Romney, Clear Channel and the Future of America

All you need to know about Mitt Romney, and the plan for America under a Romney administration, is that his creation, Bain Capital, owns the media behemoth Clear Channel, which according to Wikipedia owns 850 radio stations nationally and reaches 110,000,000 Americans every week.

I am sure Mitt Romney would tell you Clear Channel's value is that it efficiently and cost-effectively brings entertainment and news to America, while allowing Bain to make a tidy profit. Similarly for the other companies with which Bain has been involved. Toys "R" Us, another Bain property, for example, has low prices and is responsible for creating jobs, especially at holiday time (according to Wikipedia, Toys "R" Us has 70,000 employees, and 123,000 at the holidays). But in their wake, companies like Clear Channel and Toys "R" Us have left scorched earth as, in the case of Clear Channel, it has consumed community radio stations throughout the country, most recently one of the last independent rock stations in America, Boston's WFNX. Similarly, the volume buying, huge selection and low prices of Bain's Toys "R" Us has helped crush small toy and book stores nationally. But this is nothing new. Its been the issue between corporations like Walmart and local communities for years.

Now think about the Clear Channel-ification of the rest of America, especially public services. What if Romney and Bain, and the Koch brothers, whose company already has revenues of over $100,000,000,000 annually (that's 100 billion dollars in revenue annually), could get their hands on public services? It's not a rhetorical question. It's already happened in corrections and to a large extent in health care. But what about Medicare? Or the American educational system? Are you kidding? I happen to know from personal experience that the town of Lexington, Mass., with a population of 31,000, spends $76,000,000 a year on education. That's more than $200,000 each day. And that's just one town. You don't think this crowd, including the two Koch brothers, one of whom, David, now sits on the board of WGBH, don't want a piece of that action? A chance to move America's kids through an educational system, or provide health care to elders, with Walmart/McDonald's-like efficiency all while making a tidy profit? And I am not sure the intention is evil. To those like Paul Ryan, who for one seems to be a true believer in what he says, and maybe even Mitt Romney, they may believe theirs is the route to a better America, an efficient and cost-effective America, with good jobs for all. That's the same pitch Walmart makes when they come to town.

And so with the Koch brothers looking on, and being so close to getting control of the White House, the question about this election remains what kind of world in which we want to live, and even the future of America is maybe not so much about Obama vs. Romney. Maybe this battle for the hearts and souls of America is more about Clear Channel vs. WFNX. In which world do you want to live?