go on, but it wasn’t taking religion out of the schools that damaged our society. It was our lack of cultural know-how that did it. We let dollars dictate all of these changes, and the welfare of our people — We, the People, as one — went to hell in a hand basket.

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Feb 27Liked by Robert Reich

The US obsession with money and profit over work/life balance has created and supported these robber barons. Union membership in Belgium is about 60%, while in the US it’s under 10%. I lived and worked in Belgium 30 years, and never heard of anyone who couldn’t afford healthcare or a college education for their kids - it was very low cost or free. The society is set up to take care of its people, not just to extract every shred of productivity and then cast them aside. Paid summer holidays, parental leave, subsidised public transport to work are all integral parts of this system. The entire US system needs restructuring based on human values rather than unbridled capitalism.

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Judy, you're preaching to the choir. Amen. Thanks for doing a comparison. It shows the absurdity of what happens when imbalance of power becomes normalized in a society.

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founding

Thank nicely said. Sadly many in America for those who want to find societial benefits for taxes paid, they have to leave the states and go somewhere else. For those of us who choose that path, it is painful to go back even for visits to see family as much of the country finds anyone attempting to tell them there are alternatives in contemp.

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The "American Dream" has become the "American Nightmare"

for the working class! The accumulation of wealth and power is the

aphrodisiac of the billionaire class.

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We do not seem to understand in America that a few big corporations can become very much like a government. While pushing for personal freedom and liberty, many people are happily binding themselves to powers that want to completely restrict and direct that so-called freedom by allying with unrestrained, unaccountable, and unregulated corporate interests. Corporate entities are a wildly unrestrained mind of government if you give it that kind of power. They may claim to be interested in people, but if you are not a significant shareholder ... you have no voice in that government. And if the significant shareholders are making the rules, they will nit be sharing their holdings with you! You will never become a shareholder with a corporation as a government. Those whi have the shares wilk givern so they do not have to "share."

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While you're right about corporate governance and the little shareholder, to say that corporations are not regulated is totally wrong.

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Paul Bjarnason, I worked at NYDEP and EPA for a couple of decades and I saw close up exactly who actually "regulated" who.

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I know what you mean and I imagine you are referring to "regulatory capture", where the regulated industry tells its regulator what to do and escapes much of the regulation. I worked as a financial regulator for 40-years in places like SEC and banking agencies -- and, it is my observation that there is tough regulation on the little companies and a light touch on the big companies, which results in squeezing out the little guys to the benefit of the large corporations. I think it's this way in all the regulated industries, including Big Pharma. Why are we to suppose the main government policy regarding treating the Covid was mainly expensive vaccines?! If you want to read a great book, check out: "The Real Anthony Fauci" by RFK Jr.

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If I wanted to explore vaccines I would review the literature and credible sources in the field, not a lawyer. Why would anyone go to RFK Jr or anyone who has zero expertise in vaccines to learn about vaccines?

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It's a very well researched book, which you are certainly free to ignore. Well-footnoted - the best I have ever seen. It's not exactly about vaccines -- it's about a process, and it's about how the vaccines are (not) tested and marketed with the help of the government. RFK Jr. pulls together a lot of material in a logical way to reveal the dark underbelly of Big Pharma and Big Government collusion to make money at the expense of the little guys. It doesn't make Bill Gates look too good, either.

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I did not mean to say that they are not regulated at all, I meant to say that they have advantages and the ability to get away with what normal people cannot.

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Also, they have a decent ability to change the rules and regulations if they are able to exert their political power and the political winds are blowing their way (once in a while they blow the other way).

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Agreed, as it applies to the larger corporations. But, the government often comes down hard on small companies and individuals.

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Well, small companies and individuals are not the powers that be, so that makes sense. If a large corp can, it likes to make rules that apply to everybody but them. An example would be a monopoly. There are many reasons to grant them for legit reasons--like in the power industry or if something is particularly dangerous. In both cases there are lots of restrictions tied to the right. But monopoly power for artificial reasons would be quite desirable to some corporations. For military spending, for example, there are good reasons for a monopoly of government contracts for particular weapons and research, but without oversight, the lack of competition allows for lapses in management going unpunished until a crisis occurs, like Boeing is having. No company would turn away a free monopoly though. The amount of patent filings and lawsuits every year show they are coveted.

So with this focus on the fact that these companies are nit lobbying for any party other than themselves (though they might pool funds with other big players in the industry), but you could be assured that small competitors will nit have anything like their voice.

Also large companies can put up big expensive fights that go nowhere, so from an efficiency standpoint within a department, you go after easy fish and look like you are doing something.

So yes, in both lawmaking and enforcement, you see the little guys, small companies and individuals take a pummeling compared to the big guys.

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YES, the culture — we need to deal with our fragmented culture…

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Hear, hear, and YESSS, Judy.

We need a sense of common cause so we don’t constantly think someone is getting something they don’t “deserve.” This tendency to help “one’s own” and compete with “the other” is exacerbated by keeping us fragmented, maybe siloed? We ARE a society with a culture, but not enough see that creating a society that serves all of its members means US, too.

Prof. Reich talks about “the common good.” Maybe we don’t really understand what that encompasses?

We don’t want a culture that ensures “enough” for all. We want one that allows us to dream about becoming filthy rich. And one that takes care of people we identify with, and worries about “the other” reducing our share.

Is that too cynical? I want it to be too cynical…

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What you say exists in Belgium also exists in many U.S. companies and governmental agencies, although not as a government mandated matter. Maternity and paternity leave, subsidized public transportation to work and healthcare insurance subsidies -- almost everyone I know has these things -- and we live in the U.S.A. And, the best part -- the millions of illegals streaming in over our borders also have these things and are not required to have had the Covid jab to get them. LoL

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Sadly, given recent history I have little faith that the current majority of the Supreme Court will side with workers, there are simply too many rich people essentially paying for favorable rulings.

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Feb 27Liked by Robert Reich

I hope they are wrong, too. In the meantime. I will boycott Amazon. Tesla, too.

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