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Looking For A Hand

CBS News reports that Safety Board Head Under Fire Over Recalls

(CBS/AP) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called for the resignation of the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission following the recall of millions of Chinese-made toys.

Pelosi says it’s clear that Nancy Nord, the acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation, because she opposes legislation now before Congress that would double the agency’s budget over the next seven years to more than $141 million a year, reports CBS News correspondent Chip Reid.

Repubs oppose all forms of regulation and they really oppose punishing campaign contributors corporations. They don’t want to find out that corporations are defrauding customers, and they really don’t want the guilty punished. They want “the invisible hand” of the market to control things. Repubs believe in a lot of invisible things.


1 whig { 10.31.07 at 1:50 am }

The invisible hand of the people is ready to do some business.

2 Cookie Jill { 10.31.07 at 1:54 am }

I’m really t’d off at ALL these politicos on the lead issue. Where the hell were they when scientists were finding that lead paint in low income housing was affecting kids and their ability to learn?

It was only deemed dangerous when lead started “infecting” white middle class kids.

3 Bryan { 10.31.07 at 1:11 pm }

I hope so, Whig, but I’m not seeing it yet. There are still too many DLC/Blue Dogs running around.

Jill, if those kids had had health care, it would have been discovered. Without health care, no one knew what was going on. The middle class kids went to doctors and it was discovered.

4 whig { 10.31.07 at 4:50 pm }

Bryan, you mean Vichy Dems?

5 Bryan { 10.31.07 at 10:02 pm }

Comparing them to the Vichy government gives them too much credit. They are Democrats in name only, they are Repub right-wingers in all but name.

6 Steve Bates { 11.01.07 at 12:09 am }

The famous labor cartoonists Gary Huck and Mike Konopacki (google them, or use my blogroll) once published a cartoon captioned something like, “Why the Invisible Hand prefers to remain invisible.” Of course, it contained a ghostly outline of a hand with the middle finger raised. And so it is. Democracy and capitalism per se are not intrinsically incompatible, but democracy and corporatism, specifically the notion of corporate personhood in the political arena, are inimical to each other. We can have one or the other, but not both.

IMHO, Blue Dogs and DLCers are, by old-fashioned Democratic standards, Democrats in name only. If you don’t like that assertion, you can, um, well, you can read my blog and comment on it. Good luck in persuading me otherwise.

7 Bryan { 11.01.07 at 12:15 am }

Corporations and capitalism, as I have said repeatedly, are fundamentally incompatible. Risk is the invisible hand, in as much as it exists, and the purpose of a corporation is to limit risk.

8 whig { 11.01.07 at 2:50 am }

What is capitalism, anyhow? We seem to have transmogrified the word beyond any definition that I know. Is it a system in which everything is capital, money is capital, land is treated as capital, and even workers are called human capital?

9 Bryan { 11.01.07 at 3:43 pm }

Actually, capital is anything of value risked to make a profit. Workers aren’t capital, but slaves were.

10 whig { 11.01.07 at 8:11 pm }

That’s not the classical definition of capital, Bryan, but now I know what your meaning is. You believe in risk investment capitalism, entrepreneurial capitalism perhaps.

11 whig { 11.01.07 at 8:14 pm }

Of course what we have in America, corporatism, is something else again.

12 Bryan { 11.01.07 at 9:59 pm }

Corporations are leeches on the market. They want to suck out the profits without paying for their errors.

13 whig { 11.02.07 at 12:30 am }

You’re absolutely right, they have limited liability and unlimited profitability. That’s a recipe for disaster.

14 whig { 11.02.07 at 12:32 am }

The original purpose of a corporation was sound, to create a body of men (women weren’t in the work force) that could complete a project, like a bridge, with limited liability for public purposes.

15 Bryan { 11.02.07 at 12:49 am }

The limit to risk has to be balanced by something, which was at one time a level of regulation, but that is gone. In the courts you can’t win an award that would bankrupt a corporation, like you can an individual. That isn’t right, that isn’t a level playing field.

Then they were awarded, in passing I might add, status as a person with all of the rights of a person, but none of the responsibilities. It’s just wrong.

16 whig { 11.02.07 at 4:50 am }

Corporations ought not to be treated as persons, but firms. A firm can be made up of general partners and limited partners, the latter may be investors whose liability is protected by insurance. If we don’t want to create a new monster insurance corporation, this can be a public insurance which provides for audits.

Somewhere awhile back I proposed a constitutional amendment to deal with this. I don’t know how good it was, or whether it would be easier to redraft than find it. Anyhow, do you think that’s a fruitful way to go and how would you deal with the American East India Company?

17 Bryan { 11.02.07 at 11:23 am }

If it can’t be financed without limiting liability, maybe it isn’t worth doing. I wouldn’t deal with an American East India Company, I wouldn’t offer protections or guarantees to any business beyond copyright and patent protection.

Lloyds of London seems to be able to prosper without any limit on liability, let the rest of the “business” world try it.

18 whig { 11.02.07 at 11:58 pm }

I think I was being too clever. The American East India Company was a metaphor for what we are facing, the American revolution was made principally against the British East India Company:

Although schoolchildren are usually taught that the American Revolution was a rebellion against “taxation without representation,” akin to modern day conservative taxpayer revolts, in fact what led to the revolution was rage against a transnational corporation that, by the 1760s, dominated trade from China to India to the Caribbean, and controlled nearly all commerce to and from North America, with subsidies and special dispensation from the British crown. Hewes notes: “The [East India] Company received permission to transport tea, free of all duty, from Great Britain to America…” allowing it to wipe out New England–based tea wholesalers and mom-and-pop stores and take over the tea business in all of America.[1]

19 Bryan { 11.03.07 at 12:34 am }

I knew what you were talking about and I see no reason to allow it. These practices are essentially the reason for the current problems with Iran – colonies are “mined” for raw materials and forced to buy back the finished products.

That was a major reason for the involvement of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts in the Revolution, their small manufacturers were not allowed to compete with crown chartered companies. That is also a prime reason there were no chartered companies mentioned in the Constitution.

Corporations are extensions of crown chartered companies. They are “privileged” in transactions, and aren’t required to play by the same rules. A lot of people incorporate small businesses because of all of the benefits that the government bestows on corporations and withholds from other companies.

If someone wishes to sell shares in their company, that is their choice, but that choice should not entitle them to special favors. They should still be subject to the same risks as any other business.

20 whig { 11.03.07 at 3:59 am }

I agree with you, Bryan.

21 whig { 11.03.07 at 4:02 am }

I had to allow a corporation to be created for me at one time in order to get medical insurance. I made sure I was not an officer or shareholder. I have owned shares in public traded corporations, and I have worked for corporations. I deal with them as necessities, but not such as would be needed if the economic system were otherwise.

22 Bryan { 11.03.07 at 2:48 pm }

That’s the point, Whig – you couldn’t get health insurance as an individual, but they had to give it to you as a corporation. That is just flat wrong.

23 whig { 11.03.07 at 9:59 pm }

Yes, Bryan, that’s true.