The left hates corporations while Obama makes friends

Monday, August 24, 2009


Many of my left-thinking friends hate corporations. They don't trust corporations. They think corporations are the root of evil. They think that corporations represent everything wrong with government and society. My only question is: "why is your philosopher-king so pro corporation?"

Obama hates AIG, but just how does he feel about GE Capital? You know, the financial subsidiary of GE that was able to sway Obama on his financial sector reform. You know, the company that makes health care equipment. Oh, yeah, don't they make wind turbines and F-35 jets too? Don't they own Olbermann, Maddow, and Matthews? Haven't they been lobbying more than normal? Maybe GE is special? Maybe they are the uncorporation corporation? After all, their CEO does sit on Obama's economic council (read more here).

So what's your excuse for PhRMA? Hat tip to Left Coast Rebel.

15 comments

TAO said...

Since you have my blog listed under "Blogs On The Left" I figure I had better weigh in as one of those corporation hating liberals...

For me to hate 'corporations' would be somesort of self loathing issue because I own two companies, one is incorporated and the the other is an LLC.

Personally I hate 'bigness' and I do not differentiate between government or corporations. I believe that 'bigness' becomes inefficient and ineffective and I think GE is a fine example. I also believe that the concept of "Too Big To Fail" has proven that corporations that become conglormates become inefficient and ineffective...

THAT is not a general hatred of corporations but an assesment of what is wrong with our economic/political system. The government has become an 'enabler' of the self destructive nature of our economic system...

As far as Obama goes, isn't it funny how people change once they make it big in Washington? Ever wonder why that happens?

August 24, 2009 at 9:46 PM

A corporation is simply a conglomeration of individuals gathered in a legal structure to make and structure business decisions. I own an 'S' corp. If I had the chance, I would grow it to a multi-billion dollar conglomerate.

Anyway, it is always laughable, (and sad), to me when I hear our well-meaning friends on the Left chastise corps as everything that is evil. Their alternative, (big-government nanny-state), is so much worse.

This should be common sense but is not.

August 24, 2009 at 10:02 PM
TAO said...

If "big-government nanny-state" is what the 'left' sees as an 'alternative' then we have to ask, "alternative to what?"

Would that be corporatism? What's the difference between 'big-government nanny-state' and big-business?

Its funny how consevatives love to go on and on about the left and their alternative while never once mentioning their alternative..

The individual loses as much freedom and independence under corporatism as they do under big government nanny states...

August 25, 2009 at 8:04 AM

@ Tao - I appologize if I've incorrectly lumped you into a group you are not. You've inspired me to rename my left-leaning blog roll.

Hey! I'm with you on most of your post comments, except with a little ammendment. I do not have a problem with bigness, but noncompetition. The areas of our economy that we have most trouble with is because we have allowed them to be noncompetitive. Area like oil.

On a quick side note, too big to fail is a huge issue and I've posted on it. Obama would have been doing right by pairing down these multi-trillion dollar financial institutions. However, the fact that GE has successfully lobbied against the only part of his reform that mattered reflects poorly on the Prez.

However, Tao, in reading your blog, you come across to me as pro-big government intervention on health care and I see this as the exact opposite direction that power needs to swing. Particularly with health care. I have yet to see a single argument that makes sense for government to have such large control over the industry.

If you look at HR3200 you see that all health care plans private or public are going to be government approved. That's not competition and it's not free market. It's a power grab.

Conservatives do have alternative ideas and it is free markets. We need to return the purchasing power of health care to citizens. HR3200 is an attempt to shift the power from insurance companies to the government. It's not the right direction and if you truly see big government and big business as analogous you would not want to see a large government roll in health care.

@ LCR - I may repost an old post of mine. The problem we have is with CEOs, not corporations. Corporations generally very good for everyone. They are giving people jobs and helping people attain cushy retirement via 401k investments and such. For some reason many on the left don't understand how businesses work and don't understand the difference. It's very counter productive and dangerous as a basis for politics and policy.

Yup, I see problems and areas that can be addressed, but if you are identifying the problem correctly you can't solve the problem.

August 25, 2009 at 9:33 AM
TAO said...

At some point you have to wake up and accept reality, big government is here to stay. The issue is not the size but rather the efficiencies of government. I live in Kentucky and the last thing I want to see is my local and or state government get more powerful because they are more corrupt and incompetent than the Federal Government.

The purpose of my post about single payer is very simple, it asks the question about what do insurance companies bring to the table? In regards to healthcare they bring nothing and in effect are nothing more than a useless layer of bureaucracy in a disfunctional industry.

I also love the argument about private insurance and the choices it gives us, considering the fact that 80% of Americans get their insurance from either the federal government or from their employer and last time I checked employers made the decisions of what insurance to offer their employees...not much choice there is there?

We are sitting here facing a healthcare crisis, the bankruptcy of our social safety net, and the fallout from fighting two wars with nothing to show for either. We have taxed and spent, borrowed and spent, and what do we have to show for it? A bunch of companies on life support that were too big to fail!

I just do not buy the fact that government is the root evil of everything that is wrong with this country in light of the fact that all of our policies are being written under the supervision of lobbyists who are hired and paid for by major corporations and economic interests.

Want to shrink government then begin by shrinking the power and influence of corporations and economic interests otherwise you are just blowing smoke

August 25, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Tao, you said -

If "big-government nanny-state" is what the 'left' sees as an 'alternative' then we have to ask, "alternative to what?"

The answer here being that the left, aka the statist, the nanny-stater, the socialist, etc. sees their 'vision' as an alternative to individual initiative, freedom and choice, all the while arguing the opposite, saying that they are for 'the little guy'.

The difference between a big-government socialism nanny-state and big-business is philosophical. Big-business is in many ways accountable to the consumer and market. They are accountable to their shareholders. I, as an individual can choose or not choose to solicit said big-business.

On the other hand, big-government forces edict by the barrel of a gun, at the whim of a pol flanked by cronies, and can ostensibly confiscate 100% of my income or imprison me. Big-government is the tool of the initiative-less masses to extract from me that which they do not have the drive or determination to find themselves.

That is, my life energy.

Plainly put, big-business cannot even be 1/100 as potentially destructive.

August 25, 2009 at 11:25 AM

@ Tao - First, I'm just not sure who you are referring to here:

"We are sitting here facing a healthcare crisis, the bankruptcy of our social safety net, and the fallout from fighting two wars with nothing to show for either. We have taxed and spent, borrowed and spent, and what do we have to show for it? A bunch of companies on life support that were too big to fail! "

Are you referring to insurance companies, banks that were bailed out, or any company that was bailed out? I just want to make sure I don't missunderstand your point here.

Also:

"The issue is not the size but rather the efficiencies of government."

Did you mean efficiencies? It is a law of economics that government does not have efficiencies. Literally, it's impossible. I've also posted on this if you are interested.

I was not specifically referring to your recent post on single payer to be honest. I follow your blog regularly and it seemed to be the gist of what I've read.

As far as that specific post, I agree and disagree. You need to consider what insurance is and is not. Insurance is supposed to provide security against an unfortunate circumstance like, dying young, a car accident, a fire in your house caused by a hurricane. In America, we are looking to insurance to do something that it is not, which is provide health care. It's like expecting car insurance to pay for oil changes. It's silliness and it is in part why our health care system is in trouble. However, the solution is not government running health care. I understand that's the big debate. However, it's off the path of what my post was about.

"At some point you have to wake up and accept reality, big government is here to stay."

Once again, what you've said is that government and big business are analogous, yet you prefer one over the other. I'm sorry, but I just don't follow. What prevents the flip side, "you just have to accept that big business is here to stay." Why am I supposed to fear business and give government a pass if they are in fact, the same?

I'm equally concerned about both. I posted on GE and PhRMA in bed with the White House. Why is that all big business fault? I'd rather point out that the fact they are in bed together is an act of mutual conscent.

I'm fine with shrinking big business' influence in Washington. However it sounds to me that you are saying, "well,if I can't have that at least it's better if we have more government." As I've pointed out, the switch is not beneficial at all. You haven't disagreed and yet:

"I also love the argument about private insurance and the choices it gives us, considering the fact that 80% of Americans get their insurance from either the federal government or from their employer and last time I checked employers made the decisions of what insurance to offer their employees...not much choice there is there?"

this does not make sense to me. If consumers not having the power over their health care decisions is the problem, why do people keep telling me that having the government more power over these decisions is the answer? That line of thinking doesn't come close to addressing the issue you've stated. If it's not addressing the problem, then why even consider it?

August 25, 2009 at 11:26 AM
TAO said...

Left Coast...

You are right, the argument in regards to big business vs big government is a philosophical argument as it is based upon concepts that are more theoretical rather than realistic.

In THEORY government should be able to provide goods and services efficiency and effectively but realistically it cannot. In THEORY Big Business should be accountable to consumers, markets, and shareholders but in reality they are not.

You are correct about Democrats and their talk about the 'little guy' but it is also true that Republicans love to espouse their support for 'small business' and again in THEORY those may be their ideals but in REALITY they are no where near the truth.

That's the trouble with philosophy; too much of it and you end up with a heck of a hangover.

We can look at our automakers and see the disaster that supporting big business leads to. We can look at the regulations that were changed that allowed Wall Street to branch into just about everything. That too was a disaster.

Yes, big government has the authority to wreck havoc in your life but then again so can big business in a variety of ways.

If I take my business away from my local bank it gets their attention, when I take my business away from Bank of America they don't care.

When I refuse to shop at Walmart they don't even notice but when I take my business away from a small Mom and Pop business they call me up and ask me what is wrong...

When the government steps in and breaks up a monopoly all of the sudden we see growth and competition then consolidation kicks in again and we see higher prices and less growth.

I don't blame liberals for the suffocating growth of government because I realize that business interests benefitted more from a larger government and I doubt that as citizens we have enough control any longer to make a difference...

August 25, 2009 at 1:28 PM
TAO said...

Con Gen,

First off lets separate one thing, healthcare system from insurance. Our healthcare system provides medical services while insurance just pays the bills.

Yet, if you actually look at insurance, as it stands today, they are the broken cog in the system. If you look at a single payer system or if you look at the Swiss System, which I think is ideal, then you can come to a better understanding of what makes our 'system' so dysfunctional (shouldn't we call a dysfunctional system a non-system?)

If you start with the anti-government bias then you have no choice but to defend insurance companies and you are throwing out a whole bunch of possible solutions.

This bias also means that politically you have to be against medicad and medicare and I have yet to hear one conservative stand up and make that statement.

The reality is government IS the largest healthcare provider in this country. That's a fact and there are a lot of Americans who will NOT let go of their medicare even while protesting the socialization of healthcare.

You cannot claim that tort reform will solve all our problems when at best that might create a savings of $500 million a year and then assume that those savings would automatically be passed onto the consumer.

You cannot claim that government regulations are the cause of all of our issues in the healthcare system because the vast majority of those regulations are state specific not federal regulations (the reason employers opt for self funding healthcare is because federal regulations are less cumbersome than state regulations) and we know how much conservatives hate federal mandates and demand more power to the states...

You can go on and on about free markets and choices but with healthcare most choices are determined by the employer not the consumer and insurance companies are the first ones to gobble each other up limiting whatever choices that existed.

We can go on and on about illegal immigration and the fact that hospitals must treat everyone regardless of their ability to pay but the reality is if we changed the law tonight then we would have riots at the emergency room doors and imagine the lawsuits that would be created and in turn those lawsuits would end up bankrupting our healthcare system.

Healthcare does not fit neatly into the stereotypical 'philosophical' arguments of capitalism vs. socialism and thus is the reason that healthcare is so dysfunctional.

Our first debate should be over whether Healthcare is a right. Then from there we advance to the point of discussing how society can best achieve whatever is decided on the first issue.

Back a few years ago, when we were self funded I had a doctor seeking pre certification for a breast reduction operation on one employee under the pretense that it would "improve her quality of life" (What once had most likely gave her life quality was now nothing more than a burden and a hindrance) of course everyone assumed that the 'quality of life' would throw the decision her way...

Then I asked, "Quality of life....it would seem to me that eye glasses for the seeing impaired and or hearing aids for the hearing impaired would be a logical first step into the area of healthcare as an improver of ones quality of life. Yet no one has ever brought that to my attention. It would seem that sponsoring and paying for smoking cessation and weight reduction therapy would also get a high priority in the area of quality of life...so why is breast reduction all of the sudden a quality of life issue?"

Eventually will will have to deal with this argument over the quality and quantity of life too.

Now, we can focus on the pro government and or anti government issue all day long and healthcare is a national issue that requires a public debate and government is the only vehicle that we have to attempt a public debate. If we are truly seeking answers then we have to throw the public option on the table along with single payer...otherwise we are seeking solutions but rather just political gain.

August 25, 2009 at 6:41 PM
Teresa said...

Big corporations are good unless they are riddled with corruption. Most of the corporations today provide many private sector jobs. Small business owners provide an extensive amount of jobs also. Many big corporations and small businesses are not corrupt but liberals have exploited the corps that have turned corrupt with the promoting the misconception that all of them are corrupt.

GE is a leftist company in bed with liberals. Obama has GE's CEO on a White House board. Obama said that he didn't want to change the game, but that is what he is doing. He is in bed with the pharmaceutical companies and GE. He has proven that he is just a liberal politician that spins the game to favor himself.

August 25, 2009 at 9:53 PM

@ Tao - I really respect you and there are so many little points we agree on, but don't kid yourself into thinking that pro-government bias is in some way superior to anti-government bias. Let's look at your points shall we?

"First off lets separate one thing, healthcare system from insurance. Our healthcare system provides medical services while insurance just pays the bills."

Hey, I'm with you. However, a public option as in HR3200 is just paying bills. A single payer may be either or, however, government is meant to government not run health care. Nor does government have an incentive to run health care efficiently. Government is not a system I want providing medical services. I'm not sure that you are arguing that they do.

"If you start with the anti-government bias then you have no choice but to defend insurance companies and you are throwing out a whole bunch of possible solutions."

I defend insurance and not insurance companies. I don't need to defend insurance companies to defend free markets, I need only point out that the health care market is not in fact free. I think insurance should be decoupled from your job, it should be a long term plan, and should cover major medical problems. If this happened, insurance would be very affordable.

"The reality is government IS the largest healthcare provider in this country. That's a fact and there are a lot of Americans who will NOT let go of their medicare even while protesting the socialization of healthcare."

Who says I want to get rid of it? I don't oppose reforms for how it runs.

"You cannot claim that tort reform will solve all our problems when at best that might create a savings of $500 million a year and then assume that those savings would automatically be passed onto the consumer."

It makes no sense to hate insurance profit, but have no problem with lawyer profit. We are overdue for some reform in this area.

"You cannot claim that government regulations are the cause of all of our issues in the healthcare system because the vast majority of those regulations are state specific not federal regulations (the reason employers opt for self funding healthcare is because federal regulations are less cumbersome than state regulations) and we know how much conservatives hate federal mandates and demand more power to the states..."

I sure can make that argument. Last time I checked, state government is a government.

"You can go on and on about free markets and choices but with healthcare most choices are determined by the employer not the consumer and insurance companies are the first ones to gobble each other up limiting whatever choices that existed."

I've already stated that employer coverage should not be linked to insurance. What is confusing to me is this is a half-hearted argument. You complain that there is no choice, advocate single payer where there is less choice. It's government or the highway.

August 26, 2009 at 10:18 AM

"We can go on and on about illegal immigration and the fact that hospitals must treat everyone regardless of their ability to pay but the reality is if we changed the law tonight then we would have riots at the emergency room doors and imagine the lawsuits that would be created and in turn those lawsuits would end up bankrupting our healthcare system."

Don't know what you mean here. HR3200 is not supposed to cover illegal immagrants.

"Healthcare does not fit neatly into the stereotypical 'philosophical' arguments of capitalism vs. socialism and thus is the reason that healthcare is so dysfunctional."

Go read the definition of socialism, come back and explain how single payer is not socialism :)

"Our first debate should be over whether Healthcare is a right. Then from there we advance to the point of discussing how society can best achieve whatever is decided on the first issue."

Last time I read the bill of rights, I was under the impression that the rights belong to the people and therefore government was hands off. You've invented a right where somehow we don't have a right unless the government runs it. That's a little strange. I'm totally on board with the right to health care, no matter who you are, when you walk into an emergency room or doctor's office you are treated for your illness the same as everyone else. I believe that's still currently in practice. If not, there ought to be a law. Paying for it, is your responsibility.

Thanks for your thoughts Tao, I really do appreciate them. It's a big, huge, and tough topic to debate online. I'm sure we'd come closer to an understanding if we had the opportunity to lay everything out on the table. Admittedly, I've not looked into the Swiss system, but you've peaked my interest.

@Teresa - Absolutely! You are right on!

August 26, 2009 at 10:18 AM
The Law said...

"Big corporations are good unless they are riddled with corruption."

That's kinda the point isn't it. Cgen, you make a great point in saying that you don't oppose big business as much as you oppose non-competition. However, the way big business becomes big business is by knocking out the competition! And to do that, they tend to engage in unsavory business practices. Ironic, ain't it?

I can't think of one example of any big businesses with a ton of competiors. Microsoft only has Apple (linux is free and still a teeny weeny fraction of the market share). Pizza hut has Dominoes and maaaybe Papa Johns. Intel has AMD. Google has Yahoo and Microsoft. All of these companies, and I mean ALL (including my beloved Google) has done or has been accused of doing some questionable things to get to the top of the totem pole. Thus, I see big business as being synomous with corruption. The question is to what degree are they corrupt, and how does their corruptness affect Americans? Mid-level and small business have far less corruption because their are far too many competitors. Take chinese food, a small business. There are 9 restaurants within a 5 mile radius. One of them used cats for their meat (luckily, NOT the one I go to) and when it was discovered, the hit to their repuation was so bad they went out of business (even though the health inspector gave them an opportunity to fix their act). In big business, companies have PR firms and the best lawyers money can buy to smooth over their image (ie. Walmart).

I have NO issues with business in general, and neither does Obama. Of course you can point out one relationship that Obama has with GE, but I think it is unfair to say liberals hate corporations, as much as we hate how corporations use us to further their financial gain. At least when Google does it, I get really cool and useful products for free out of it!

August 30, 2009 at 5:30 PM
TAO said...

The trouble with ideology is that it blinds you to the facts...

Want to look at relationships then why just focus on GE and Obama? Why not focus on Halliburton and the Bush Administration? What the real issue for conservatives and liberals alike is the relationship between our political system and our economic system.

I have a real issue with our Treasury Secretaries always coming from Goldman Sachs. But then again I am a Main Street guy not a Wall Street guy and I will admit that my ideology distorts what I see.

What passes for Conservatives today love to believe that they are the champions of capitalism and free markets but I would ask if capitalism and free markets exist in a world where corporations are so big and so dominant. If you look at The Law's examples do Microsoft and Apple truly compete or co exist? Intel and AMD compete or co exist?

Look at insurance companies, especially health insurers...do they compete or co exist?

August 31, 2009 at 9:34 AM

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