People often ask me what I have against Corporate America, as if the squashing of free enterprise, small business and the American dream isn't enough; As I travel the country I can see clearly what corporate America has done for us. What I can see is that any town of size has a Mega supermarket, a Walmart, McDonalds, Wendy's, Kentucky fried, and the like. Every major interstate connection has a crowd of competing gas stations and dozens of huge overpriced, nearly empty, (except in season) national hotel chains. So what was the cost for this uniformity called progress? Drive along any old state highway and you'll see the reminder from the fifties those little cottage court motels falling down in ruins. Then you'll notice their replacements, those roadside motels, which were nothing more than the cottages pressed together, now they are closed or turned into tiny apartments as well. You'll also notice those cozy roadside restaurants, ice cream stands, and independent gas stations, now all empty or turned into strange little homes. So much for living and working in the country...
What about those vast cities, could we ever of made these achievements without corporate America?
I ask you, are they such great achievements? Every large city has an inner area often called slums, where business has been driven away when the bigger newer, shops malls and stores moved into the outer edges... now with the emphasize on even bigger stores and malls, I am seeing not only empty shops but whole plazas closed down, huge buildings, vast parking lots awaiting the fate of the cozy roadside cottages. Now every town of size is getting it's own Walmart while the downtown areas are slowly losing all local business, empty store fronts are common everywhere in this country. Small business has been turned into a yard sale.
Walmart is the perfect example of corporate evil in the works. Critics of Wal-Mart call the homespun stuff a fraud, a calculated strategy to put a human face on a relentlessly profit-minded corporation. They were built upon patriotism, be American buy American was their mantra. Look around today's Wal-mart and see if you can find anything that was made in America. Now after beating down and putting out of business all it's major competitors WalMart has move into Super Stores so they can compete against grocery stores as well. I have noticed where ever Walmart exists, there seems to be a Salvation Army or Goodwill Store. I guess that's so that the businessmen that were driven out, have some place affordable to shop. Yet we are still plowing down forests and using up valuable farm land to create the empty store fronts of the future... So why are these giant corporations not using the old spaces? Because more often than not the cost of remodeling or tearing down the old facilities is too expensive. So the so called planners blindly go along with the creation of future slums.
What about the small towns? I remember growing up in small town America, every neighborhood had a small grocery store run by someone's grandparents. These little stores, where people gathered to gossip, were crushed out of existence by supermarkets, using coupons, specials and sales to get you to buy the products of their choice. Now these small stores have returned, in the form of convenience stores, little stores, run by gasoline companies where you can expect to pay double the going rate for most anything, sacrificing cost for speed. Everybody had thought paying Joe's grandmother an extra five cents for a can of corn was outrageous, but they now pay the quicky-mart 50 to 75 cents more, without blinking. Thank you corporate America...
In modern America, the corporations are putting vast amounts of money into campaign coffers and just like the millionaires, they expect favors and get them.
Alas What can we do? The only real solution is to support local business. Tell Congress to stop the corporate welfare handouts and support campaign finance reform. Corporations are not people and they are not citizens, this country was founded by "we the people" not "them the corporations". So organize support groups for local business. Talk to town planners, tell them you don't want to live in a future slum. Of course in the short run, this means paying a little more for many products and services, but remember, as soon as local business is driven out the prices set by those corporate America stores seem to rise quickly... on a finishing note this file mysteriously disappears from the web on a regular basis, I have to wonder who is behind that?
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