I suspect many Californians are pretty partied-out at this point. While celebrations are an important part of the joy and excitement of human interaction, they are also a significant part of the political landscape as well. But for our Governor, there is nothing like excess—and he has called upon his big campaign supporters to help him throw a glitzy Hollywood-type kitsch event that is second to none. You know, the big dollars so that the Great Diva of the ’80’s Donna Summers can blast out such memorable tunes as “Worked Hard for the Money”, clearly a reference to our Governor’s unabashed fundraising from the big businesses whose bidding he has done and will continue to do in Sacramento.
Clearly this Inaugural celebration is a chance for the corporate world to thank the Governor for his consistent support of their respective special interest needs (profit, of course is the common denominator for all of them).
It doesn’t matter that the people suffer, so long as special interests like the California Chamber of Commerce, (which is comprised of many of the state’s largest corporations –oil and tobacco, the auto industry and insurance industry, for example) are happy and protected.
Time to party big, with lots of glitter, Terminator-like grins and photos with those big-wigs who are avoiding campaign limits requirements by shelling out big dollars ($50,000 and up) to make sure the Gov. knows just how his bread is buttered. For those of us committed to seeing the people’s interests supercede big business’ greed in setting policy in how our state is run, the Governor has been shameless and totally blatant about where his loyalties lie–with the corporate interests that have contributed almost $200 million to his numerous committees and activities. He claims that because he’s so rich, he can’t be bought. But the reality proves to the contrary.
The Governor is now calling upon these very same deep pockets (the ones whose money he doesn’t need) to put on his in-your-face Inaugural love-fest and they are responding accordingly. Over $1.4 million to date has been raised for this merger of corporate pay-back and Hollywood opulence. But this is chump change for the big business community that has relied upon Schwarzenegger to veto bills they don’t like—that might hold them to some level of corporate responsibility.
There are multiple examples, but a couple outrageous ones come immediately to mind that will result in hundreds of millions of dollars of savings to corporations so they don’t have to pay up when they are caught misbehaving. Keeping in line with his big contributors interests, Schwarzenegger deep-sixed a bill that would have forced corporations to provide shareholders with the same information they present to the IRS and state Franchise Tax Board. The bill, appropriately enough was titled “the Honest Corporate Reporting Act”. The notion seems absolutely reasonable. As taxpayers, we don’t get to submit different sets of tax records depending on what serves us best. Why should corporate America be able to submit one set of books designed to drive up their stock prices while sending a different set of books to the taxing authority? Well, the big corporate interests didn’t like the idea of being legally bound to provide one set of books. They didn’t like it, so Arnold vetoed it.
Another bill that seems only fair and reasonable would have allowed a judge to order businesses found liable for illegal pollution, unlawful discrimination (such as in employment) or defrauding shareholders or consumers to pay the attorneys fees and costs incurred by the Attorney General of California in prosecuting ( and winning) on behalf of the people of the state. After promising to sign such a measure if watered down (and it was), Arnold’s big corporate backers and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, in particular, had a hissy fit. What to do? For our governor, the answer was easy. Reneging on his promise, (not the first time) he vetoed the bill, giving his corporate buddies relief from their anxiety at having to actually pay up when they are caught, for example, dumping carcinogens in our drinking water.
There are so many other examples that it would take way-too-long to recite.More importantly, it would raise my hackles too early in the new year. Suffice it to say, it’s payback time for California’s corporate bigwigs. Arnold wants to party—and what a party it will be. After all, as Donna Summers says, “He’s worked hard for the money”