An online tool launched by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) on Tuesday provides an in-depth look into the multinational corporations behind the privatization of public services across the U.S..
CMD, the creators of ALECexposed.org—a web resource that shines a light on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its dealings with U.S. lawmakers—says the new web-tool, OutsourcingAmericaEXPOSED.org, will provide weekly "corporate profiles of America’s most notorious corporations that are quietly working with state and local lawmakers to take over public services with little accountability."
"Across the country, for-profit companies are engaged in a hostile takeover of our schools, roads, prisons, drinking water, and even local government itself," said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the CMD, adding that the "project will give taxpayers the tools they need to identify these privatizers and profiteers, their eye-popping salaries, and the raw deals contained in their contracts that puts taxpayers on the hook, and it will tell taxpayers how they can take back control of public assets and public services."
Some of these privatizers, as highlighted recently by CMD, include for-profit prison corporations who enter into contracts with state governments that ensure profits through mandated "lock-up quotas." If a state enters into one of these contracts and fails to incarcerate the number of prisoners required by the quota, the private prison company can seek financial retribution from that state. This forced compensation falls on the taxpayers.
Such private prison companies, including Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group, will be highlighted in CMD's new site tool with other corporations from around the world that seek to privatize U.S. public services.
The site's first corporate profile is that of Sodexo, a French multinational that supplies food to school kids, soldiers, universities, public hospitals, and other governmental entities. According to CMD, Sodexo "has a lengthy record of paying workers poverty wages, overcharging clients, opposing unions, and violating food and safety standards."
Accompanying CMD's new resource is this video created by cartoonist Mark Fiore, which offers a colorful explanation of the privatization deals being made across the country (above). - Jacob Chamberlain