Working Americans Face Robber Baron Economy
by gogreens, Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 07:42:10 AM EST
Working Americans Face 'Robber Baron' Economy
GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
Working Americans must stand up to growing monopoly power of corporations, say Greens.
Consolidated corporate power has created financial hardship for middle- and low-income Americans; Greens call for repeal and reform of laws privileging large firms.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders urged all Americans to stand up to the growing monopoly power of corporations, which has created financial hardship and ruin for working Americans and families.
"The 2006 midterm elections, at national, state, and local levels, must address the crisis of consolidated corporate power, and how it's hitting Americans hard in their bank accounts," said Aimee Allison, Green candidate for Oakland (California) City Council, District 2 <http://www.aimeeallison.org>. "Debt is at record levels, and a medical emergency or a job loss can spell financial ruin for American families. When companies merge at the national and global level, when Wal-Mart swallows up local economies and puts small business owners out of business, then words like 'free market' and 'competition' are a joke."
Greens asked working Americans to support several urgent measures to restore financial stability and protection for citizens and to limit corporate power:
Recent bankruptcy bills, which give financial institutions nearly unlimited power over middle- and low-income Americans facing financial hardship, must be overturned.
"The House bankruptcy bill passed in April, 2005, allows creditors to demand higher payments before and after bankruptcy, drives up bankruptcy filling fees and minimum payments in repayment plans, and also lets millionaires escape their debts by hiding their money in exemptions and trusts," said John Eder, elected Green Independent member of the Maine House of Representatives (Portland) <http://www.RepJohnEder.com>. "The bill was passed by Republicans and by 72 House Democrats without amendments that would have blocked abuses of bankruptcy laws by companies like Enron. 90% of bankruptcies are the result of employment, illness, or inadequate health insurance. This bill was a victory for credit card companies and banks, and a crushing defeat for the rest of us."
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, financial and credit firms gave more than $7.8 million in individual and PAC contributions during the 2004 election cycle to both Republicans (64%) and Democrats (36%).
A national health insurance system will remove control by HMOs and insurance firms over U.S. health care, and will guarantee quality coverage for all Americans.
"HMOs and insurance firms make decisions based on profit, not on our need for health care," said Donna J. Warren, who is seeking the Green nomination for Lieutenant Governor of California <http://www.donnawarren.com>. "They refuse to cover people who are considered at-risk -- people with prior medical conditions, older Americans, and those who can't afford coverage. That's why over 45 million Americans, including millions of working people, aren't covered. The only remedy is a single-payer national health insurance system. Unfortunately, most Congress members get too much money in contributions from these corporations, so they refuse to challenge corporate power and profit with a single-payer plan."
Americans must work to preserve their job benefits and public 'social safety' protections, beginning with repeal of Taft-Hartley restrictions on workplace organization and rejection of Republican attempts to privatize Social Security.
Conservation of energy and targeted carbon taxes will not only help curb the advance of global warming and make the U.S. less reliant on foreign oil, they will prevent oil companies from gouging consumers while drawing record profits.
Greens noted that, while Americans suffered higher prices at the gas pump, companies like Exxon Mobil set U.S. records for quarterly and annual profits in 2005.
Greens also call for an end to the status of corporations as 'persons' according to a 19th-century interpretation of the U.S. Constitution; legislation to prevent corporations from evading payment of taxes and escaping punishment when they break the law; stronger local economic control for communities facing invasion by Wal-Mart and other big chain stores; and renegotiation of international trade pacts like NAFTA and FTAA which privilege corporations over working people and override labor, human rights, and environmental protections.
Greens stressed that income for Americans under 45 has fallen dramatically between 2001 and 2005, and that people of color have been disproportionately hit by cuts to the social safety net.
"We're in a new 'Robber Baron' era," said California congressional candidate Byron De Lear (28th District) <http://www.delearforcongress.org>. "While competition between powerful companies has dwindled under corporate-friendly policies, working people compete for fewer jobs, benefits disappear, unions are weakened, and small businesses don't stand a chance."
"But we can't even begin to fight predatory corporate power until we expel all Democrats and Republicans in Congress, in state legislatures, and in city councils who take marching orders from corporate lobbyists," said Mr. DeLear. "The Green Party and its candidates refuse all contributions from corporations, and we're fighting for campaign finance reforms that allow Green and other noncorporate candidates a fighting chance to compete in elections."
Green Party of the United States
1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20009.