Take much, add little

It was a refreshing week to hear two men, an entertainer and a politician, actually go after the people who sit in the middle, adding little or no value, yet take the lion’s share of wealth.
First was country singer, Garth Brooks and his reason for giving nine concerts in Edmonton.  It’s his way of scamming the scammers.
Brooks understands that if the supply of tickets exceeds the demand, scalpers cannot make egregious profits on re-sale.
He would rather have some empty seats than have himself or his fans exploited by middleman leeches.
The reason the world economy collapsed in 2008 was under the same circumstances. With weak regulations, Canada being the exception, investment companies and banks were free to create and trade nonsense financial instruments based on mortgages with zero value.
The Wall Street billionaires made billions buying and selling these fake instruments. The big losers were working and middle class people who lost their homes and savings.
The other loser was government and taxpayers which unfortunately are one and the same.
Ticket scalpers and investment bankers/stock traders have a lot in common, greedy guys in the middle who take much and add little.
The second man to impress was our own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau in his speech to leading business people in Europe.
He chastised them, in a politically correct way, for their part in creating the environment whereby middle class workers are feeling angry, scared and left behind.
He reminded corporations that as they announce huge profits and compensation for their executives, workers are being asked to take reduced pay and part-time positions. He also reminded them of their responsibility to the communities in which they operate.
Multi-national corporations have a lot in common with scalpers. Controlled by a very small group of powerful insiders who are getting richer and richer (the one percent of the one per cent), they give and take away jobs at a drop of a hat.
They don’t commit to communities but rather pick up and move to areas where they are much more able to exploit labour and the environment.
They move head offices to shelter paying taxes so they do not have to pay their fair share towards government infrastructure and services in jurisdictions where they operate.
They stockpile billions of dollars in off-shore bank accounts, much of it accumulated through low corporate taxes or tax avoidance.
The five big tech companies in the United States (Apple, Google, Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle) are sitting on over $500 billion and have been for years.
How does that produce jobs and grow the economy?  How much better the $500 billion would be in the hands of governments to fund infrastructure and create jobs.
Protectionism has never worked, but the first rounds of globalization haven’t been that successful either.
The biggest problem was allowing corporations the power to call the shots.
Corporations regularly sued governments and won when elected government enacted policies that were for the public good yet had the potential to affect corporate profits.
The provision allowing corporations to sue sovereign governments because it affected their profits was simply inane.
Raising money to expand a business and create jobs is a very small part of the stock market today.  It’s all about billionaire owners of private corporations cashing out or simply white collar gambling, much of it using middle class money.
So with billionaires taking over the White House and promising to deregulate the banking/investment industry, lower corporate taxes and eliminate environmental regulations, the stock markets are booming. But the U.S. will be setting itself and the world up for a repeat of 2008.
The fundamentals behind the market collapse haven’t changed.
If you have come to accept the alternate truth that our democratic government is the enemy, guaranteed you will have good reason to be angrier yet when the erosion of middle class jobs and incomes continue on a downward spiral.
If you really think the one per cent of the one per cent billionaires care about you, well good luck with that one as well.
Mistrust of your democratic governments and mainstream media (freedom of speech) are the two great propaganda lies of this century.
Much closer to the truth is that the middle class has seen no demonstrative increase in their standard of living since the 1980s because there are a small percentage of powerful rich guys in the middle that take much and add little.

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