Friday, October 23, 2009

Further Reflections on Ohio Issue 2

My reflections on Issue 2 are through the prism of sovereignty — what we are rapidly losing on virtually all fronts as executives and legislators willingly give up their authority on the one hand and business corporations shielding themselves under rules, laws, constitutions, and international agreements as having “rights” on the other -- with the public further disempowered. My view is that Issue 2 is an example of all the above — with the unelected Livestock Board becoming a de facto 4th branch of Ohio government.

The General Assembly doesn’t need a constitutional amendment to the state constitution to acquire final say on anything — they already possess that authority. If there is concern that a there are too many regulatory agencies concerning different facets of livestock oversight, they simply pass a law combining/consolidating such oversight into one agency — and increasing public input. Better still would be to restore the intention of those who founded Ohio and this nation — direct oversight and control of corporations and their actions by legislatures, that is, no separate regulatory agency powers and no privatizing/corporatizing of state and natural assets or public functions.

Proposing a constitutional amendment on anything is a serious matter as it locks in rules, requirements and protocols. One has to ask why basic regulatory functions overseen by an elected body (namely the General Assembly) needs embedding into the state constitution? What’s next? Will transportation interests push for a constitutional amendment claiming they need a Governor-appointed body to oversee transportation policies beyond the direct reach of the General Assembly? Energy interests? Rehabilitation and corrections interests? The list of current state functions is potentially endless.

Making changes to the Livestock Board and its authority if there are problems if Issue 2 passes will only be possible through another constitutional amendment — which will be opposed with as much money by corporate livestock interests as they are currently investing for its passage. The fact that corporations back this thing with as much money as they do should raise all sorts of red “in whose ultimate interests will this serve” flags.

At a time when privatizing/corporatizing almost every sphere of our lives is in rapid motion, I’m just not in favor of any law, edict, mandate, manifesto...or constitutional amendment...that reduces the ability of the public or their elected representatives to make decisions, that diminishes the dignity of each and every person whose voice is being increasingly drowned out in our society by the voices of money and power. Handing over authority to an unelected oversight body whose functions will be legitimized and grounded in the state constitution (not to mention further moved from public input than other alternatives) is to me exactly the opposite direction we need to move.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your article and its intent to keep Ohio farming free of government monopoloy. Issue 2 seeks to further the corporatization of farming in Ohio, at the expense of the family farmer and entrepeneur, by seeking an amendment to the Ohio Constitution to create a corporate board named the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board for the purpose of circumventing existing law for corporate benefit.

    Everyone knows that free enterprise is good because freedom is good. But how many of us know that in a free market, there are no corporations? That's right, only government can step in and say that a business owner is no longer responsible for his actions in the market, but an artificial person called a corporation will be responsible instead. Corporations are creations of the State and as such behave as ineffeciently and as bureaucratic as their parent - the State. They cannot survive in the free market without aid from their parent, for example U.S. Steel (a corporation)sought out protective tariffs and price increases after buying out Carnegie Steel (a private non-corporate steelmaker) and more recently General Motors ran to their parent - the State, for protection from their suicidal actions in the market. Please keep corporations from using the cudgel of government against family farmers, please vote NO on Issue 2.