It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon on Long Island; I had some spare time so I decided to watch a movie. I settled on a documentary called Park Avenue on Netflix. The basic concept… corporate lobbying owns the US government, was neither surprising nor original, but it got me thinking about something I had taken notice of recently.
I’ve been following FWD.us in its progression on Facebook, as it has gained 90,000 followers on a matter of weeks. I began to take serious notice when I realized how hard they were pressing for one issue, immigration reform. FWD.us is a new political lobbying entity started by Mark Zuckerberg, and one of its main agendas was the passage of a comprehensive immigration policy that allowed skilled foreign workers to enter into the US.
Champions of immigration reform are celebrating after the victory in the US senate this week. Yet, there has been little mention of the main player who sought to put bi-partisan lobbying support behind the legislation. How could a comprehensive immigration reform be passed in the Senate when the system has been completely dysfunctional, especially as the ideas on the issue are as divided as any other subject in America? Maybe I am a bit slow, but the pieces worked themselves together in my brain: FWD.us.
The Park Avenue movie clearly defined the thinking and the entities behind the rise of the 1% in America. Libertarian ideals hold to small government and non-existent regulation on corporate entities. It explored the Koch brothers and their menagerie of lobbying groups and research efforts that support their Libertarian philosophy and continue to drive American legislation, or perhaps I should say a planned legislative dysfunction.
It got me thinking about something I have wondered about on SJS: what will our new corporate giants, companies such as Facebook and Google, stand for? FWD.us is comprised of a collection of these new powerful corporate interests. The new immigration campaign they wagered is not without its faults. It is clearly biased towards finding a path for the best and brightest that humanity has to offer. Such language can bring some doubt as to whether this powerful new entity will be on the side of the common man or not.
FWD.us’ website has this to say about their plans for the future.
- Comprehensive immigration reform that allows for the hiring of the best and brightest.
- Education reforms that produce more graduates in the science, technology and math fields and ensure all children receive a high quality education from effective teachers and accountable schools.
- Support for scientific research, which seeds the future innovation of our knowledge economy, and breakthrough developments.
It seems to be a mixture of both, but ambiguous at best. This is the same state we are left with the new immigration bill. It calls for a path to citizenship, but also will waste resources on fences and border patrols that resemble a pathological American insistance on ignoring the dangers of creating its own Berlin Wall. Not to mention its complete dismissal of the US role in the collapse of the Mexican economy, or the fact that investing in Mexico would be a better policy toward curbing immigration from South America. There are provisions in the Bill for low-skilled workers as well as high skilled workers, but there is certainly a self-interest force in play here. Who stands to benefit from an influx of high-skilled workers into the US? Who stands to benefit from an educational system that pushes aside humanities for Math and science? Companies such as Facebook and Google, companies that are the backbone of FWD.us.
This is not to say I disagree with their platform, this might very well indicate a turning point in the American economy that leads to more employment and a more stable work-force. It might be the changing of the guard from an industrialized nation to one that focuses exclusively on our technological future.
Is FWD.us going to act as a counterforce to Libertarian lobbying groups in Washington? It’s hard to believe that any such entity would opt for greater regulation on their corporate cash machines. Still, it is certainly something new and something to monitor. I would say it remains a possibility and only the sophisticated brain of its architect, Mr. Zuckerberg, knows for sure. The establishment of FWD.us marks the potential for some hope that the US Congress might start learning how to govern effectively again. Even if they do not have the common citizens interests at heart, if they can throw enough money at fiscally conservative Republicans perhaps they can start to meet their equally fiscally conservative Democratic cousins in the middle of the aisle, then who knows what the future for American politics holds.
By: Matt Cohen
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