Friday, December 17, 2010

Robert Borosage on Obama's Love Fest for CEOs: Listening to the Wrong Folks

It's almost as if Robert Borosage wrote his essay at Huffington Post today as a companion piece to Paul Krugman's New York Times op-ed on which I just commented.  Re: Mr. Obama's feel-the-love meeting yesterday with top corporate CEOs, Borosage writes,

You can't fault the president for showing a little love to America's corporate leaders, but there is one small problem here: The entire premise of the meeting is wrong. The reality is that the corporations are doing extraordinarily well -- and America is in trouble. US corporations recorded the highest profits on record last quarter, while more than 20 million people were in need of full-time work, and poverty is at record heights. What is good for General Motors or General Electric or IBM is no longer necessarily good for America. 

And that's precisely my point, when I conclude my commentary on the lesson we ought to have learned in this financial crisis with the observation that our democracy is in serious straits now, due to the ability of big wealth to buy and control the operations of our government.  Ethical analysis always requires that we ask from whose perspective policies are being evaluated, and to serve whose interest they're being put into place.  Judaeo-Christian ethical analysis requires, as a bare minimum, that we begin such ethical analysis by asking--always--what policies do to those on the margins of society.  To the most vulnerable.

It's impossible to sustain a viable democracy without asking such ethical questions.  And without listening first and foremost to those on the margins.

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