Published on July 14th, 2016 | by Todd Smekens0
Legislative Exchange Council: United States of ALEC
The United States of ALEC
NEWS – Why is it important that we pay attention to what our political leaders are doing?
A quote from Plato, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
Do Corporations Create Jobs?
Well, in this article, I’m not advocating that corporate executives are our inferiors, but what I’m stating is while we are distracted by frivolous matters like Kanye and Kim, Kardashians, Trump, or the latest sporting event, our democracy is getting ripped to shreds by a collusive effort between Corporate America and our public servants (government officials elected to serve us).
Instead of our public officials serving us, they have been wining and dining with corporate executives to underwrite laws and policies which negatively impact every man, woman and child in this country, one state at a time – mainly in 24 states controlled by the Republican Party.
Many will discount this claim by saying, “This is a national issue and business is here to help us grow.”
First off, businesses are in business to make a profit. Period.
They don’t “create jobs”, but hire people when demand for their product or service exceeds existing capacity. I cannot do all the jobs of a specific growing business to meet the demand for my products and services, so I have to hire people to help me grow. Demand for a business’s product or services is what creates jobs.
Since 2009, this economy has demonstrated that consumer demand drives the engine and when the engine to consume is shut down…when consumers don’t have enough monies to cover essentials, then we’ll have a demand problem.
Corporations Invest in Pro-Business Policies
ALEC’s focus has been on enacting state laws which most commonly impact our lives and their bottom line. Corporate executives meet with public policy makers (our elected officials) to discuss laws that businesses want passed. ALEC then writes up a draft of the law to present to our lawmakers. If approved, these “boiler plate laws” are passed from one statehouse to another. These legal templates come with “expert witnesses” with credentials provided by the Koch and ALEC funded “institutions and centers”. These scholars and researchers travel from one state to the next providing “expert testimony” literally paid for by the same folks rigging the game.
For example, many of the “Right to Work” laws passed in Wisconsin were used in Indiana, and then Michigan, etc. They literally copied and pasted the body and added new state names to the top of the document. Different state name, same exact wording equals negative impact to consumer, worker, taxpayer, citizen, etc.
You get the idea.
While we are distracted with the ineptness and dysfunction of our congress in Washington, much of the damage is being done in our state capitols. Some of ALECs corporate members own media companies, so it’s in their best interest to keep it quiet. The other corporate players are advertisers, or produce revenue for media, so you see their motivation for keeping quiet.
The Role of Government is Holding Private Sector Accountable
If large corporations find worker lawsuits a nuisance, they can recommend ALEC draft new laws making it more difficult or expensive for workers to sue employers for discrimination or unemployment benefits. This can be shared with other “pro-business” states like Indiana.
If corporate owned farms have videos taken on their property by “fake employees”, who turn out to be reporters or animal rights activists, which are shared with federal regulators and/or posted on YouTube, this damages their business. Consumers frown on animal abuse – especially when those animals are food they consume later. Make the videos disappear and problem solved, right?
Because an undercover video taken on a CAFO saved contaminated meat from being sold to school kids in CA, the CAFO lost its contract with the State Board of Education. To retaliate, other CAFO owners got ALEC to draft “Ag-Gag Laws” (anti-whistle blower laws) which essentially upgrades the criminal charges of producing hidden videos to acts of terrorism. The term attached are “eco-terrorists”. One such law was attempted in Indiana, but was tabled because its constitutionality came into question. However, it’s passed in more than 14 other states.
Americans are easily distracted by more important topics like sporting events, Pokemon Go, or Hollywood shows. While this occurs, corporate executives are sitting down with republican officials behind closed doors to discuss, write, pass and share pro-business legislation in state capitals throughout the United States, including Indianapolis.
The primary source to learn more about ALEC is the Center for Media Democracy (CMD) and Sourcewatch. There will be a screening of a movie titled, “The United States of ALEC” tomorrow night at the Bracken library.
There is also a planned protest later this month on July 27th at an ALEC event in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Role of Our Press is Holding Government Accountable
As I’ve mentioned many times, folks who read our local newspaper in Muncie/Delaware County, you might like to know that our paper supports the Indiana Policy Network, or ALEC funded state policy organizations. Two local professors at Ball State with known ALEC ties are Cecil Bohanon and Michael Hicks.
According to CMD,
The Indiana Policy Review Foundation hosts writers from the ALEC-connected Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which screens potential reporters on their “free market” views as part of the job application process. The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states. Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias. On its website, the Franklin Center claims it “provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide.”
So, while Gannett newspapers appear objective, they are advocating a non-democratic agenda – free markets at the expense of consumers, workers and our environment. Those who subscribe to their paper or advertise in it, are unwillingly participating in a process which works against Americans.
For a listing of ALEC owned officials in Indiana, please go to Indiana State Legislators.
The current State Chairmen for ALEC are:
The ALEC Indiana Task Force Chairmen are:
- Rep. Brian Bosma (IN R-88), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member and Civil Justice Task Force Member
- Rep. Richard A. Dodge (IN R-51), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member
- Rep. William C. Friend (IN R-23), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member