Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Deep Pockets

Keeping this blog up to date has been difficult but as the campaign and the year progresses I expect to post much more often. I just signed up with the Campaign Corner, a progressive populist site. As a governor there are limits to the things I could get involved in but there are plenty of state issues to take care of. A primary interest of mine is limiting corporate power, empowering communities, food and energy security, but first we will have to fix our broken political system.

Bob Hope once said "No one party can fool all the people all the time. That's why we have two parties." I had never realized that Bob Hope so totally "got it" and these days I think more and more people are. We've been provided a good list of
some elements of the mess we are in by progressives but we can hardly blame it all on Republicans. While the two parties may differ in many respects when it comes to campaign promises they begin to look a lot alike when it comes to the overall thrust of policy, which is to serve the interests of the mostly American based multi-national corporations who funded their rise to positions of power. If we look at who gave what to whom to get elected we find the same major corporations giving to both parties but favoring one or the other with more in the years they are the winners. Yes, Virginia, politicians are elected with money, more and more of it every cycle. The candidate who spends the most gets the most votes, its pretty big news when, rarely, that does not happen. Corporations with deep pockets, such as these multi-nationals, can buy our government with a very tiny percentage of what they rake in. How deep are those pockets?

Lets take BP, hmmm I believe that suggestion has been made, ...not a bad idea. BP is a good example, or bad example depending on how you want to look at it, of deep pockets. BP has oil reserves currently of 63 billion barrels of oil. At $60 per barrel, 63 billion barrels represents $3.78 trillion dollars. BP is currently spending $500 million per month on the spill, so in theory it would take 3780 years at that rate for the company to exhaust its reserve assets. If the price of oil were to rise to $120 per barrel, not unreasonable since it reached $147 two years ago, BP’s assets would not run out for 7562 years. Hard to fathom, isn't it? Our President is trying to convince us he has poked a hole in BP's assets with the $20 billion pay off promised by BP. Hardly. BP could pay out $20 billion every year for 189 years, about 7 generations, at current market prices. That sounds about right for how long the toxic effects on the gulf and its coasts will take to heal. If they stopped all oil spills now, that is. We know they are not likely to, there is way too much money to made off of it. So how much does our government cost?

In 1929 Congress capped its own size, in defiance of the constitution, at 435 people. Before that Congress grew with the census as the constitution requires. They used to represent an average of about 30-40 thousand constituents each, now its 700 thousand each. Then there is the millionaire's club, the Senate, another 100 people, the executive branch provides a couple more, so a total of only 537 elected people. I recommend you check out the numbers for yourself but with few hundred million a year BP can pretty much get anyone they want elected and any policy good for oil companies implemented. They also have a $9 billion per year contract supplying our military with oil. Is this the Republicans fault alone?

Our current President has fallen right in line not reversing a single Bush policy and Bush didn't reverse any Clinton policy either. This is the President's primary job, support the policies put in place by all that corporate money. Republican, Democrat, the only difference is their style not their substance. That is not so true for republicans and democrats, however, for these are mostly ordinary people who want much the same thing for their families and communities but as Bob Hope pointed out, they are also some of the people who are fooled from time to time.

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