Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stick it to the Man!

Life is good... if you're a pig!
Corporations in America resemble nothing so much as feudal overlords, skimming the cream off the milk pail of proletariat labor. Free market capitalism? It's a myth! A sick joke that, Lord knows, the corporate titans must surely chortle about as they gorge on their Volga River caviar. Marx called these creatures parasites, vampires feeding off the sweat of the people.

Examples abound: Remember back in 2005 when Congress passed legislation making it illegal to buy prescription drugs from outside the country? Junior peddled it as a safety measure, because, you know, all those Canadians were dying in the streets as a result of all those bad drugs manufactured up there. But, the truth was that US pharmaceutical companies were up in arms because their Canadian counterparts were selling drugs at lower prices, denying the US companies what they felt was their right to extort higher prices out of American consumers. Competition be damned! There was a pot of gold out there, and no north-of-the-border pill pushers were going to get in the way.

Or witness the vehemence with which health insurance lobbyists are fighting to kill any so-called "public option" in the new health care solution. They complain that a public option (which is, in itself, a compromise from the single-payer system that many advocate) would drive the insurance companies out of existence! They simply couldn't compete.

Or, on a more immediate level, Comcast, my cable television, internet, and home telephone provider, is currently pitching a new shtick to attract subscribers. It's a package deal. You buy all three services, signing a contract for 2 years, and you get the whole thing for $99/month. Well, I'm already signed up with Comcast for those 3 features, but I pay $127/month. I called them to say that I wanted to sign up for the cheaper deal and was told that the promotional only applied for new subscribers.

So, I said, "Well, what if I cancel all my subscriptions and then sign up again tomorrow? Can I get the lower rate?"

Reply: "The fine print on these promotional contracts is that the terms only apply to new customers."

Well, that's a bloody ripoff, and I let the poor shmuck on the other end of the line know it.

There is a myriad of other examples that a little research on the internet can readily illuminate, all indicating the same thing: our current system is designed to reward those at the top, and to keep them at the top.

I don't know about you, but this makes my blood boil. And that's why I take every opportunity I can to stick it to the man! Any time I can find a way to rip off an insurance company, corporate bank, or cable or phone company, I do it. From my perspective, it is not that I'm ripping them off. It's that I'm denying them the ability to extort money out of me in some petty way.

Examples: I once was involved in a fender bender in Portland. Totally my fault. I rear-ended the driver in front of me who inexplicably came to a dead stop in the middle of the Hawthorne Bridge. A heated conversation ensued and the other driver apparently got flustered by the --er --disappointment I expressed in his driving tactics. He ended up taking down my name incorrectly. When his auto insurance company contacted me to try to get me to pay up, I noted to myself that they had made a mistake, and that, in fact, they couldn't tie me to the incident. For the next six months, they called and wrote vaguely threatening letters, all addressed to a non-existent person with a name similar to mine. I gleefully took their calls and heaped abuse upon the callers, then hung up, laughing. Eventually, the calls and letters stopped coming. Joke was on them.

Then, there was the time I called to cancel my cable television subscription (it was another company, not Comcast). The caller registered my request and told me that a serviceperson would come out sometime in the next week or so to unhook my cable. Well, a week went by and nothing. Then, another week. Then, a month. Then, a year. All told, I got two years of free cable. Eventually, somebody wised up and came to unhook my cable. But they apparently knew better than to try and get me to pay for it. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed that they didn't at least make the effort. I would have enjoyed meteing out heaping helpings of scorn and ridicule upon them.

Let me be clear: I do not advocate stealing or petty theft from honest businessmen or credit unions, or ordinary citizens. And I think I'm accurate when I say that anyone who knows me considers me to be scrupulous and honorable.

Oink! Oink!
But when it comes to corporate parasites who milk us all, every month, for hundreds or thousands of dollars because we simply have no other options: stick it to 'em, people. God knows they're sticking it to us!

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