Sunday, May 10, 2009

Oklahoma City: Big League Neoliberalism!

May 9 Editorial

Friday's editorial "Oklahoma City is doing more with less" is yet another very misleading addition to the paper's long history of misleading editorials. Some general information is given on how the city's population has grown in the past 16 years, yet the city government workforce has not grown (they use the phrase "roughly the same"). Then, it is mentioned that city departments other than Police and Fire are going to have to cut budgets by one percent.

It is quite true that OKC is doing better than many cities, and this has been pointed out in poorly researched articles and "studies" in publications like Bloomberg (Oklahoma City Penn Square Lessons Give It 5.6% Jobless Rate) and Forbes (In Depth: America's Most Livable Cities) as of late. But what they, and the Oklahoman Editorial board completley miss out on is just how we have done "so well".

Like yesterday's analysis of The Oklahoman's piece on Israel and the Middle East, I can not go in depth enough with the many problems I have with this article. However I will give you the word for the economic ideology that has brought us our success, and offer some history and a frightening analogy. First the word you need to know about OKC's economic system is:


Mick Cornett, the Chamber of Commerce, and the other powerful people/entities in this town are NOT Conservatives. Ask anyone you respect on the topic, and they'll tell you the same. These people are Neoliberals. To simply state, this economic ideology is used to ensure powerful elites outside of the Government have control of the society.

This is done by a number of ways such as preaching the wonders of small government, all the while giving tax-payer funds to unaccountable groups like The Chamber of Commerce, Pro Basketball LLC., Outlet Malls that will "create jobs" (read: put money into the hands of developers and the like, for more on this read Greg Leroy's excellent book The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation).

Also, it is very important in a successful Neoliberal environment to do things such as implement very unfriendly conditions for workers, namely "Right to Work" which essentially creates a culture where Jimmy's Egg Waitresses are held to significantly higher standards than Executives of fancy companies.

These things, along with other wonderful ideas like selling off the city's most important assets like it's TV and Radio stations to the highest outside bidder (I hosted a panel featuring Mark Shannon, Ron Black, GOP Head Gary Jones when Channel 4 and 43 were purchased by Oak Hill Capitol Partners in Ft Worth, all agreed it was not a good thing) create an environment where only elites have control over the affairs of the city, and growth is merely addition by subtraction. By that I mean, we do well but at costs to people in other Cities more often than not, Cities in other States.

Decisions made by working people are restricted to what is called "Market Democracy", and occasionally called that with a straight face, usually by folks in the "We are a Republic!" crowd. Recall Mayor Cornett last year teamed up with Yum! Brands, Inc's company Taco Bell to offer new choices to consumers wishing to lose weight. I jokingly said he chose YUM as a real stand up company regarding Market Democracy, as their sister company KFC once offered patrons "A Right to have your chicken done right!". That individuals who are a part of a Republic because they are viewed as unfit to govern their own affairs could possibly make the best decisions in markets when bombarded 24/7 with propaganda on products, seems a little dishonest. But I am afraid that is the point.

The state capital, Guthrie, was moved to Oklahoma City in 1910. I think it will soon be safe to say that the Nation's capital for Neoliberalism will soon be moved from Chicago (Milton Friedman created the basis for this brutal economic system and implemented it first in Chile' under the Dictator Augusto Pinochet') to Oklahoma City. To find out why I believe this, please read:

1 comment:

  1. I'm not going to be one of these shnorrers that leaves a comment like "Geat job, Steve!" or "Keep it up!" I hope people read this stuff because Oklahomans need to stop believing all the little and compounding lies and just do some reading.

    I do suggest a better explanation of "Right to Work." It doesn't necessarily put a Jimmy's Egg waitress to a "higher standard" than an executive because it's legislation that focuses only on minimum wage manipulation. (Executives are not minimum wage workers so you don't really need to bring that up. I will continue to argue that while the system is out of whack, somebody who earns an advanced degree will (and should be) paid more than a diner worker.)

    However, you might consider exploring a more thorough explanation of RTW legislation. Define, for example, the term "previaling wage." People need to understand the difference between "previaling wage" and "union wage." The right-wing peanut gallery is always erroneously calling prevailing wage "union wages." It's a complete lie.