Do Corporations Rule America?

I suppose it's natural that the average American believes that the Crash of 2008 was caused by greedy bankers and that the problem with health insurance is insurance company profits.

After all, most Americans work for big companies, and they know that at any moment corporate security could appear at their cubicle to escort them to the exit. Employees know the power their bosses have over them; why shouldn't the bosses have the same power to work their will over politicians?

Not only that, but politicians pose as the worker's friend. We'll protect you from the ravishings of your lascivious employer, they say. We'll regulate the bosses and carve out a share of their profits to return to you in benefits.

What is not to like about politicians? What's not to hate about corporate bosses?

How do you begin to persuade a rank-and-file American that business is their friend and government is their enemy? Good luck with persuading the 18,000 folks that just lost their jobs at Microsoft and are now wondering what government benefits they might qualify for.

But then, the private soldier always thinks worse of the sergeant that yells at him to get out of bed than the commissioned officer that asks kindly after his mother just before sending him to his death.

When your big corporate employer gives you the pink slip, who really rules: the corporation or the market?

When politician Hillary Clinton gets a multi-million dollar advance for her door-stopper book, is it just business or a political contribution?

When the government bails out the banks and then later on extracts fines and penalties, who is the boss?

When a politician boasts of the nation's doctors that he “filled their mouths with gold” so they would support his government takeover of health care, who is the boss?

When the government pays off insurance companies and drug companies to get their support for ObamaCare, who is the boss?

When in 1902 the federal government sued to prevent formation of the Northern Securities Company, a merger of Northern Pacific Railway, Great Northern Railway, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, a combination that it permitted 70 years later as Burlington Northern, who was the boss?

When in 1911 the federal government broke up the Standard Oil Company, a monopoly that it permitted partially to reform in 1998 as ExxonMobil, who was the boss?

When in 1969 the federal government sued IBM, the dominant computer company, on anti-trust grounds, who was the boss?

When in 1982 the federal government broke up AT&T, who was the boss?

When in 1998 the federal government and 19 states sued Microsoft on anti-trust, who was the boss?

When in 2014 Heritage Action invited leftist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to speak at its forum on the phase-out of the Export-Import Bank, she demurred, saying through a spokeswoman that she believes the Ex-Im Bank “helps create American jobs,” who is the boss?

But it all connects if you understand that progressives like Sen. Warren are perfectly happy with corporations, but only as their pet lapdogs.  Jonah Goldberg writes that the left

doesn't want to cut the government's incestuous relationship with big business; it simply wants to bring business to heel.  Big business should do what Washington tells it to do, and when it does, it will get treats. When it doesn't, it will get the newspaper to the nose.

The only problem is that sometimes the business lapdog game “yields businesses that try to have the government's lap all to themselves” and that can sometimes be embarrassing.

Viewed in this light, you can see what the selective prosecutions of the big banks in the years since the Crash of 2008 were all about -- apart from the walking-around money of $13 billion from JP Morgan and $7 billion from Citigroup. It's all about applying “the newspaper to the nose” to the big banks to show who's the boss.

Really, what could go wrong? The government creates programs to shovel real-estate mortgages at people that can't afford them; it forces the highly-regulated banks to loan to deadbeats. Then when the crash comes it blames greedy bankers and the OccupyWallStreet kids lap it all up like mother's milk. People lose their homes by the millions;  the government milks the banks flush with QE cash for whatever the traffic will bear; and President Obama chides the Republicans for their “on your own” economics.

If you are a highly educated and evolved person, you know that there is another angle to idea of corporations as pet lapdogs. When humans domesticate dogs and appoint canines as “man's best friend” and make such a fuss over their lapdogs, allowing them liberties and giving them treats, who is really the boss, the owner or the dog?

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

I suppose it's natural that the average American believes that the Crash of 2008 was caused by greedy bankers and that the problem with health insurance is insurance company profits.

After all, most Americans work for big companies, and they know that at any moment corporate security could appear at their cubicle to escort them to the exit. Employees know the power their bosses have over them; why shouldn't the bosses have the same power to work their will over politicians?

Not only that, but politicians pose as the worker's friend. We'll protect you from the ravishings of your lascivious employer, they say. We'll regulate the bosses and carve out a share of their profits to return to you in benefits.

What is not to like about politicians? What's not to hate about corporate bosses?

How do you begin to persuade a rank-and-file American that business is their friend and government is their enemy? Good luck with persuading the 18,000 folks that just lost their jobs at Microsoft and are now wondering what government benefits they might qualify for.

But then, the private soldier always thinks worse of the sergeant that yells at him to get out of bed than the commissioned officer that asks kindly after his mother just before sending him to his death.

When your big corporate employer gives you the pink slip, who really rules: the corporation or the market?

When politician Hillary Clinton gets a multi-million dollar advance for her door-stopper book, is it just business or a political contribution?

When the government bails out the banks and then later on extracts fines and penalties, who is the boss?

When a politician boasts of the nation's doctors that he “filled their mouths with gold” so they would support his government takeover of health care, who is the boss?

When the government pays off insurance companies and drug companies to get their support for ObamaCare, who is the boss?

When in 1902 the federal government sued to prevent formation of the Northern Securities Company, a merger of Northern Pacific Railway, Great Northern Railway, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, a combination that it permitted 70 years later as Burlington Northern, who was the boss?

When in 1911 the federal government broke up the Standard Oil Company, a monopoly that it permitted partially to reform in 1998 as ExxonMobil, who was the boss?

When in 1969 the federal government sued IBM, the dominant computer company, on anti-trust grounds, who was the boss?

When in 1982 the federal government broke up AT&T, who was the boss?

When in 1998 the federal government and 19 states sued Microsoft on anti-trust, who was the boss?

When in 2014 Heritage Action invited leftist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to speak at its forum on the phase-out of the Export-Import Bank, she demurred, saying through a spokeswoman that she believes the Ex-Im Bank “helps create American jobs,” who is the boss?

But it all connects if you understand that progressives like Sen. Warren are perfectly happy with corporations, but only as their pet lapdogs.  Jonah Goldberg writes that the left

doesn't want to cut the government's incestuous relationship with big business; it simply wants to bring business to heel.  Big business should do what Washington tells it to do, and when it does, it will get treats. When it doesn't, it will get the newspaper to the nose.

The only problem is that sometimes the business lapdog game “yields businesses that try to have the government's lap all to themselves” and that can sometimes be embarrassing.

Viewed in this light, you can see what the selective prosecutions of the big banks in the years since the Crash of 2008 were all about -- apart from the walking-around money of $13 billion from JP Morgan and $7 billion from Citigroup. It's all about applying “the newspaper to the nose” to the big banks to show who's the boss.

Really, what could go wrong? The government creates programs to shovel real-estate mortgages at people that can't afford them; it forces the highly-regulated banks to loan to deadbeats. Then when the crash comes it blames greedy bankers and the OccupyWallStreet kids lap it all up like mother's milk. People lose their homes by the millions;  the government milks the banks flush with QE cash for whatever the traffic will bear; and President Obama chides the Republicans for their “on your own” economics.

If you are a highly educated and evolved person, you know that there is another angle to idea of corporations as pet lapdogs. When humans domesticate dogs and appoint canines as “man's best friend” and make such a fuss over their lapdogs, allowing them liberties and giving them treats, who is really the boss, the owner or the dog?

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.