Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Do we need a political revolution?

From Robert Reich
Richmond, CA ·

The American economy is becoming more concentrated in the hands of a few giant companies that are dramatically increasing their market power and political power-- especially in telecommunications, high-tech, health insurance, finance, aerospace, and food processing.

Meanwhile, workers continue to lose their aggregate power, as labor union membership continues to slide (35% of private-sector workers were unionized forty years ago, now fewer than 7% are).

Politicians on both sides of the aisle have abetted this power shift by cutting antitrust enforcement while failing to reform labor laws. And Republican members of the Supreme Court are fueling this power shift by giving corporations First Amendment rights, making it more difficult to mount class actions, and enabling corporations to use shareholder funds for political purposes while making it harder for unions to use member funds for political purposes (the Court now seems ready to proclaim such dues collections unconstitutional).

All of which helps explain why corporate profits now constitute the highest share of the total economy since 1929, and wages the lowest share -- which, if you recall 1929, wasn’t such a good thing for the economy because corporations can’t thrive without customers.

Politics and economics can't be separated. I think we need a political revolution.

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