Monday, August 22, 2011

Bank of the United States

In 1833 the Congress of the United States was informed that President Andrew Jackson had removed the US government's deposits in the National Bank because of "the unquestionable proof that the Bank of the United States was converted into a permanent electioneering instrument." 

The issue was "whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgement and control their decisions."

Not unlike today, corporate money exerts such influence over the outcome of political elections and policy making that democracy is threatened at its core.  The debate in 1833 over the re-chartering of the Bank of the United States was no less controversial or pointed.  

"Although state and federal courts have consistently recognized the authority of attorneys general to revoke corporate charters, attorneys general have rarely chosen to exercise this option against large corporations. And no attorney general has even raised the possibility of using charter revocation as a remedy during the recent corporate crime wave." ("Chartering a New Course," Charlie McCray, Third World Traveler 2002 )

Instead of "bailing out" corporations that fail due to improper if not illegal management practices, perhaps revoking corporate charters should be considered.  This would not mean an end to jobs, but a restructuring of the industry giants into smaller, more manageable entities. 

To accomplish this requires a strong "people's" voice in the white house to counter balance the entrenched influence of corporate purchased politicians.  Andrew Jackson's struggle against the Bank of the United States reveals just such a portrait.

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