Marketplace Scratch Pad

What if everyone went on strike?

Scott Jagow Aug 24, 2009

At least one well-known person is calling for every worker in America to shut down the economy for a day and send a message to the government.

That person would be Larry Flynt, of Hustler and First Amendment fame. No matter what you think of Flynt, his column at the Huffington Post is thought-provoking. He writes, “In America, corporations do not control the government. In America, corporations are the government.” More:

The reason Wall Street was able to game the system the way it did — knowing that they would become rich at the expense of the American people (oh, yes, they most certainly knew that) — was because the financial elite had bribed our legislators to roll back the protections enacted after the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

Congress gutted the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial lending banks from investment banks, and passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which allowed for self-regulation with no oversight. The Securities and Exchange Commission subsequently revised its rules to allow for even less oversight — and we’ve all seen how well that worked out. To date, no serious legislation has been offered by the Obama administration to correct these problems.

Instead, Obama wants to increase the oversight power of the Federal Reserve. Never mind that it already had significant oversight power before our most recent economic meltdown, yet failed to take action. Never mind that the Fed is not a government agency but a cartel of private bankers that cannot be held accountable by Washington. Whatever the Fed does with these supposed new oversight powers will be behind closed doors.

Flynt argues the country has always had problems with its bankers. He found this quote:

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation, and then by deflation, the banks and the corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Thomas Jefferson said that.

One of Flynt’s big issues is campaign finance reform. So here’s what he’s proposing:

I’m calling for a national strike, one designed to close the country down for a day. The intent? Real campaign-finance reform and strong restrictions on lobbying. Because nothing will change until we take corporate money out of politics. Nothing will improve until our politicians are once again answerable to their constituents, not the rich and powerful.

Let’s set a date. No one goes to work. No one buys anything. And if that isn’t effective — if the politicians ignore us — we do it again. And again. And again.

Are you in? Why or why not?

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