|In the early 1930s, the Court trumped New Deal legislation with “freedom of contract”—the presumed right of people to make whatever deals they want unencumbered by federal regulations. Eventually (perhaps influenced by FDR’s threat to expand the Court and pack it with his own appointees) the Court relented.
But the conservative mind has never incorporated economic power into its understanding of freedom. Conservatives still champion “free enterprise” and equate the so-called “free market” with liberty. To them, government “intrusions” on the market threaten freedom.
Here’s where the reality of power comes in. It’s one thing if these laws and rules are shaped democratically, reflecting the values and preferences of most people.
Antitrust laws designed to constrain monopolies have been eviscerated. Competition among Internet service providers, for example, is rapidly disappearing—resulting in higher prices than in any other rich country. Companies are being allowed to prolong patents and trademarks, keeping drug prices higher here than in Canada or Europe.
The value of real property (the major asset of the middle class) is taxed annually, but not the value of stocks and bonds (where the rich park most of their wealth).
The minimum wage is steadily losing value, while CEO pay is in the stratosphere. Under U.S. law, shareholders have only an “advisory” role in determining what CEOs rake in.
I could go on, but you get the point. […]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013—CWA's Larry Cohen: 'This is not democracy!'
|In a number of actions across the country today, working families and activists will be telling the Senate it's time to confirm the five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board that Republicans have been obstructing. Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, writes about what's at stake if the NLRB positions aren't filled, and the Board is shut down.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Belgium sucks. Greg Dworkin says that's an anecdote, not data. We didn't overlook either of the top two "most overlooked races." And nobody's quite ready to look past Hobby Lobby. Joan McCarter joins us in pondering WTF about Belgium. Hobby Lobby won't be the last birth control case, nor the end of the War on Women. O'Reilly's in-house stalker baits "Beyoncé Voters." The White House issues report on Medicaid expansion. Target comes up with a gun policy. Open carry protesters say they'll ignore it. Day One of GA's "guns everywhere" law brings us a draw-down between two open carriers. Gun "success" story is underwhelming.