What is the Business Roundtable?
They're tremendously powerful, they're enormously influential, they've got very deep pockets, and they're working aggressively against the public interest on many fronts, perhaps most notably in working to offshore American jobs and in ensuring that CEO pay become ever more grossly excessive. What is this little-known organization up to, and where did they come from anyway?
Imagine, for a moment, a low-profile but immensely powerful organization with a membership comprised primarily of wealthy CEOs bent on subverting and corrupting the democratic political process in order to attain their own selfish ends. Imagine that these CEOs are vehemently opposed to legislation helping employees, consumers, or the environment, and at the same time are supportive of gigantic monopolies. Imagine that their fondest dream is completely eliminating corporate taxation and shifting the burden to taxpayers instead (their bland euphemism for this wholesale abandonment of social responsibility is "corporate rate reduction"note the use of the uninformative term "rate" instead of "tax"). Finally, imagine this group taking advantage of everything learned from sixty years of mass marketing to package and sell its agenda.
To Get Their Side of the Story
More repulsive than you'd care to imagine? Okay, you can stop now. You don't have to pretend this organization exists anyway, because, unfortunately, it actually does. Here is its website:
Bribes: How the Business Roundtable Does Business
Before we go too much further, you might want to take a quick detour to look at the following analysis of the BR's political bribes. (By the way, we think the innocuous euphemism "campaign contributions" has no place in any honest political lexicon, and suspect that when the corporate media use this phrase, they do so intentionally to obscure the nature of the problem, partly because they're deeply involved in it themselves):
A Case Study: The Business Roundtable & China
While we're detouring, here's another link to the Center for Responsive Politics which shows how the Business Roundtable typically approaches political issues, in this case trade with China (with which the US now has a massive trade imbalance, and which is now the biggest US creditor):
The Big Picture: What's the Business Roundtable Really Up To?
Of course, it's not surprising to find the BR doling out bribes on issues of trade. But why are a bunch of wealthy CEOs running an influence peddling racket that's also devoted to issues of national security, education, health, and just about any other matter of importance one might name? Here's their answer:
Fortunately, it's possible to translate this passage from Corporatespeak into English:
Of course, translated into English, this looks a little . . . blunt; and this restatement also suffers from the huge disadvantage of corresponding to reality. With an agenda like this, perhaps it isn't surprising that businessmen resort to euphemisms.
Under the circumstances, George Orwell might have been moved to point out that while in this Great American Democracy we're all equal, some are clearly more equal than others.
Much more equal.
If They're so Influential, Why Don't We Ever Hear Anything About the Business Roundtable?
Why do we hear so little about the much more equal BR? (Certainly most people are aware of lobbying groups such as the gun lobbya far less influential group, and one devoted to but a single issue.)
Well, we certainly aren't kept in the dark about the workings of this corporate coterie because its existence is unknown to the corporate media. Indeed, ties to the media, direct or indirect, are so extensive that the failure of the media to report on the nature and activities of the Business Roundtable can only be intentional. If so, then that's presumably because the disclosure of those ties would be embarrassing.
Well they might be. The proper role of the media in a democracy is to act as a watchdog, especially a watchdog of the typically corrupting influences of the wealthy and powerful. Yet it can hardly perform this function properly when the wealthy and powerful themselves own and pervade the media.
On the other hand, it could be that the media feel it's just not the place of the little people to meddle in the affairs of the titans among us. Then, too, the individuals conducting the class war against working Americans (and everyone else who works) much prefer to operate in secrecy.
Given the current climate of bribery and corporate CEOs run amok, it's hardly any wonder that these executives think they can get away with mayhem. They've already been doing that for 40 years.