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Sacrificing People to Corporate Profit

While millions of workaday families have lost jobs, income and their future financial security, corporate bosses and billionaires are surreptitiously building new channels into the system for looting an even greater share of America's wealth.

It's the corporate version of the old political adage "Never let a big crisis go to waste."(Photo: Austin Kirk/flickr/cc)

It's the corporate version of the old political adage "Never let a big crisis go to waste."(Photo: Austin Kirk/flickr/cc)

I think I've figured out the real reason President Donald Trump refuses to wear a coronavirus mask: He realizes that we'd all recognize him as the masked robber who has been moving furtively behind the scenes during the pandemic to rig the rules against workaday folks in order to further enrich corporate elites.

With media attention riveted by COVID-19 body counts and political flare-ups over mask wearing, Trump & Co. have felt free to monkey-wrench labor laws, dynamite environmental regulations, jiggle open the locks on corporate profiteering, manipulate the tax code and generally burglarize our people's commitment to the Common Good. It's like Robin Hood and his Merry Band — only in reverse, stealing from the many to give more to the rich few.

They've even quietly filched the bulk of the government's multitrillion-dollar pandemic recovery program, twisting it so severely that it is dramatically increasing wealth inequality. While you might have received a one-time $1,200 relief check from Washington, major corporations have actually been given the keys to the Federal Reserve's money-printing machine, funneling a long-term giveaway of hundreds of billions of dollars to them.

Also, corporate interests are pocketing untold amounts from several little-reported grant programs and tax breaks discreetly created just for them. For example, mysteriously tucked into Trump's first rescue package was a $135 billion tax giveaway, specifically designed for such hucksters as giant real estate developers. Like whom? Well, Trump himself and son-in-law Jared Kushner appear to qualify. Just lucky, I guess. Adding to the peculiarity, this handout has nothing to do with helping America recover economically from the pandemic. Rather, it provides retroactive tax breaks on deals developers cut long before this year's COVID crash.

So, while millions of workaday families have lost jobs, income and their future financial security, corporate bosses and billionaires are surreptitiously building new channels into the system for looting an even greater share of America's wealth. It's the corporate version of the old political adage "Never let a big crisis go to waste."

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As directed by their big-business funders, top Republican officeholders across the country have been defying public health experts in past weeks to rush America's workers back to their jobs. But — oops! — the microscopic COVID-19 turns out to be stronger than Trump, the governors and all the CEOs combined, so their impetuous back-to-work commands have caused the crisis to surge again, hospitalizing and killing thousands more Americans.

What to do now? Why, of course, get Congress to protect them! Uh ... not workers and customers but corporate profits. Thus, the White House, such congressional sleazes as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and the whole army of Gucci-wearing corporate lobbyists are pushing furiously to pass a law decreeing that corporations cannot be held liable for their profit-driven actions and negligence that sicken and kill untold numbers of Americans.

Crying crocodile tears for those giants guilty of intentionally endangering the public, Larry Kudlow, Trump's corporate-hugging economic adviser, wailed: "You've got to give the businesses some confidence here that if something happens ... you can't take them out of business. You can't throw big lawsuits at them." Gosh, Larry, thanks for your little moral lecture, but what about giving workers and our society some confidence that "if something happens," you can't take away their basic human right to pursue justice?

Besides, why shouldn't We the People hold these economic powerhouses legally accountable? If you preemptively give a blanket pardon to corporate entities that cause deadly harm, you'll give direct financial incentive to executives to forego investing in protective measures for workers and public health. Indeed, the very fact they're insisting that the law must shield them from people who get hurt is an admission that they know the rush to restart their profit machine will sicken and kill others.

That's not just greedy. It's inhumane.

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

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