Over the past five months or so, I’ve been talking to OPSEU members about corporations – what they are, and what they stand for. One question I’ve been asking is, “Who has more power, corporations or governments?”
Nobody ever says governments. Not these days.
At one time, democratic governments were the driving force in society. Voters pushed politicians to build things – things like Medicare, community colleges, and safe, modern highways. We pushed for health and safety laws and pensions and better lives for vulnerable people.
We pushed, and we got results. But these days, corporations and their millionaire CEOs call the shots.
They can pay hundreds of dollars a plate at fundraising dinners to keep politicians beholden. They can offer them the promise of a richer lifestyle after politics. They can bamboozle them with their think tanks and talk radio.
When they control politicians, corporations get what they want. And what they want most of all is money. Buckets of it. Barrels of it. Billions of it.
Here at home, Dalton McGuinty’s tax cuts for corporations will top $8 billion a year when fully phased in. Just one of these, the corporate income tax cut, will cost $2.4 billion a year.
That’s a big number. It works out to $500 for each of the 4.8 million households in Ontario.
But why should Ontarians pay, either in cash or in lost public services? The idea that those tax cuts will create jobs and prosperity is a myth spread by the same people who get the money. These tax cuts are no strings attached. Job creation by the corporations who receive them is strictly voluntary.
It’s time Ontarians said “Enough is Enough” to corporate power. It’s time we took government back from the corporations.
It’ll be a battle, but somebody’s got to fight it. It might as well be us.
Starting today, OPSEU is launching a new campaign that is unlike anything we’ve ever done. It has YouTube videos, community advertising, and even a contest where you can win $500. The campaign is called “People for Corporate Tax Cuts,” and yes, it does use satire to make a point.
We want this campaign to “go viral,” as people younger than I am like to say. The only way that can happen is if you want it to. When you find something you like, e-mail a link to your friends, put it on your Facebook page, and talk it up.
You just might make our democracy stronger.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President
Ontario Public Service Employees Union