The Maryland Public Policy Institute
Everybody is out to get theirs. Nowhere is this more evident than in the public sector, where powerful individuals and corporations will resort to all manner of underhanded tactics to carve out a bigger piece of the pie for themselves.
There was a time when I used to think that grassroots protests were some of the only movements you could trust. They were organizations “of the people” – not financed by any major corporation or sponsored by any particular political party. It all seemed like one of the last ways that the common man still had a voice.
Then I started reading about all the dirty tactics that viral marketers have been using for years to promote products, businesses, and ideas via the internet and “spontaneous” displays in public by “regular people.” And then I read this article in the Wall Street Journal about how rival businesses will secretly fund so-called grassroots opposition to Wal-Mart just so they won’t lose market share. Reading that one was truly a “through the looking glass” kind of moment.
It’s like finding out that Santa Claus isn’t real. Once you know that, you’re skeptical of everything. And once you know the depths that businesses will go to keep their profits up, it’s hard to read stories like this one: “TV ad claims MGM has ties to Chinese mob.”
Does MGM really have ties to the Chinese mob? I don’t know. But if so, how come they’re not the subject of a massive FBI investigation? Why are we instead just hearing about it in a low-budget TV commercial? They’re only one of the biggest gambling companies in the world. You’d think that would merit a little investigation and maybe a story or two on the news.
But even Arnold Jolivet, managing director of the MD Minority Contractors Association and the man who signed off on the commercial, admitted that it’s all just “an assertion.” In fact, his main concern is how many minority contractors would be hired to build a casino in PG County – should one end up being built.
In other words: he’s doing anything and everything he can to make sure he gets his. And he’s willing to go along with a smear campaign (no doubt financed by other local casinos or other companies bidding on the National Harbor contract) to get it.
This is the kind of dirty business that we invited into our state when our government’s spending so far outpaced tax revenues that we decided to legalize gambling. I’m not saying it was a mistake. But it certainly is complicated. And this is only beginning.
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