Low-wage corporate exploiters dressed as mom & pop

When corporate lobbyists and the congress critters they control attack efforts to raise the minimum wage to at least a bare level of human decency, they always try to cast the issue as an intolerable squeeze on struggling mom & pop stores. But wait – what are those growling gorillas doing behind mom & pop’s cash register?
Why they’re multibillion-dollar, brand-name chains. These corporate behemoths – not mom & pop – are the chief exploiters of millions of low-wage American workers. They’re rank profiteers, constantly lobbying in Congress, states, and cities to hold down working families, even as they wallow in record profits and shell out exorbitant, multimillion-dollar paychecks to their top executives.
When the people of Seattle recently agreed to raise the minimum pay in their city to $15 an hour, an outfit called the International Franchise Association wept crocodile tears for local small business owners, pledging to sue the city to overturn the “unfair” wage law. Don’t look now, but IAF is not local and does not represent mom & pop. It’s a Washington, DC, lobbying consortium made up of franchised corporate chains intent on keeping America’s wage floor beneath the poverty level.
The chairman of IAF’s executive committee is a McDonald’s executive. Its board of directors sparkles with a who’s who of superwealthy corporations, including Coca Cola, Marriott Hotels, Dunkin Donuts, Pepsi Food Services, and Taco Bell. Excuse me if I don’t weep over the “tragedy” of them finally being made to pay honest wages.
While our thoroughly-corporatized Congress continues to side with such low-wage exploiters, cities and states across the country are standing up for America’s workaday majority and the common good. Paying a fair wage is not a matter of corporate accounting, but a measure of our wealthy society’s moral character.

“Seattle council passes $15 minimum wage ordinance,” www.foxnews.com, June 3, 2015.
“Introducing the 2014 IFA Executive Committee And Board of Directors,” www.franchise.org, 2014.

When no news is bad news

If a tree falls in the woods and NBC, ABC, and CBS aren’t there to cover the crash, does it make a sound?
Not necessarily. For example, consider some very big news from the Federal Communications Commission, which recently proposed to let a handful of monopolistic internet service providers do away with the core democratic principle of “net neutrality” – the idea that everyone, big or small, has an equal opportunity to put their material on the internet. Axing this egalitarian principle has long been the goal of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and the few other ISPs that control the wires bringing high-speed internet service into our homes. A two-lane system would let them collect big bucks from corporations wanting to rush their materials onto our screens ahead of everyone else, relegating us to the the slow lane traffic jam.
The FCC’s giveaway of our democratic internet to plutocratic profiteers was a front-page story everywhere. Well, everywhere except on NBC, ABC, and CBS. Curiously, the big three made no mention on their nightly news shows of this momentous and outrageous power play.
Why were they silent? Follow the money. NBC is owned by Comcast, which would reap a fortune by selling fast-lane access, so the conglomerate doesn’t want its news arm notifying the public and stirring up opposition to the FCC action. ABC is owned by Disney, which is eager to purchase preferential passage for all of its many internet offerings. Likewise, CBS owns “Showtime” and multiple sports networks that want to push their internet programming ahead of smaller competitors.
By not even covering the attempt to destroy net neutrality, these conglomerates reveal what we can expect to get as “news” if they are allowed to control internet content. To help stop them, go to www.freepress.net.

“The Dirty Secret Behind Rep. Latta’s Anti-Net Neutrality Bill,” www.huffingtonpost.com, May 31, 2014.