This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
There have so been many examples lately of the wealthy and the executive class having a sense that they are superior and entitled to fleece and feed off of the rest of us. Here is one more.
BP CEO Tony Hayward on who will be responsible for paying oil spill damages,
Mr Hayward reiterated a promise that BP “will honour all legitimate claims for business interruption”. Asked for examples of illegitimate claims, he said: “I could give you lots of examples. This is America — come on. We’re going to have lots of illegitimate claims. We all know that.”
So with this terrible oil tragedy ruining the ecology of a whole region, killing off the livelihoods of the people who depend on that ecology, he starts right out by mocking Americans who might go to court to collect for the damage that BP has caused them. “We all know” that there are going to be illegitimate claims. Frivolous lawsuits. Moochers and parasites, just waiting for a chance to get their hands on BP’s big pile of loot—the pile that Hayward and other executives and producers worked so hard to accumulate. (BP’s first quarter profit in 2010 was over $6 billion.)
Mind you, this was after BP got caught making fishermen sign waivers agreeing not to ask for more than $5,000 in damages from the company if they wanted work in the company’s cleanup effort. Got that? The fishermen are thrown out of work by BP’s huge Gulf oil catastrophe. So, desperate for any work they can get they ask for work doing the dangerous job of helping with the cleanup effort, and before “letting” them work BP makes them sign a form saying that they won’t ask for more than $5,000 for ruining their livelihood. Or else they won’t get any work helping with the cleanup.
Look how far down the road we have gone.
The entitled executives demand deregulation, because regulation is “government interference” and “meddling” in the affairs of businesspeople.
Then, with the protections removed, they call for “tort reform,” which means citizens can’t sue for compensation for damages after the fact.
Of course, they are trying to prevent the meddling government from setting up a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which would prevent scamming, cheating, fleecing and bamboozling of consumers – at least in financial products. (Other scamming, fleecing and bamboozling would still be OK.)
And most important, keep the government from taxing the wealthy or businesses — and this keeps the interfering government from having the funds for meddlesome inspections and enforcing laws and regulations that keep them from doing anything they want to do.
But government is We, the People, and we are supposed to be in charge here, and making the decisions. Not a few executives who feel entitled to anything they want. They think We, the People are meddling and interfering, because they are so much smarter, and know so much better than us, the herd. So they demand deregulation. They demand that government keep its nose out of their business. This is how we have ended up with catastrophe after catastrophe, finance, mining, oil and debt disasters.
We, the People have to restore our own understanding of our own power and responsibility. These things happened because WE stopped being eternally vigilant. We are the ones who have let them get their noses under the tent, and it is up to us to take back control of our own democracy.
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