Even by the anything-goes ethical code of the corporate jungle, Amazon.com’s alpha male, Jeff Bezos, is considered a ruthless predator by businesses that deal with him. As overlord of Amazon, by far the largest online marketer in the world (with more sales than the next nine US online retailers combined), Bezos has the monopoly power to stalk, weaken, and even kill off retail competitors—going after such giants as Barnes & Noble and Walmart and draining the lifeblood from hundreds of smaller Main Street shops. He also goes for the throats of both large and small businesses that supply the millions of products his online behemoth sells. They’re lured into Amazon by its unparalleled database of some 200 million customers, but once in, they face unrelenting pressure to lower what they charge Amazon for their products, compelled by the company to give it much better deals than other retailers can extract.
So we all know that the likes of Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon are killing Main Street businesses, right? It’s certainly partly true. Those retailing behemoths have devastated a lot of communities across the country, and they’re still growing.
If you’ve been following GOP debates lately, you’ve heard that Wall Street businesses are the real “job creators” of our economy, and that the best way to put Americans back to work is to remove all the troublesome fetters—like environmental and safety regulations, or taxes, or unionization rightsfor workers—that hold them back.
Wall Street waged war on the American economy and middle class with its reckless gambling.
From Maine to California, nurses have launched a campaign for a new direction for America to reverse the disastrous course of policies that demand ever more hardship for Main Street, while giving more tax breaks and special favors to Wall Street.
The new consensus among the experts who missed the housing bubble (EMHB) is that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's plan to subsidize the purchase of junk mortgages and their derivatives will help alleviate the stress on the banking system. That's good news.
When Barack Obama traveled to Elkhart, Indiana, to push his $800 billion economic recovery package two weeks ago, he made the former "RV capital of the world" a poster-child for the current economic crisis. Over the last year, as the British paper The Independent reported, "Practically the entire [recreational vehicle] industry has disappeared," leaving thousands of RV workers in Elkhart and the surrounding area out of work. As Daily Show host Jon Stewart summed the situation up: "Imagine your main industry combines the slowdown of the auto market with the plunging values in the housing sector." Unfortunately, the pain in Elkhart is no joke, and it only grew worse recently when local manufacturers Keystone RV Co. and Jayco Inc. announced more than 500 additional job cuts.
The free markets are completely discredited. There is significant political space to build a broad consensus for a 21st-Century New Deal that would stop spending our tax dollars on war and Wall Street, and instead help struggling homeowners and build affordable housing; fund job-creating projects for clean energy and rebuilding our infrastructure; and fund a universal health-care system that would help American families, while cutting the nation's long-term healthcare costs.
Bail out Main Street, not Wall Street!
And support the Next New Deal.
While government leaders worked behind closed doors to solve the bailout crisis, groups of concerned citizens took to the streets to express their anger and frustration. While some felt their voices would be heard, others felt helpless and lost.
While lawmakers negotiate on Capitol Hill over the $700 billion-taxpayer bailout for banks and lenders on Wall Street, the foreclosure machine continues to crush homeowners caught in the mortgage crisis. Beyond the politics of Washington, one thing seems clear to many homeowners on the verge of foreclosure, there is no significant relief in sight from the government or Wall Street.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's appearance on a special Meet the Bloggers yesterday proved two things: not only can politicians work together to fix one of the worst economic crises in our nation's history, but they can do this while continuing to speak to the American people, keeping us informed about what's happening in the halls of Congress.
Unlike Senator John McCain, who suspended his campaign and public appearances yesterday because he claimed Washington couldn't fix this financial crisis without his "economic expertise," Speaker Pelosi spoke candidly with show host Cenk Uygur about whether the Bush-Paulson bailout plan would work. Though Speaker Pelosi stressed the need for a bipartisan solution to solve the current crisis, she said the "party is over" for Republicans like McCain who have pushed for the deregulation that led to this mess in the first place. Speaker Pelosi called the expansive power for Treasury Secretary Paulson laid out by the bailout plan "almost laughable"; she questioned the price tag and time frame of the bailout; and she claimed President Bush ought to give the American people an apology for his bankrupt economic policies during his nationally televised speech last night.
McCain, meanwhile, was busy incurring the mocking wrath of David Letterman for canceling his appearance on "The Late Show" yesterday, only to appear in an interview with CBS's Katie Couric instead. (Perhaps McCain could have continued conducting interviews from Washington via the Internet like Pelosi, if only he knew how to use it!) McCain's "suspension" of his campaign was a cheap political ploy, clearly aimed at preventing him from slipping further in the polls because of a crisis he and his aides like Rick Davis and Phil Gramm helped create. Why else would he suddenly be so inclined to show up in Congress when he has been the most absent member of the Senate?