These Ogre Companies are Anti-Their-Customers
“Some of America’s largest technology and telecoms companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and AT&T, are backing a network of self-styled “free-market thinktanks” promoting a radical rightwing agenda in states across the nation, according to a new report by a lobbying watchdog. The Center for Media and Democracy asserts that the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella group of 64 thinktanks based in each of the 50 states, is acting as a largely beneath-the-radar lobbying machine for major corporations and rightwing donors. Its policies include cutting taxes, opposing climate change regulations, advocating reductions in labour protections and the minimum wage, privatising education, restricting voter rights and lobbying for the tobacco industry. The network’s $83.2m annual warchest comes from major donors. These include the Koch brothers, the energy tycoons who are a mainstay of Tea Party groups and climate change skeptics; the tobacco company Philip Morris and its parent company Altria Group; the food giant Kraft; and the multinational drugs company GlaxoSmithKline. More surprisingly, backers also include Facebook and Microsoft, as well as the telecoms giants AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon… Gordon Lafer, a professor at the University of Oregon, said that SPN groups were actively targeting the rights of often non-unionised employees. His research had uncovered attempts to expand the use of child labour, cut the minimum wage, reduce unemployment benefit, make it harder to sue employers for sex or race discrimination, or even to police wage theft where companies refused to pay workers over-time or any wages at all. “These are a very dramatic package of proposals at a time of economic hardship, and they are being rolled out in a cookie-cutter fashion from state to state, and affecting the lives of working people across the country.” Lafer added: “This looks like scholarship from local organisations, but in fact it is neither – neither scholarship, nor local.”
Henry Ford believed in paying a fair wage to his workers so they could afford to buy his cars. One does not have to be a Ph.d in Economics to see the sense in this. But apparently not Microsoft, not AT&T, not Facebook, and not so many other companies who have so many smart people running them, companies which support think-tanks that actively and aggressively push for policies designed to crush labor with maximum prejudice. Someone should ask Gates or Zuckerberg this question: who is going to be able to afford buying your crap when SPN, which you economically support, completely has their way?