Chapter 2: Identifying monopolies and too big to fail
We must make our choice. We can have a democratic society, or we can have the concentration of great wealth in the hands of the few. But we cannot have both.
–Louis Brandeis, Justice of the United States Supreme Court
THE CAPITALIST FREE MARKET CORRECTION ACT (CaFMaC)
* * CaFMaC Fixes [almost] Everything * *
Section 1. (of the Capitalist Free Market Corrections Act – CaFMaC)
Plain English for the Voting Citizen: Our government will 1) Define what a “natural monopoly” is, and 2) Spell out what is meant by a corporation that’s “too big to fail.”
The Congressional blather version: The United States Department of Commerce shall within sixty (60) days after enactment of this legislation define the terms “natural monopoly” and “too big to fail,” and shall promulgate definitive criteria for identifying 1) organizations of any size, regardless whether interstate or intrastate, which cannot feasibly be operated as other than a natural monopoly and 2) large organizations that are too big to fail without major detrimental impact on U.S. citizens. The definition of natural monopolies shall encompass, among the various other types of monopolies which ultimately will be encompassed within the definition, 1) all corporations, brokers and entities of every nature whatsoever that directly or indirectly generate and/or distribute or sell electricity over a necessary grid of cables and wires, and 2) all corporations, brokers and entities of every nature whatsoever that move, through necessary pipes and/or wheeled vehicles, natural gas, oil, crushed coal, tar sand products, slurries, derivatives of all of these, chemicals, water, sewage, any other substances that can be pumped through pipes, and any combination of these whatsoever. Integrally within the process of promulgating definitions and identifying criteria, the Department shall focus particular scrutiny on the health insurance industry, the hospital industry, the so-called big box retail business, and the United States financial sector in its vast entirety, plus manufacturers, wholesalers and – particularly – distributors of guns, weaponry and ammunition of every nature whatsoever both military and civilian.
Section 2. (of the Capitalist Free Market Corrections Act – CaFMaC)
Plain English for the Voting Citizen: 1) Compare the new definitions to every corporation doing business in the USA. 2) Identify all corporations that are natural monopolies and/or are too big to fail. 3) Tell them they’ve been noticed and listed. 4) Tell their names and addresses to Congress and the public.
The Congressional blather version: Over the succeeding one hundred twenty (120) days the Department of Commerce, with full cooperation and support by the Internal Revenue Service, shall systematically compare the criteria to every corporation, corporate subsidiary, holding company, and business organization or entity of every other nature whatsoever that is engaged in business within the United States, its territories and possessions, shall thereby designate those that are natural monopolies and/or too big to fail, shall notify those organizations and entities that they have been so designated, and shall provide to the Congress and to the public media a comprehensive list of all corporations, entities and organizations designated as natural monopolies and/or as too big to fail, along with the addresses of their headquarters(s) and all their wholesale and retail outlets as applicable.
Section 3. (of the Capitalist Free Market Corrections Act – CaFMaC)
Plain English for the Voting Citizen: Write government regulations requiring that every natural monopoly must serve the common good of the whole nation and everybody in it. Make no bones about what’s going to be done to them if they don’t.
The Congressional blather version: No later than one hundred eighty (180) days after enactment of this legislation the Department of Commerce shall publish regulations detailing 1) strict oversight and control of natural monopolies, and 2) the required visibility, candor and comprehensibility of their public reporting and accountability for their operations, 3) therewith mandating that all natural monopolies so designated shall contribute to the common good of the nation, and 4) specifying the corrective and punitive actions to be taken wherever a monopoly is found to be not contributing to the common good of the nation.
Section 4. (of the Capitalist Free Market Corrections Act – CaFMaC)
Plain English for the Voting Citizen: 1) Without delay, all natural monopolies will be put under full ownership of a government. 2) The government may be local, state or federal according to whatever makes the most common sense in each case. 3) That government will be responsible to damn well keep the monopoly well and fully controlled so it doesn’t gouge ordinary people with artificial high prices, as uncontrolled monopolies always do. 4) Since natural monopolies are notorious for having no incentives to do things better, the governments that now own them will require them to constantly find ways to innovate and do things cheaper, better, more efficiently. 5) Something awful will happen to any person who fails to fully carry out the letter and spirit of these new controls over natural monopolies.
The Congressional blather version: Within one hundred eighty (180) days following designation as a natural monopoly, every corporation, entity or commercial enterprise so designated and chartered in and/or doing business in the United States, its territories and possessions shall be placed under public ownership of a government within the United States, at the local, state or federal level as appropriate to the circumstances, and each such monopoly shall thereafter be operated under strict governmental supervision according to the detailed federal regulations promulgated for the purpose. The regulations shall be written so as to ensure that 1) all government-operated monopolies in general, and public utilities in particular, are constantly and unavoidably confronted with innovative practices and ideas from multiple sources, 2) are required to regularly generate innovative ideas and suggestions from their own employees, 3) are required to regularly solicit innovative ideas and suggestions from the clients and customers who use their services, 4) are required to transfer to a substantially different position any manager or supervisor, at any level, who has remained in one position as long as five (5) years, and 5) are at all times subject to supervised close enforcement of these regulations. Conspiring or attempting to artificially subdivide a natural monopoly based on manipulations designed to profit a few at the expense of the public good shall hereafter be a felony, and any person convicted of so conspiring or attempting shall be sentenced to not less than one (1) year in Gambling School.
Section 5. (of the Capitalist Free Market Corrections Act – CaFMaC)
Plain English for the Voting Citizen: 1) A new Natural Resources Administration (NRA) will have total control over all (meaning ALL) strategically important natural resources (such as oil, minerals, timber, wildlife, etc) to make sure they’re used for the common good of all (also meaning ALL) the people both now and looking ahead to the future. 2) All existing contracts which allow publicly-owned natural resources to be exploited for private profit are cancelled and good riddance (this specifically includes grazing private livestock on public land at little or no cost).
The Congressional blather version: All natural resources located on or under public lands owned and overseen by the United States on behalf of all the people, including but not limited to all oil, coal, natural gas and related forms of fossil fuels, all minerals, ores, timber, grasses, lakes and waterways, and the wildlife using these habitats, are hereby declared de facto Strategic Reserve Natural Monopolies (SRNM) owned by the public at large, and their preservation and prudent use, respectively, henceforth shall be planned and conducted as a high priority in the common public interest under full authority and control of a Natural Resources Administration (NRA), which is hereby established and granted authority to set policies for, supervise, command and control the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and certain other federal agencies to be named by the President with advice and consent of the Congress, ensuring that all publicly owned natural resources are judiciously used exclusively in the common public interest of all the citizens of the United States, with particular emphasis on sustaining the long-range availability of those publicly-owned resources as far into the future as possible and removed utterly from influence by the profit motive.
All contracts and/or agreements, howsoever named or deemed, between any agency of the United States government and any other entities whatsoever including individual states and private parties, heretofore issued or permitted and accommodating de facto non-competitive private for-profit exploitation of the nation’s natural resources on or under the public’s lands, shall terminate upon expiration of each such contract or agreement, or within twelve (12) months, whichever is sooner, except for coal contracts in the Powder River Basin which are hereby terminated summarily upon adoption of this Act. Persons found to be exploiting any public resources without a contract or agreement shall be prosecuted. Grazing privileges on publicly-owned lands, including those inappropriately designated as “rights,” are hereby terminated sixty (60) days after adoption of this Act; five percent (5%) of such grazing may be reinstated as a rent-paying privilege, at fair market value, upon appeal to and review by the NRA on a case-by-case basis.
SUMMARY of Sections 1-5
Plain English for the Voting Citizen: 1) Congress intends to fully and fairly implement all the reasons for which government exists, which includes protecting the hard-working little guys from the big powerful rich guys. 2) Congress intends to put a stop to big corporations blocking thousands of small entrepreneurs from entering the free market, which until now has been a “free” market in name only, so that genuine “competition” can hold prices down in the American marketplace. 3) Congress intends to put an end once and for all to corporations growing so big they control prices and unfairly block truly competitive small outfits from competing. These basically selfish wrongs hurt the nation as a whole, but they’re really hard on poor Americans who struggle every day just to keep the rent paid and buy food for the kids. Instead of continuing to let corporations gradually impoverish all of us, from now on we’re going to pay attention to WHAT’S GOOD FOR ALL OF US.
The Congressional blather version: With these five measures it is the intent of Congress on this singular occasion, within its Constitutional responsibility to implement the Purposes of Government specified in this Act and to exert leadership for the common good of all the nation’s people and, despite deep urges to anathematize compromise, to place under public ownership, regulation, supervision and control those natural resources, organizations, entities and activities which constitute and most feasibly exist only as natural monopolies, and to identify all organizations deemed too big to fail, in order to ensure that all such entities operate in the nation’s public interest for the benefit of all the people, and that they cannot jeopardize the wellbeing of U.S. citizens by 1) failing or by 2) serving only private interests without consideration for the nation’s wellbeing.
The Congress further intends that this Act shall free small entrepreneurial business enterprises of every nature from market constraints which have been imposed de facto by the very existence of extremely large and dominant corporations, intended or unintended, on the competitive activities by small entrepreneurs’ activities in a free market, with express Congressional intent that tens of thousand of innovative small entrepreneurs may grow to hundreds of thousands and breathe new dynamism into the U.S. economy.
Competition in a genuinely free marketplace having been long demonstrated the most effective known way to restrain prices in a fair and equitable manner for the benefit of all the people, any circumstance which potentially could or does in fact restrict competition in any manner, by reducing the quantity of commercial entities freely competing with each other, or by controlling de facto their actions in the marketplace, or by any other effects and devices, is of grave public concern. This legislation therefore brings to an end the well documented tendency of, and eliminates the potential for, corporations and certain other organizations to grow without constraint, to dominate and eliminate competitors and to then exert monopolistic influences over free market competition which otherwise would restrain the prices which must unavoidably be paid by all the people, including the poorest among us, thereby ensuring that their business operations hereafter will at all times serve the whole public interest and promote the wellbeing of all communities throughout the nation which are affected or potentially affected by their operations, pursuant to the common good of the nation and of equal treatment and opportunity for all U.S. citizens.
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