[This is an opinion piece written by an author in the full liberty of first amendment rights, especially freedom of speech and press.]

GM’s latest move to screw American workers in favor of foreign labor seems about par for the ever scandalous corporate world intent on scratching its own back and filling its coffers.  Rumors abound that UAW leaders have indicated it was a political move to curry votes in the Midwest (where the plants are) by making Trump look bad.  Allegedly Barra (GM CEO) was lobbied by Obama and Democrat leaders.  (It’s pretty well-known she was on Hillary’s short list for Vice President.)  I’m still waiting for confirmation or denial of those rumors.

The reason Trump is so wildly popular (despite media propaganda), is because he resonates with the backbone of America:  its blue collar workers, who also happen to be people who understand the liberties that cost our forefathers their reputations, their material goods, even their lives.  He dares to speak to them and for them.  As the curtains keep getting pulled back, we rediscover that Corporate America is grossly un-American.

In the curious case of Cargill vs. WDS, Inc., it seems we have a lawsuit because WDS made too much money and Cargill could not, in good conscience, let that go by.  It appears that Cargill contracted a warehouse distribution company [a small business] to warehouse various items, but upon their contract renewal, after the small business had invested in warehouses and a hundred jobs and had everything to lose, Cargill placed within their new contract that the small business could not profit more than ten percent on their goods.

This small business, a startup partnership, had built their small, minority owned distribution business over the eight years, winning various awards in the industry.  Cargill was not their only customer or contract, but it was their largest customer.  As time progressed, this small business found line items not specified in the contract and charged an increased profit margin, while still selling the items below cost to Cargill.  An audit in 2015 revealed the discrepancy to Cargill, who then pulled the contract on WDS.  Cargill phased out their contract over the next six months, and Cargill stopped paying their invoices (to the tune of over $2 million) to WDS on goods WDS had already purchased under contract and delivered to Cargill.  Seeing as though WDS is not a multi-billion dollar business, they could not sustain such loss, which caused WDS to liquidate and cease to exist.

…Which further caused fifteen warehouses across twelve states and two provinces to close and over a hundred jobs to be lost.  Why?  Because Cargill would not have a small business profiting over their demand of ten percent profit.

Was this about correction or destruction?  It seems Cargill was uninterested in correcting an alleged wrong, but would not rest until they destroyed the small business and its owners.  It’s not that WDS stole; it’s that they made too much profit doing business with Cargill.  And according to Cargill and the “law”, that must be severely punished.

WDS maintained that the items profiting over ten percent fell outside of the contract, while Cargill refuted this.  Cargill’s solution was then to sue WDS for $35 million, then slap a RICO suit on top of that, call in some bullying favors to the Feds for a federal investigation, and tie up WDS in litigation, investigations and suits.

And there you have it, just another small business raped by an American corporation and left to die.  Why?  Because Cargill could not have a small business making a profit margin over their demands.

But this is all legal in America, and the law will most likely fall on the side of Cargill, because the letter of the law can be litigated and manipulated.  Sure the principle is wrong.  Sure it’s anti-American.  But apparently it’s the system we live in, and those with the deepest pockets and friends in the highest places usually win.

[Personally, I hope the battle weary owners of WDS “Erin Brokovich” the {expletive} out of this.  The average American is sick of these games and the rewarding of money-lusting corporations.]

Never mind RICO was designed to fight organized crime, and this was just a small business running warehouse goods to and from their customers.  Never mind there was no extortion, bribery, kidnapping, murder, money laundering, slavery or any of the horrendous practices of organized crime.  RICO is awful convenient now for the big corporations to tack on to their lawsuits to cripple and destroy their (sometimes newfound) adversaries.  And when you’re a multi-billion dollar corporation like Cargill, you have the money for the lawyers and the legal actions to make such things happen.  (It sure pays to tack on that RICO lawsuit, because when you tack on a RICO suit the final judgment can be tripled.  So that $35M just multiplied to $105M just like that.)

(RICO was actually formed to “combat long-running criminal organizations”, not as a tool for corporations to annihilate misdeeds in the small business sector.)

Never mind WDS extended excellent customer service to Cargill, made less than ten percent margin on a myriad of items, and did not charge for exorbitant efforts at great personal cost to WDS to keep Cargill plants up and running when Cargill plants had their own urgent emergencies.  Maybe the now obsolete WDS can counter-sue Cargill for the profit margins they had UNDER ten percent, for the personal expense of flying chartered jets with supplies Cargill needed to keep a plant up and running, outside the parameters of the contract, for the countless efforts of the “little man” who worked a double shift, drove a thousand miles to deliver a part, and missed time with their own family.  Is there any compensation for WDS for personal loss, for going above and beyond the requirements of a contract?  Because in the spirit of integrity, that’s how this small business conducted its business.

I don’t really understand how the fourth richest American family with a net worth of $45 billion dollars can sleep at night knowing their greed to prevent small businesses from making “too much” profit is destroying the free enterprise spirit of small businesses and entrepreneurs, and reinforcing socialistic ideologies of controlled profit.  Apparently the Cargill-MacMillan family includes fourteen billionaires.  I wonder how many billionaires WDS is comprised of?  (Ah yes, that would be zero.)

According to the article cited above,

The Cargill-MacMillan family wealth was shared by an estimated 23 members, including 14 billionaires. They own 88% of agribusiness giant Cargill Inc, America’s largest private company, with $128bn in yearly revenues.

Apparently a corporation raking in $128 billion a year cannot afford to share the wealth with the small fish in the pond.  [Enter a Bernie Sanders’ version of Socialism:  the middle class cannot make a profit greater than the elite’s preferable margin, but the elite can make what they want.]  Check if you will, if the products Cargill sells meet their ten percent or less profit margin.  According to this Forbes’ article, over the last decade their sales have doubled in comparison to the meager 31% growth of S&P 500s revenue.  I seriously doubt they rake in their billions with a profit margin less than ten percent.

And hypocrisy of hypocrisy, Cargill has been sued for rigging prices for high fructose corn syrup, underpaying hog farmers, fixing prices on paint resin, conspiring to keep road salt artificially high (resulting in $50 million of “ill-gotten gains”), among a whole host of other suits.  Apparently the ethics barometer doesn’t favor Cargill on its own front either.

No, it was not enough that Cargill destroyed a small business; they have set out to destroy the people themselves.  The lawsuit with a $105 million RICO judgment has destroyed the entrepreneurs, their families, and their reputations.  They will have the stigma of a “fraudulent” law suit judgment against them, with a penalty they will physically be unable to pay, causing bankruptcy and all kinds of ruin. Their personal property has been seized and they have been made slaves to the judgment.   But that was the intent, wasn’t it?  Because if the intent is to rectify contract disagreements, that can be settled without murdering and burying the one you’re in disagreement with.

But again, this is not the corporate America way.  While Cargill’s actions of stymying free enterprise, litigating profit margins, and suing to punish offenders are legal, they are very, very un-American.  While Cargill may very well bury the offending party under attorney fees and lawsuits, Americans who believe in the principles of free enterprise, who understand fair profit on supply and demand, and building painstakingly from the ground up, are not so empathetic toward the multi-billionaire corporations whose god is the almighty dollar.  We have a hard time heckling the underdog.  We like the Cinderella stories of the odds being against you and the man or woman of integrity overcoming the empire-building mogul.

If Cargill and their ilk were genuinely interested in investing in America and Americans, they would count it a privilege to work with small businesses and foster growth for the average American small business and the men and women they represent, instead of the billionaire CEOs.  But alas, I suppose these are the ills of capitalism gone awry.  The rich get richer, and then they make sure no one else can expand on their watch.  Not really a team sport, huh?  [And for added bonus, I’d challenge you to find the small business Cargill contracted to replace WDS and see if their terms are healthy and beneficial for them, or if they are under the weight of suffocating “terms” as well.]

The idea of capitalism is a free market, where the supply and demand are cogs in the wheel that make the whole machine run.  Competition enhances the marketplace, makes better products and better companies.  Small businesses embody the American free enterprise and capitalism spirits.  Small businesses are generally more in tune with their communities and their employees’ lives.  They are unable to provide the big perks of corporations, but they encapsulate the spirit of America.

Socialism operates under the prevailing attitude of equal is better, at the cost of creativity, cause and effect, hard work and sacrifice.  It seeks to hamstring competition by controlling the outcome through limits and restrictions.  Socialism is a counter to capitalism regarding the economy.  Corporations love capitalism when it comes to their personal gain, but love socialism when it comes to their bank accounts and the competition.  It’s not necessarily that corporate owners are socialists, it’s just that they employ socialistic attitudes to benefit their coffers, not the general public.  And as Lenin so bluntly pointed out, “The goal of socialism is communism.”

Corporations like Cargill and dozens of others utilize capitalism when it benefits them, and socialism when it benefits them.  Lord Acton said it like this, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Cargill’s 88% ownership of agribusiness may very well be an excellent example of this.  We could list the major industry corporations and probably see the exact same model.  At what point is a corporation going to pull up the brakes and examine the damage they’re doing to America and Americans?  What will it take?  How many other small business men and women will get caught in corporate cross-fire of profiting?  How many more small businesses and the people they represent must be buried under their corporate greed?

In a Clinton America, this makes sense.  The strong devour the weak; the big guy bullies the little guy.  Journalists who expose truths that compromise power players end up dead, injured, unemployed, or in financial ruin.  (or their pets get poisoned, there’s also that)  In a Clinton America, the ones with the most toys, biggest bank accounts, best lawyers, highest friends, win.  But it’s not supposed to be like this in a Trump America, where the idea is the middle class sector can thrive and the lower class sector gets better opportunities.  The small businesses can grow.  Trump’s America isn’t supposed to be about the rich getting richer, and everyone else, well, as long as they don’t hinder the elite plans, they can still breathe…  No, it’s make America great again.  And America is comprised of every class and every sector, every creed and every color.

On the eve of a revival in the business sector of America, wouldn’t it be great if corporations demonstrated a genuine American spirit?  Wouldn’t it go a long way if the billionaires raking in their billions actually took care of their employees and their contractors, and edified the American spirit instead of disfiguring it?  Could there not be an overhaul of the current judicial system that allows corporations to destroy those in their path that don’t acquiesce to all of their rules?

If Cargill has been wronged (by a rigged system to keep them almighty), why isn’t restitution enough?  Why must they use trumped up power-grabbing acts (like RICO) to really twist the bayonet in their already dying offenders?  Why isn’t restitution enough?  Why is destruction the end goal?

I suppose my lament is when will we pull up the stops?  Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right – anymore than just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  We’re a nation of laws who on a good day and with good people, intend to make good laws; but on a bad day and with immoral or shortsighted people, make bad laws.  And we have a mixture of good and bad laws that people in power use to obtain their desired outcome.

I suppose I am longing for the day when we do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do, and not because it’s right for me.  I’m going to guess it wasn’t “legal” for the small business to extend their profits outside of the designated ten percent profit margin, even if there was gray area in the contract, and even if they could still serve their customer with utmost care and at a lower cost.  Maybe Cargill and other corporations don’t mean to slip into socialism ideology when they litigate the “little people’s” profit margin.  Maybe there’s some code of business ethics I’m missing out on.

Or maybe the corporations like Cargill and their ilk could reevaluate their principles.  Maybe the propped up, worn out, worthless fiat dollar isn’t what it’s all about.  Maybe in the spirit of America, we can each, every one of us, evaluate just what that (the spirit of America) means.  When did my personal gain come at my neighbor’s expense?  I realize the who’s who in business, politics and entertainment maintain that standard, but maybe if the backbone of this nation, its ordinary citizens doing ordinary things were to challenge it, refuse to turn away the next time its ugliness takes out another, refuse to harden our hearts at the increasing selfishness and greed of an apathetic group of players, maybe we could turn the tide.  Maybe we could reinforce and then emulate the true American spirit.  Maybe it’s worth a try.

© 2018 Ms. Smallback – All Rights Reserved

E-Mail Ms. Smallback: M.Smallback@cox.net

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