Author Archives: Jim Hightower

This pandemic can bring us together

The actual disease of our country is not a pathogen, but the widening separation of rich elites from the rest of us.

Suddenly, “social distancing” is our new national etiquette, abruptly supplanting handshakes, hugs, gatherings, and other forms of ingrained communal behavior by us humans. Continue reading

The opposite of progressivism? Pessimism

Polls show broad support for progressive ideas. So why aren’t more progressives voting for them?

There’s a short-circuit in the political convictions of some progressive-minded voters these days. Continue reading

Trump’s Afghanistan ‘peace deal’ is anything but

Why is there still fighting? Because our leaders don’t understand Afghanistan—and keep using military force when it won’t do any good.

When dealing in matters of war and peace, shouldn’t a president sort of know what he or she is doing? But that’s not Donald Trump’s way. Continue reading

The lie of health care ‘choice’

In our corporate-run health system, consumer ‘choices’ are shaped entirely by profit-seeking monopolists.

Lyndon Johnson had a saying about special interests trying to get his support to pass some blatantly self-serving legislation: “They can’t make chicken salad out of chicken (bleep)!” Continue reading

The embarrassing fall of Trump’s wall

A climbing group in Kentucky built a replica of Trump’s wall. One climber topped it in 13 seconds. Another did it while juggling.

Big, high walls can be troublesome. Ask Humpty Dumpty. Continue reading

The truth about corporate philanthropists

If they can ‘give back’ so much, it’s probably because they’ve been taking too much.

Our society has coined expressions like “philanthropist” to encourage and hail people’s charitable spirit. Continue reading

America’s rich refugee crisis

The prospect of a 2 percent tax on wealth over $50 million has rich Americans considering expatriating.

This is a make or break year for many migrants seeking to improve their families’ financial conditions. They say they’re being persecuted in their homeland, yet they fear being vilified for crossing the border. What to do? Continue reading

Rich and clueless? Buy a $500,000 armored car

If you’ve got more money than you can spend, you can spend your extra wealth on… guarding your extra wealth.

I’m guessing that being rich is a comfortable feeling—no money worries, you’re set for life! But is it possible that being too rich can be too much, even discombobulating? Continue reading

How do billionaires make money? By having money already

The world’s billionaires don’t grow their bank accounts with hard work. Their money does the work for them.

As Ray Charles wailed in a song of true-life blues: “Them that’s got is them that gets/And I ain’t got nothin’ yet.” Continue reading

Felonious democracy

The leaders of our democracy don’t actually like it when people participate, but Americans are a rebellious bunch

The awful truth about the corporate and governmental power elites in our democratic society is that they really don’t like democracy at all. They prefer to rule by buying lawmakers, hiring lobbyists, running Orwellian PR campaigns, and relying on authoritarian police power to control people. Continue reading

A holiday gift to the people, from the people

How small shrimpers in Texas beat a giant polluting corporation—just in time for the holidays.

It’s good to have a happy-ending story for the holidays—one that’s not sugar-plum sappy, but genuinely uplifting. Continue reading

Who’s afraid of Medicare for All?

Not ordinary Democrats or independents—just insurance companies, lobbyists, and old-line politicians.

We might expect that corporate billionaires and Koch-funded Republican right-wingers would be howl-at-the-moon opponents of a wealth tax, Medicare-for-All, and other big progressive ideas to help improve the circumstances of America’s workaday majority. Continue reading

How Trump’s poverty subsidy enriches the rich

This is how corporate and political elites conspire to rig the system, blatantly ripping off money meant to help poor people to make the rich richer.

Years ago, a Texas legislator who was occasionally known to take lobbyists’ cash in exchange for a vote, explained his ethical framework as opportunistic: “I seen my chances, and I took ‘em.” Continue reading

CEOs promise to protect us from… CEOs?

Nearly 200 CEOs signed a letter admitting businesses have behaved badly but offering zero promises to do better.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote of being leery of a fast-talking huckster who visited his home: “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons,” Emerson quipped. Continue reading

Waiting on the wealthy

Low-wage jobs catering to the wealthiest Americans are now growing twice as fast as other jobs.

Are you there yet? Continue reading

You’re paying Big Oil to pollute

Big oil companies are drilling public oil for free, thanks to a ‘temporary’ loophole that’s stayed open for 25 years.

The one thing you never want to hear your dentist say is “oops!” It’s also alarming to hear from a former U.S. senator—25 years after he passed a temporary oil subsidy for Big Oil. Continue reading

Trump to small farmers: Get lost

As hundreds of Wisconsin dairy farms go under, the White House is telling them to clear out for the big guys.

Donald Trump’s idea of a good farm program seems to be “Hee Haw.” Continue reading

Mega merger, mega mess

Corporate takeovers and consolidations aren’t just bad morals, but bad business too.

Here’s a recipe for you: Chop up some Oscar Mayer wieners, stir in Heinz ketchup, blend with Cool Whip and Maxwell House Coffee, sprinkle Planters peanuts over the mixture, add A.1. Steak Sauce, then top it with Cheez Whiz and blast it in the microwave. Continue reading

Tell Kroger they’d better carry your local paper

With no warning or consultation, the giant grocery chain banished local papers from its stores. No way!

Like most politicians, corporate executives never do anything wrong. If anything wrong does “happen,” it’s always someone else’s fault. Continue reading

Big business won’t save us from itself

Nearly 200 CEOs have signed a pledge to ‘do better’ than serving their own greed. How? They won’t say.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote of being leery of a fast-talking huckster who visited his home: “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons,” Emerson exclaimed. Continue reading

Predator of our public lands

The man Trump charged with protecting our public lands doesn’t believe we should have any.

For generations, our country has been Mother Nature’s steward, setting aside and protecting important expanses of public lands for posterity. But what if these lands and natural resources suddenly got a “steward” who was a predator, rather than a protector? Continue reading

Just who got Trump’s farm bailouts?

Rich families cashed in on over half the bailout money set aside for farmers hurt by Trump’s trade policies.

Donald Trump loves farmers. We know this because he says so. “Farmers, I LOVE YOU!” he declared in December. Continue reading

Where’s the beef in NAFTA 2.0?

Trump’s new trade deal would encourage multinational meat packers to abandon America’s family ranchers.

“MAGA,” blusters Donald Trump—Make America Great Again! Continue reading

The other Mexican migration

Thousands of people cross the U.S.-Mexico border for health care every day—and they’re headed south, not north.

You probably haven’t heard about it, but there’s another mass migration coming across the U.S.-Mexico border. Continue reading

What Trump really wants at the border

Trump doesn’t want a wall—he wants a crisis, even if he has to cause it himself.

The most ridiculous thing about Donald Trump’s xenophobic, demagogic assault on Central American amnesty seekers is that his frantic demand to build a $5 billion border wall isn’t his most ridiculous ploy. Continue reading

America’s other desperate caravan

While Trump demonizes Central Americans, he ignores those desperate U.S. citizens also driven north—to Canada—by drug prices.

While Donald Trump fans the embers of xenophobia in our country by demonizing caravans of desperate Central Americans headed north, there are other northern-bound caravans he doesn’t mention. Continue reading

Democrats, grow a spine

Fighting progressive policies most Americans support will lose you ‘centrist’ votes, not gain them.

Unfortunately, an exotic flu epidemic has broken out in Washington, D.C. Dubbed the “Canadian Hot Sauce Flu,” it uniquely afflicts a particular group of Democratic officeholders and operatives. Continue reading

Congress loves socialized health care—for itself

Members can walk straight into a Capitol Hill clinic, get treated without insurance, and count on taxpayers to cover the tab.

For $3.5 trillion a year, shouldn’t we Americans have a world-class health care system? Yet while we spend the most of any advanced nation in the world to get care—more than $10,000 a year per person—we get the worst results. Continue reading

CEOs got an $800k raise last year. Did you?

Ordinary workers now have to work centuries—or even millennia—to make what their CEOs make in a year.

Congratulations on that nice pay raise you got last year. A 7 percent hike—wow! Continue reading

If corporations have rights, so does nature

A whopping 61 percent of Toledo’s voters said ‘yes’ to recognizing legally enforceable rights for the natural world.

From the very start of our nation, the most popular forum for debating and shaping our democratic rights was not stately legislative halls, but rowdy beer halls. Continue reading

Putting Good Samaritans behind bars

Border authorities arrested a Texas woman for stopping to help bedraggled teenagers who desperately needed it.

Let us now contemplate the morality tale of the Good Samaritan. Continue reading

‘Made in America,’ in China

The president pretends to stand up for manufacturing workers while kowtowing to corporations that flagrantly violate Made-in-America laws.

What’s the matter with Donald and The Trumpeteers? Why won’t they stand up for the American workers and business owners who make their products right here in the United States? Continue reading