Another Stimulus Bill? - A Corporate Culture of Cronyism

What is going on in Washington?

The first stimulus bill has yet to be spent, although they have authorized $250 billion of it to buy stock in the banks, which was a much wiser decision than buying bad mortgages that nobody wants. This new stimulus bill, currently proposed as $168 billion, is being pushed by the Democrats with the focus being public works, jobless benefits, Medicaid, food stamps, and another round of tax rebates. At least this one is to help the poor rather than to stop corporations from losing their value.

The total of this package is close to all of the pork that was added to the last bill to influence Representatives and Senators to vote in favor of it. Bush had proposed a three-page stimulus bill. Eventually that bill inflated to 448 pages and added around $100 billion dollars in pork.

What needs to happen in Washington is not another stimulus package; what we need is monopoly busting. The consolidation of nearly every industry in the last decade has caused our system to become much more vulnerable than it should be. If these megacorporations never merged together, there would not be that much danger from a bank, or twenty banks failing. Each merger caused the holes in the safety net to grow. Eventually it reached a point where the net was completely useless. It is much easier to absorb the failure of a corporation when there are many other corporations of similar size in the same field to absorb the impact. There should be enough other banks to pick up the slack. What we see going on is banks that are too large for other banks to quickly pick up the slack failing. In the end, the failing banks are too large because government allowed them to become too large. The same situation could happen in many other industries because of the massive corporations in those fields.

We also need to stop different businesses in the same field from being owned by the same people. Competition really does not work if the owners are the same people in the companies that are to be competing with one another. We need transparency of ownership. That means those trust funds and investing groups need to stop being shields to prevent us from knowing who is investing in what companies. Combine this with monopoly busting so that companies that are owned by the same wealthy individuals will be viewed as the same company and busted as such.

Those are my two solutions to the problem. They are not short term fixes like a stimulus package, but they allow capitalism to work. Right now, we seem to be operating in an environment where corporations receive government help when things are falling apart but can rape the consumer for profits when the economy is thriving. The government needs to insure that the market has competition or capitalism is just a charade for cronyism. In capitalism, a company cannot rape the consumer for profits because another company will steal all of the business, nor can a company demand government help when failing because other companies are in the waiting ready to fill the hole. Let us move from cronyism to capitalism.