2 3 5
6 7 p4
The media loses interest.
In the fall of '88, the New York Times ran 50 stories on the homeless,
5 of them on the front page. In '98, with no fewer homeless, it
ran 10 pieces in the same period, none of them on the front page.
Without hearing liberal Democrats, you won't hear about these unrepresented
people. You'll hear about the unprecedented prosperity of globalization.
Why? Because these unrepresented
people make no campaign contributions. 96% of the people in America
make no campaign contributions. Every penny of financing for the
selection of every candidate for every public office in America
from dog catcher to President is supplied by 4% of the people. They're
mainly rich and they are represented. The $50,000,000.00 raised
so far to select Governor Bush as the Republican nominee has come
from three-one-hundredths of 1% of the people.
That's why less than
half of the people vote. They feel they have nothing to do with
the process of selecting the candidates, and they're right.
The candidates who are
elected for public service aren't financed by public money. They're
selected by private money. From people who usually want some kind
of return on their investment.
The primary cancer in
this sick system, the big money in politics, has so metastasized
into every area of government that we can't afford any longer to
ignore that the life of the patient -- American Democracy -- is
in mortal danger of dying on the table.
Getting the money to
win makes decent politicians do indecent things. But in fact, billion
dollar subsidies and tax breaks, the pork barrel and corporate welfare,
are only the smaller tumors. There are bigger ones.
Our taxpayers are bailing
out thieves in Mexico, Russia, Indonesia and other countries and
at the same time bailing out major American financial houses who
refuse to face the consequences of their bad investments overseas.
Our government is reacting to this crisis by crisis when we should
be helping to construct a new set of international ground rules
to curb speculation and financial abuse. But our major financial
houses want the freedom to move their money anywhere they please
and to be as free of rules and risk as they can.
The genius of America
is the successful harnessing of the dynamic creativity of the private
sector for the public good. No sensible person wants to dampen that.
But our government is
susceptible to a corporate economic globalization that is not free
trade but corporate managed trade. And the global economy is not
working yet for most people. But Pat Buchanan is wrong. We can't
build a wall or turn our back on it. We have to work with it.
The problem in this new
economy is the undue influence these institutions and corporations
have over government actions. They set the rules. Others aren't
invited to the table. What we are in danger of experiencing is a
slow motion coup d'etat of big money's interests over the public
interest. So the global rules, written into trade agreements like
NAFTA and enforced by institutions like the World Trade Organization,
protect things like patents and intellectual property rights but
not labor rights, profits but not people, investments but not the
environment. We know the results -- growth, increasing trade, some
development, some people making lots of money.
But 475 billionaires
have as much wealth as half the people on earth. We have the sweatshop
again. Child labor. Slave labor. Destruction of forests, fish, water
and air. And so far we haven't heard a word of requirements on labor
and environment and product safety in the agreement being negotiated
over Chinese admission to the World Trade Organization.
Of course our stocks
have gone up. But we're making the world safe for globalization
rather than making globalization safe for the world.
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