Your government, looking out for the not-so-little guy:
The Justice Department announced new rules yesterday that will make it harder for prosecutors to bring criminal charges against companies, bending to intense pressure from business groups that claim the government has overreached in its pursuit of financial malfeasance.
In presenting the revised rules, Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty called the changes a substantial and direct response to a lobbying drive by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, among others.
Since devastating bankruptcies at Enron and WorldCom prompted Congress to pass a stringent corporate accountability law four years ago, business interests increasingly have pushed back on efforts to police their operations, arguing that the government has imposed too many costs on companies with too few benefits for investors.
If it were possible to pick one person as the representative for American business in Washington, Thomas Donahue is that man. He is the President and CEO of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the most important business lobbying group in the country. He is also on the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of Sunrise Senior Living, and was caught selling stock ahead of the revelations of accounting problems. That is a serious no-no for any board member or any business executive. It's deeply unethical and possibly illegal, because it's stealing from investors. If there's any indication that the business lobby under Republican rule became unbelievably corrupted, look no further than Thomas Donahue, the man that the business community picked to represent them to the Republican power structure.
I'm a small businessman, and the big business lobbies of big pharma, the US Chamber of Commerce and all the rest do not represent me. They work against my interests and pump a steady stream of lying economic happy talk out through the media. Net neutrality is good for me, but the telcos and cable companies want to sell me out to extract extra money from big corporate citizens who can pay for better access and accessibility online. American big business is against universal health care while those of us doing the hiring and growing in the grass roots business community are much more for it. Big business wants to stifle innovation to protect its markets from little business guys like me. To hell with them. You want to see what their big corporate welfare does for American jobs and prosperity? Look no further than the US auto industry.
We don't need less accountability on our big multinational corporations. We need more. Milton Freidman is dead. Companies have more stakeholders than just shareholders. Companies that do business in the US are not just global citizens, they are accountable to US citizens. In earlier times, you had to have property to have a say in government. That supposedly changed. But now, government is owned almost outright by multinationals writing laws against the interests of the people in the dark of night for bad actors in Congress – Democrats and Republicans - to pass as is, without debate, in exchange for campaign contributions and lucrative lobbying jobs for their families, friends and even themselves.
It's up to us to stop it. What's happening to the little guy? I'm guessing there's a clue in the fact that late mortgage payments increased in the third quarter of this year.