Do the corporatists want the U.S. to fail?
Simon Johnson, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund wonders why business leaders are silent about what he sees as a catastrophic fiscal situation that threatens America's pre-eminence in the world.
Of the impending debt ceiling limit, he writes
At some point in mid-October — on the 17th, according to the latest estimates — the Treasury will reach the legal limit on its ability to borrow. If Congress refuses to increase the legal limit on the amount of debt outstanding, the Treasury will be unable to pay its bills.
Precisely how this would play out is subject to some debate, but there is no question that it would involve a great deal of uncertainty, in the best case, or a catastrophic default that can safely be regarded as the worst case.
Johnson is flummoxed why Wall Street and captains of the Fortune 100 are not screaming at the top of their lungs about the impending catastrophe.
The silence of much of the business and financial elite on the debt ceiling — as well as on the sequester and the government shutdown — is somewhat shocking. This is a group that is usually quite vocal in promoting its self-interest. It benefited greatly from the expansion of the global economy after 1945, and that shifting perception of what business needs was part of the pressure that encouraged the Republican Party to become much more international in its orientation.
But he misses the real question: does a globalist corporate elite need the United States of America anymore?
The answer seems to be "no" - or "hell no!"
The corporatists at the misleadlingly-named U.S. Chamber of Commerce (it's really the Multinational Chamber of Commerce), the Business Roundtable, Goldman Sachs and the rest of the cronies on Wall Street and in boardrooms have been leading the charge to render the United States moot through the TransPacific Partnership and the TransAtlantic Partnership. These deals would replace national governments, including ours, with an international authority of the elites, by the elites and for the elites that enforces regulations protecting corporatist interests the world over.
Ralph Gomory has pointed out the fundamental divergence of interests of multinational companies from the interests of the United States. In discussing government dysfunction, Wonkblog spelled out the terms of the divorce [our emphasis added]:
Few of America's biggest businesses are purely American anymore, having taken full advantage of free trade and lower labor costs around the world. That has two effects. First, since they've offshored or automated much of their workforces, it's harder to tell a legislator that Washington dysfunction is hurting jobs in their district. And second, their stake in America isn't as large as it used to be: If business conditions deteriorate at home, they can invest more heavily in Brazil or China instead.
If fiscal chaos undermines the United States both at home and abroad, that could actually serve the interests of corporatists who care little for our representative government (or anyone else's). This crowd would be happy to clip the wings of an American eagle that stands in the way of their global hegemony.
The silence of business leaders while Washington burns is the dog that didn't bark.