By J.D. ALT
Mitch McConnell is desperate to find investment funds and businesses that will create jobs for his Kentucky constituents. America, it seems, is mostly incapable of being a source for either. Such is the diminishment of our impoverished private enterprise system that only foreign companies seem interested in bringing U.S. dollars to America to build the factories that will employ us.
America, for example, has not built an aluminum rolling mill in over forty years. It must be easier (read “more profitable”) just to import the stuff. If you want to create jobs, though, in exchange for votes from your constituents, “profitability” takes on new dimensions. And while those additional dimensions don’t seem to appeal much to American enterprise, for some inexplicable reason they are appealing to foreign “investors”—especially ones from Russia. Russia, it seems, has discovered a new form of American “politico-capitalism.”
Basically, I’m guessing it works like this: A Russian Oligarch—here we must digress to be sure it’s understood that a “Russian Oligarch” is a managing agent in the government-mafia amalgamation that comprises the Russian economy— the Oligarch, indirectly, through back-channels, expresses interest in investing in the building of a large manufacturing enterprise in the home state of a U.S. senator. The senator, of course, is keen on the idea because it enables him to claim authorship of a deal that brings thousands of jobs to his struggling constituents (and would-be voters).
Other strings are pulled to provide a building site, local property tax breaks, and reduced development fees for the project. The Oligarch, as promised, comes up with the U.S. dollars necessary to build the project—transferred from an obscure network of international bank accounts holding dollars gleaned from the sale of Russian oil, gas, and military weaponry. High-profile ground-breaking ceremonies are held using golden shovels. The manufacturing facility gets built, commences operations, and hires thousands of the senator’s constituents. And though the business name contains no hint of it, the Russian Oligarch—hidden in layers of holding companies—is a majority stockholder of the enterprise.
Bumps, of course, can occur along the road. It’s possible, for example, that the Russian Oligarch may have been sanctioned by the U.S. government for engaging in economic activities against the interests of the United States—or that are considered illegal under U.S. or international law. The sanctions might be such that they bar U.S. businesses or citizens from doing business with the Oligarch. If that should happen, the U.S. senator has a dilemma: either enforce the sanctions and give up his juicy deal to provide thousands of jobs for his constituents—or maneuver in the U.S. senate to have the sanctions against the Oligarch repealed. If you happen to be not just any senator, but the U.S. senate majority leader, the second option seems relatively easy to pull off.
There are dangers in doing this, however. It’s possible that some nosey news organization might delve into the connection between the senator’s sanction-lifting maneuvers and the promised investment in the home-state aluminum rolling-mill. They might even go so far as to suggest that now the senator’s state, and thousands of his constituents, are beholden to the Russian government-mafia for their jobs and economic prosperity—and the senator, himself, is beholden to the Russian government-mafia for some portion of his re-election votes.
It’s easy to see the cost-benefit analysis of this business model from the perspective of the Russian government-mafia. They only need a few dozen such deals, strategically targeted, and suddenly they have become franchised “voters” in America’s democracy. Which is a position worth having if your long-term goals are to do lots of things the U.S. government would, otherwise, be strongly opposed to.
One could ask, however: Why is it necessary for a U.S. senator to take these risks? Why does he find it necessary, in order to promote new employment in his home state, to sell some part of his political power in America’s democracy to an agent of the Russian government-mafia? We must assume the senator is a patriot—his calculation is that he is creating much needed employment for his home-state constituents. He is truly not trying to sell-out America—so what is the desperation that forces him to risk doing exactly that?
The desperation, I propose, lies in the fact that it seems virtually impossible to find or create employment for his constituents. American enterprise just doesn’t seem interested. The only real interest U.S. profit-making strategists seem to have in his home-state is in selling his constituents opioid drugs to assuage their unemployed despondency and hopelessness. Russia seems to be the only alternative.
What the senator can’t seem to fathom is that neither he, nor his state, nor his constituents need the Russian government-mafia at all. There exists a completely American solution to his dilemma. The senator will not be happy that the solution (at present) is being promoted by the political party of which he is not a member—but, given his sincere interests in the well-being of his constituents, that shouldn’t be an insurmountable obstacle. What he wants are jobs for his desperate home-state neighbors, right?
To accomplish that goal, all the senator needs to do is undertake some senate maneuverings in a different direction: in support of a federal program that guarantees a living-wage job for every U.S. citizen who wants to work. This could be augmented by a universal basic income for every citizen as well—just enough to ensure that no one needs slip into desperation. With these two programs in place, the senator’s currently unemployed constituents would have the freedom to manage their lives in a direction of hope. Much of the job-guarantee’s new employees could be engaged in providing services to their own local communities, or undertaking the climate-change mitigation and adaptation efforts that private enterprise finds so unprofitable. Streams and rivers—infilled and poisoned by extraction industries—could be restored. Wildlife habitats could be reconstructed. One-on-one learn to read programs could be initiated for every second grader. The list of useful things to undertake goes on and on.
One of the most important benefits, however, of this alternative strategy to employ the senator’s constituents would be this: the thug-like mentality and machinations of Russia’s mafia-government would be kept out of America’s democracy. Moscow Mitch needs to understand there’s no place, and no NEED for it, here.