After the recent confirmation of what many of us already knew about the NSA collecting surveillance on domestic data, I had an idea — why don’t we redirect their efforts to something worthwhile? How about a place where our national economy is in peril every single day, hinging on the ebb and flow of shady transactions and even shadier business people?
The place I’m talking about is, of course, Wall Street.
Enron, Bank of America and the financial collapse of 2007-2008, where was the government then? How about we take the massive juggernaut that is Homeland Security and use it to keep regular Americans from falling prey to shady financial practices, or to keep companies from tanking the economy because they bet against themselves in derivatives trading?
If corporations are indeed people according to Citizen’s United, then it is only fair that they be monitored with the same scrutiny that possible national security threats are. If they want to have the same rights as you or I, then they should have their phone records, emails and so on given the same level of review as any one of us who sets off an alarm for corresponding with someone who may be on a watch list.
Enron, MCI Worldcom and even my old employer Sprint, these are just a few of many companies who had members of management knowingly engage in shady financial practices. Where was the monitoring? Every single time, if the government did get involved, it was only to prosecute after the fact and people like ourselves took the hit in our investments.
I realize that many people gladly offered up their freedoms in exchange for additional security after 9/11. In the rush to make sure something like this would never happen again, we were mostly silent while the Patriot Act was put into place. But never once while we handed over our personal liberties did we ever ask for the same scrutiny to be applied to the corporations who now own us.
Look, I’m not thrilled that my phone and email records can be reviewed at any time by the NSA, but I’ll gladly allow it if the same level of intrusion is applied to corporate America. If they want to have the same rights as the rest of us, then they deserve the same level of monitoring.
But apparently that whole “corporations are people, my friend” Citizen’s United lingo only applies to the good, beneficial aspects of being “people” now, doesn’t it? Funny how that works out.
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