While Republicans support the palpable lie that inflation is Joe Biden’s fault and Democrats retort (with only partial relevance) that Joe Biden is not the President of the World, it’s time to give both children a sharp scolding and ask, what’s wrong with this picture? Neither Democrats nor Republicans have got to the heart of the matter of their respective explanations, and they both know why.
While everything from groceries to gas continue to climb alarmingly, corporate profits haven’t been this grand since the 1950s. Every morning is Christmas morning for Wall Street, corporate executives and CEOs of large companies, who positively hug themselves with delight every day over this new and magical world of soaring profits.
Well it’s time somebody says it loud and clear and angry. It’s time to stop the tepid, meretricious protests and place their share of the blame squarely on the world’s corporate shoulders. It’s time to denounce the sharp practices and wicked profit-taking of multinational corporations.
Big oil and big food are making huge killings at the expense of the rest of the world and blaming their good fortune on the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. After all, they insist, they didn’t create the problem. But the quiet part they don’t say out loud is they are taking full and delighted advantage of our misery, and politicians on both sides of the aisle are doing next to nothing about it. Companies are raising prices at percentages higher than their increase in costs, and we are letting them get away with it.
The reason? Because money is too much part of our political system. We now live in a world where, not just presidential races, but races for the senate and gubernatorial contests are costing billions (with a ‘b’) of dollars. And those billions are coming from super PACs largely funded by corporations and dark money that both parties depend on for survival. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In a single presidential term and with the right composition of Congress, money can be removed from elections. Elections need to be held on a level playing field where money plays no role, and all national candidates who meet impartial, qualifying guidelines are provided with equal chances to state their platforms with airtime supplied by the government, culminating in a single live debate, also paid for by the government. Any attempt to influence elections by corporations should be prevented by federal law, accompanied by blood-curdling civil and criminal penalties.
Today our politicians are for sale, and the calamitous state of the economy thanks to legislation that is largely unresponsive to the needs and preferences of the American people is the result. The NRA, Big Oil and Big Food call the shots, and politicians stay in line if they want to keep their jobs. The love of money may not be the root of all evil, but it is the cause of far too much of it.
Money has corrupted us and prevented us from effectively dealing with the biggest problems facing us today, starting with global warming. As long as money remains king, our efforts to meet the emergencies we are faced with will always be diminished. Progress is painfully slow because greedy people who don’t care about us stand in the way. We need to stop letting them get away with it. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.