Steven Pearlstein: Triumphalist Apology for Abusive Corporate Power

In the Washington Post this morning, columnist Steven Pearlstein wrote an article that was off base.  Pearlstein states that he is evaluating whether the government or the private sector provides the best value. Somehow, corporate excesses are downplayed or ignored, while Pearlstein viciously attacks civil servants.

This is unjustified because corporate entities (nonhuman) flood out human interests in the nation’s politics. While only narrowly being truly loyal to their shareholders, namely whatever produces a penny more profit determines what they do.

Pearlstein criticizes public servants generously. I guess its easy to pick on people who cannot fight back–we have all seen this in school:  Bullies find the most vulnerable to impose their wills on.

The private sector should receive tireless scrutiny for multiple instances of socially destructive behavior. The damaging excesses of the private sector are manifest. Who can forget the financial crisis the private sector financial “titans” caused (yet, glaringly, those titans did not get together to find a private sector solution to the private sector crisis-all of them ran to the government (sad!)).

Additionally, Pearlstein fails to mention the other excesses of the obscenely expensive and bloated corporate bureaucracy. I’ll mention a few.


The manufacturing base in the United States is seriously in peril. Many products are made overseas for trifling amounts per item yet they are sold at gilder prices in the U.S. market. The corporate executives say that they have created wealth when in truth they are taking more from the consumer than is deserved and calling it a profit.


Pensions (defined benefit plans) were replaced with inferior 401(k)’s (defined contribution plans). Pay that was held down to account for the pension remains held down and corporations generally do not contribute to the 401(k) plans unless the employee contributes. The cancellation of pensions with these policies led corporations to realize huge profits without any work (the employee suffers a cut in purchasing power instantaneously however).

Health Care “Reform”

The bills in Congress have become so skewed in favor of health care corporations whose bloated bureaucracies eat up 30% of the health care dollar without providing any value (search for my health care “reform” posts for the link for the 30% figure).

Private sector profit used to be tied to value added products. It seems that now the goal is to profit by any means. Because Pearlstein did not address these or other faults of the private sector, it is easy to disregard his column.