Think about this: You know how spiders look, ditto for bees, ants and other assorted bugs. Yet, when it comes to termites, few of us can even sketch how they look. Meanwhile, every homeowner and tenant has to be on guard for these creatures, who will destroy the very structures they inhabit. Termites do their dirty deed always in semi silence. One never knows until it is too late!
Well, we who labor for a place to lay our heads each night need be on the alert for the army of corporate termites who are destroying our very way of life. You don’t see them, know their names or how they look, yet they eat away at our republic for generations. Corporate Amerika, how wonderful it is, this poster boy of free market capitalism! So easy for them, these vermin, to operate so freely, because we have no one, no ‘People’s Sherriff’, to thwart them. They charge what they like for just about everything we working stiffs need to get through the day. Look at your cable and telephone bills. Compare what they were even 20 years ago to now. The real ‘Sin of sins’ is your healthcare costs. Why, even those on Medicare must fork out sums to get the care they need. Forget about dental care! This writer has too many empty spaces where teeth lived. Factor me along with millions out there who have no recourse to save those precious bits of enamel. The main termite, in that case, is our government, Uncle Sam, who would rather throw literally trillions down the rabbit hole for military spending than institute the healthcare and dental care most of us need. Bugs!
The corporate banks get you with excess charges… for using YOUR money in most cases. They continually create and raise fees, ones that we never saw evident 50 years ago. How about insurance? Who in the hell needs private insurance companies? What in the heck do they create? Nothing! No, insurance is in reality a gamble. You layout the money so that if tragedy strikes, you are covered. The insurance company is the bookie, who takes your bet and pays off if you win… no, rather, if you lose something, like a car, a roof or even a life! Even then, from experience with Hurricane Mathew in 2016, I know how these companies will do what they can to NOT have to fork over enough cash to you. Why cannot our government be the bookie, and charge nonprofit rates? Food for thought.
Big Pharma is really a great example of a termite. They create a drug, maybe from U.S. government sponsored research, figure out it costs them 10 cents a pill, and charge 10 times that to you, the ingestor. The real scam is when you take their pill for some condition, and the side effects screw you up, they have another pill to treat those symptoms. Pretty cool hah? Of course, many times Big Pharma gnaws away at the good doctor/patient relationship by co-opting the doc. The patient has condition A and instead of seeking out nonevasive, non drug treatment, the doc pushes the pill that the pretty sales rep offers along with certain perks for the doc. For awhile, and this is not hearsay, some Big Pharma companies were actually paying docs $100 to take a 10 minute phone call. Termites!
Amazon is doing lots of business, and does present a needed service, especially during this pandemic. Yet, they were recently ‘Outed’ for charging outrageous prices for essential Covid fighting products, like alcohol, disposable gloves, disinfectant wipes to name a few. On top of that Amazon has a history of getting customers to pay for shipping, when all one need do is carefully scroll down the ‘Order bar’ and check off ‘Free Shipping’. So what if the order takes 3 to 5 days longer? Saving money is saving money… just ask Jeff Bezos. Of course, as with Fed Ex and Wal-Mart and countless corporations, Amazon is NON UNION. Take it from a guy whose grandfather literally fought in the streets of NYC for better conditions in his trade (machinist), that only a union can provide. His arrest and blacklist from his trade helped place that gun in his hand when he blew his brains out on December 1st, 1940. Of course, it did not help that he was unable to get on Relief, forerunner to today’s welfare and or unemployment insurance. There were just too many ahead of him, so his family had to exist on banana or broccoli rabe sandwiches to ease their hunger. Corporate termites like Bezos and the Waltons would not have a clue as to what I am suggesting.
Finally, my greatest focus for decades has been on the concept of corporate and other absentee landlords. Students of history should know that the term ‘Landlord’ comes from Feudalism, when the super rich were referred to as the ‘Lords of the Manor’ or ‘Land Lords’. Today, we have mega corporations owning hundreds of thousands of rental units, getting top dollar because, sadly, there is usually more demand than supply (Go ask slumlords Sean Hannity and Jared Kushner). Of course, there are many ‘Wanabees’ out there building up their rental property ledgers, making money off of someone else’s desperation in many cases. This writer knows all too well about both corporate and ‘Wanabee’ absentee landlords. Taking the latter first, in 1974 my wife at the time and I had a baby boy. We were renting a ‘walk-in’ apartment AKA ‘Basement apartment’ in Brooklyn. The upstairs apartment was rented out as well, by the absentee owner, who happened to live in New Jersey. One day my wife was bathing our son and she started screaming. There were these giant water bugs coming out of the drain. I called our landlord and told him we needed help. He said he would be by over the weekend with some Chlordane to kill the bugs. When I asked my wife’s uncle, who knew more than I did, he told me that Chlordane was a carcinogenic and outlawed in NY State. I immediately called our landlord to tell him this information. He laughed. “Well, it’s not illegal in New Jersey. I wouldn’t worry about it. You know how the government overreacts.” I told him to use Chlordane in his own bathtub, but not ours!
In 1995 my new wife and I needed to move from N.Y. to afford to buy a home of our own. My son wanted to transfer to Purdue U. so we moved to Indianapolis. Our plan was to rent for one year, see how we liked the area, and then buy. We settled on one of the (so called) better apartment complexes. When we saw the model apartment at the main office, we both seemed satisfied with how beautiful it looked. Well, looks can be deceiving, can’t they? After a few days from moving in, and having signed a one year lease, all hell broke loose! First, my wife was at the kitchen sink one night and the spigot just came flying off, with water all over the place. A few days later, we were all watching a football game on television in the living room, and the rains came. Within minutes leaks were coming from the ceiling in both the living room and our master bedroom. We found out later that this big corporate behemoth in Chicago had recently purchased the complex, which was in disrepair. So, what did they do? They gave the place a nice fresh coat of paint and kept the fading and failing infrastructure intact. The roofs were all crap throughout the complex, and each time there was heavy rain…
Since less than 1% of Amerikans earn mega millions each year, it is time for the 99+& of us to say ‘Enough is enough’. Only then can we slowly rid our republic of those termites.