I stayed away from stores on Black Friday, partially out of a sense of ethical obligation to not support rampant consumerism, and partially because I can't afford it right now. Then, this morning I open up Facebook and see articles about how the banks and the big corporations are doing everything they can to stop Elizabeth Warren from getting on any financial committees because she's definitely going to put a crimp in their abuses of the system (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...). I see articles about how Wal-Mart is planning a 180-million-dollar tax dodge (http://www.dailykos.com/...). I see articles about Fox News mocking those who are on food stamps (http://samuel-warde.com/...) and a note that Wal-Mart makes over 1.5 billion dollars off of the American public by not paying their employees enough to get out of the range of needing them (https://www.facebook.com/...). And you know what? It disgusts me that banks and big corporations have so much power and think that they can do these things without penalty.
I think an adaptation of a Grover Norquist quote is appropriate, here: "I'm not in favor of abolishing the banks or the corporations. I just want to shrink them down to the size where we can drown them in the bathtub." And, may I add, keep them under control with the threat of being so drowned.
I also want to note that I am not talking about small businesses. I'm not talking about the single mom-and-pop store that you run and that your parents ran in a single storefront. Those are not the problem. But the Republican Party (and all of its whackjob offshoots like the Tea Party) has gone on too long pretending that all businesses are small businesses. Sorry, but no. A mom-and-pop in a single building or a storefront? That's a small business. But if your business has seven or eight branches in five or six different cities and you are making a profit (beyond costs) of over a million dollars, that's the point (or at least it should be) at which you no longer qualify for the name "small business."
Wal-Mart is not a small business. Chase and Wells Fargo are not small businesses. We need to educate the public about what "small business" really is, and point out that the people advocating for small businesses are actually doing their best to kill small businesses under the juggernaut of rampant corporatism. And frankly, it's time for us to start calling our senators and representatives, advocating for the breakup of these big groups under antitrust laws and bringing them under control, the same as Ma Bell was brought under control in the seventies, when I was a kid.
When a corporation does its best to make sure that all its employees have no choice but to buy from the company store, that's a problem for me. Wal-Mart has done that very effectively. When banks are no longer honest lenders to members of their community but usurious shysters who sell off the loans to the highest bidder with exorbitant interest rates, that's a problem for me. ALL the big banks have done this over the last ten or twenty years. (And I think the main solution for that is simple: if you originate a loan, you must hold the loan until the end of its term; you may not sell it off.)
Too big to fail is too big to be acceptable. It's time to fell these juggernauts.