Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cuomo agua para chocolate

Corporate States of America. Via Rocky Mountain Media.
Way down toward the end of last week's Times overview of the South Carolina Confederate flag epic, a telling passage on the state's business community, which has long had problems with the cult of the Lost Cause:
After the killings in Charleston, the business leaders saw their chance. The chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, an old friend of Ms. Haley’s named Mikee Johnson, polled his 56 board members about the future of the flag. Everyone who responded was of the same opinion. He called Ms. Haley and told her: If she was ready to bring down the Confederate banner, they were behind her.

So was the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, the muscular association that represents giant international companies like BMW and Bridgestone Tire. Over the weekend after the shootings, its president, Mr. Gossett, urged members to draw up a strategy for finally ridding the State House of the flag.
It's not, note, that they're especially anti-slavery, not that they favor it either, or have any special beef with the confederal states' rights ideology; it's that the flag has been bad for business.

Then yesterday Frank Bruni wrote this weird little rhapsody about how wonderful and good our big corporations are, over that and the marriage equality issues; Steve M read it so I didn't have to, as we say, and I'm glad he did, and reminded us of some of the other things corporations do, like taking all the money, as the Times was explaining the very same day:
According to detailed tax data compiled by the economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, the top 10 percent of families captured just under 90 percent of the total growth in income between 2009 and 2014. All other families split the remaining 10 percent.
This might change, Bruni's paper informs us, if we could "improve the bargaining power of workers, so that they could claim more of the wealth generated by productivity gains, which the affluent are keeping primarily to themselves" -- but we read elsewhere in Bruni's paper today that the Supreme Court -- revealed this week as surprisingly socially liberal but still dominated by justices appointed by presidents of our more pro-corporatist party -- will hear a case that could curb unions even more than they've been curbed in recent decades.

Elsewhere in Bruni's paper, we see the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fighting anti-smoking laws around the world. We see homeowners in Oklahoma dealing with so many earthquakes as a result of fracking that they've now won the right to sue oil companies. And, of course, we see debt crises in Greece and Puerto Rico, part of the extended fallout from a financial crash caused by socially tolerant but greed-driven and criminal-minded financial institutions.
One thing Steve doesn't emphasize is that in those cases where Big Capital is on the right side there's a Big Capital reason for it. They ditched the Confederate flag because the flag is bad for profits. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it isn't because they are nice. Same goes overwhelmingly for the marriage equality issue; they saw there was serious money in being on the right side.

What counts is what they do when it costs them some money. There are a lot of areas where the left can make some kind of helpful alliance with the equity side, as opposed to the debt side, of the corporate world, because, to invert the traditional formula, what's good for America is good for General Motors (if General Motors can only bring itself to see farther than the quarterly results). But they really need to be pushed, not coddled. Especially in issues where the profit possibilities are very far down the line, as in making the energy industry environmentally responsible.

Which brings us, I guess, to the Christopher Christie of the Democratic Party, New York's own hedge-fund Democrat governor Andrew Cuomo, recently proposing to use executive action to raise the wages of fast food workers to $15 an hour. Why just fast food workers and not all the other minimum wage workers in the state? I assume because his friends don't eat at Taco Bell and MacDonald's and don't own the tacky little franchises either; they're more likely to own stock in companies like Staples, whose minimum-wage workers are now supplanting United States Post Office employees, and Walmart.

I'm glad to see Cuomo's latest Christie-like caper—leaking anonymous backstabs against Mayor Bill de Blasio to the New York Daily News and Wall Street Journal—seems to have seriously backfired within the party, starting with the mayor himself, who showed how an honest person deals with these things, openly:
“Some unnamed sources well-placed in the Cuomo administration had a few things to say,” the mayor told NY1 on Tuesday. “I’m here in front of you on record saying what I believe....
“I’m not going to be surprised if these statements lead to some attempts at revenge,” Mr. de Blasio said, his voice even. “And we’ll just call them right out. Because we are just not going to play that way.”
Today's Times offers a cheering report on the whole state party piling on, beginning with rage over the way Cuomo essentially deserted the party in last November's elections (even the not exactly leftist Steve Israel is pissed off), and going on to his failure to push for liberal priorities:
“You can’t say you’re a Democratic governor and you’re lining up to empower the Republican Party,” said [Brooklyn Borough President Eric] Adams, who camped outside Mr. Cuomo’s Midtown Manhattan office during the legislative session in a protest on rent laws.
More of that, please.

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