Almost daily we read about another apparently stiff financial penalty meted out for corporate malfeasance. This year corporations are on track to pay as much as $8 billion to resolve charges of defrauding the government, a record sum, according to the Department of Justice. Last year big business paid the SEC $2.8 billion to settle… Continue reading
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Tax Day 2012 is upon us. And given the centrality of taxes as an election issue, it would be accurate to say that Tax Year 2012 is upon us. To inform the tax debate, the Citizens for Tax Justice, one of the most competent of any groups on this subject, has provided the data rebutting… Continue reading
A few months ago Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan, an influential book about the crucial importance of unpredictable, unforeseen events on our financial system was asked whether the hundreds of thousands taking to the streets in Greece was a Black Swan event. He replied, “No. The real Black Swan event is that people… Continue reading
A rogue Supreme Court seems hellbent on establishing a corporate oligarchy. Congress can’t stop it. Every time Congress or state legislatures tries to curb the power of billionaires or mega corporations the Court slaps them down. Citizens United v. FEC, the recent Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations to spend unlimited sums of money to influence elections is only the most recent step in this process. There will be more. But the shocking decision may be sufficient to galvanize a political movement that can change the rules and ensure our democracy.
We can save our country by adding eight words to the fundamental law of the land, the US Constitution. "Corporations are not persons." "Money is not speech." Continue reading
Responding to criticism that President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet is composed largely of recycled Bill Clinton appointees, Obama’s close advisor David Axelrod told the New York Times, "He’s not looking for people to give him a vision. He’s going to put together an administration of people who can effectuate his vision." A few days later, after introducing his foreign policy team, Obama himself declared, "I will be responsible for the vision that this team carries out, and I expect them to implement that vision once decisions are made.”
Which leads to the inevitable question: What is Obama’s overarching vision? What is the philosophical framework that will animate his administration and guide his cabinet officers to adopt policies different from those they embraced in the past?
A few weeks ago I was at Iowa State University addressing 500 students and faculty at its engineering school. I was sharing a platform with former CIA Director Jim Woolsey. At one point, a student asked our views on the presidential candidates’ energy programs.
Iresponded that the essential difference between Obama and McCain is not in their goals as much as it is in the tools they would use to reach those goals. Obama believes in the active use of government authority; John McCain does not. McCain’s self-declared heroes, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, galvanized and led a movement whose principal thesis is that government is part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Corporations Don’t Have the Same Rights as People by David Morris Originally published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, September 21, 2003 In a remarkable editorial aptly titled “Even Fibs,” the Star Tribune declares, “In the realm of law, companies aren’t much more than passels of people.” It goes on to explain why a giant corporation… Continue reading
Populism Circa 1999 by David Morris Institute for Local Self-Reliance February 9, 1999 – published in St. Paul Pioneer Press The election of Jesse Ventura set off a flurry of punditry about the meaning of the word “populist”. Governor Ventura certainly fits to a “v” the first part of Webster’s New World Dictionary’s definition of… Continue reading
The Curse of Bigness by David Morris Institute for Local Self-Reliance October 6, 1998 – published in St. Paul Pioneer Press At the beginning of this century, American leaders railed against what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called the “curse of bigness”. Presidents, Senators, commentators all decried the pernicious effects concentrated economic power has on… Continue reading
Capital Punishment for Corporations? by David Morris Institute for Local Self-Reliance September 22, 1998 – published in St. Paul Pioneer Press No one should be above the law, our politicians insist. If the President is lying, he should be stripped of office. Drug users should be stripped of their possessions and their livelihoods. Murderers should… Continue reading