The Austin Chronicle

The Hightower Report

By Jim Hightower, May 29, 2009, News

Take the Tax Money and Run

Have corporate chieftains become deaf, blind, and stupid – or are they just stupid?

Check out IBM, the computer giant that once prided itself on treating its employees right. These days though, workers for Big Blue, as it is called, are being pounded black and blue by IBM's relentless policy of downsizing and offshoring its American work force. Less that 30% of the corporation's employees now live and work in our country, and IBM continues to move more American jobs to low-wage nations.

Presently, the corporation is chopping some 5,000 more jobs in New York state – apparently sending the work abroad. IBM seems blind to the injury this causes in its own community. But injury turned to insult when the community learned that the company took $45 million from state taxpayers just last summer in exchange for a promise to keep jobs in New York. This double cross caused an uproar, but the company's top executives are tone deaf to public sentiment. In March, they heaped more insult on the American people – at the same time they were lobbying to get a chunk of federal stimulus money from us taxpayers, they submitted a patent application on a new computer system designed to help corporations send more American jobs overseas.

Could they possibly get any more stupid? Yes! IBM is now offering new job opportunities for workers being displaced. The only catch is they have to move to China, Slovakia, India, or wherever their old job was sent. What a deal – you can keep your offshored job, but you have to offshore yourself! Oh – and you also have to work for the low, low, low local wage rate.

Why should our tax dollars finance such stupidity? Rep. John Hall and others are sponsoring House Resolution 1874, the Patriot Corporations of America Act, to support companies that do not abandon our country and our communities. For information, call Hall's office: 202/225-5441.

The Supreme Court Scorecard

Who will win the Belmont Stakes, the U.S. Open, the World Series – or, the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice David Souter?

The establishment media is covering all of these premier "sporting" events with about equal depth, breathlessly speculating on who appears to be up or down, offering a blizzard of statistics and odds, doing profiles of major contenders, and generally feeding the voracious maw of conventional wisdom. While the champions of horse racing, golf, and baseball are important to many of us, let's just say for the sake of sport that perhaps the winner of the Supreme Court seat might have a larger impact on our society. So, shouldn't the coverage of this "competition" be just a bit more informative and probe a little deeper than the obvious?

But, no. The prime-time focus is on whether President Obama will nominate a woman, an African-American, perhaps a Puerto Rican, or maybe even an Asian-American. And, wilder yet, what if he chooses a gay person? The media outlets throb with excitement over this guessing game.

Are there no matters of substance at play in deciding who gets a Supreme Court seat? Well, of course, spew assorted pundits! Abortion rights are in the balance, gay marriage, and other hot-button social issues. Will Obama choose a liberal for the court, a conservative, or a moderate, they ask?

Meanwhile, there's no discussion about the most central role played by Supreme Court justices: expanding or restricting the grasping power that arrogant and avaricious corporations have over all of us. What the court lacks is not social liberals, but populists – judges who will extend economic and political democracy to ordinary folks who are being run over by the corporate powers in our country.

The issue is not what prospective court nominees look like or how “liberal” they are, but what’s in their gut – whose side are they on? Ours, or the corporate powers?

Copyright © 2023 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.