Wrongdoing is all around the town or village and goes relatively unchecked, by a political process by which people who run for office obtain campaign contributions in the form of money or services, even bribes, to ensure the elected official does nothing to interfere with the contributors' wrongdoing and illegal profit-making. Of course, this wrongdoing and illegal profit-making is at the expense of the town's residents and small businesses, but that can't be helped, the contribution-taking officials probably say to themselves, while looking for additional handouts.
The federal and state governments have been immunized to a great extent by the campaign contribution system which has left various laws regulating corporate excesses unenforced, including the nation's antitrust laws, and particularly the antitrust statute known as the Robinson-Patman Act, which prohibits manufacturers from selling to major retailers at lower per-unit prices than the prices being charged at the same time to your town's local businesses (or their supplying wholesalers). As a result, the major retailers buy their goods at about 1/2 the price that the local business pays for the same goods, with the result that most people in the town buy at Wal-Mart to save money and engage in economic suicide for themselves, the town and its small businesses, as sure as night turns into day.
Yet, there are many thousands of lawsuits that any town could bring on behalf of its residents and small businesses, to be structured by a town attorney general to maximize the value of such suits to the small businesses, residents and the town. When these claims against major retailers and their manufacturer/suppliers are brought, the town can expect settlements amounting anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 per family each year, for towns with a population of fewer than 20,000 people. The smaller the population the more money there should be for distribution to each family per year. The reason for this is that 1 person suing could receive $1,000 for example, whereas 1 million suing for the same claim could not expect to receive a settlement of $1 billion (or $1,000 for each of the 1,000,000 plaintiffs). Instead, it is possible that $1-3 million might be the settlement amount if 1 million persons sued, or $1 to $3 per person instead of $1,000 per person.
A recent case against Wal-Mart in California resulted in a $173 million judgment against Wal-Mart for failing to give its workers an unpaid lunch break of 30 minutes. A coalition of towns and villages brought together through their town attorney general (and common objectives) could probably have brought a similar action (assuming that a comparable statute was being violated). There are 100 major retailers operating throughout the United States, which gives a coalition of communities with a town attorney general an effective mechanism to enforce state and federal law against the retailers. The same should be true as to financial institutions, but this is somewhat trickier, because of certain federal legislation that makes it more difficult to apply state law to federal financial institutions. Yet, there are some solid openings, and they should be explored for the benefit of residents. The possibility of a coalition of towns to bring suit for wrongdoing should become effective to stop some of the conduct before it takes place, because it could cost the wrongdoer more than it would gain from the conduct. Five hundred towns could certainly put together damages greater than than awarded in the California case. If the number of employees per town averaged 232, the 500 towns and villages would have the same total number of employees (116,000). Here is CNN's description of the jury award:
The world's largest retailer was ordered to pay $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages to about 116,000 current and former California employees for violating a 2001 state law that requires employers to give 30-minute, unpaid lunch breaks to employees who work at least six hours.
My concept for the town attorney general is developed in my website at My Town Attorney General Website. I wrote this website after writing about this idea in my book, Saving Main Street and Its Retailers. My final chapter of this book summarizes the idea pretty well, and I'm making a Word file of this Chapter 30 available to you by link Chapter 30 - Final Chapter - of Saving Main Street and Its Retailers.
Imagine the saleability to voters of having a way in which the voters can get an annual return of some of the money being stolen from them by major corporations and a corrupt political system. I am willing to travel to your town to meet with voters or elected officials to try to encourage them to appoint a town attorney general or at least to support the idea.
For anyone who has been prosecuted unfairly in a criminal proceeding, the town attorney general represents a way to correct the massive abuse now taking place throughout the nation in the criminal justice area. I have four websites devoted to prosecutorial abuse in various forms, see Abuse Website; Criminal Website; Forfeit Website; and Plea Bargaining Website. I have worked hard trying to correct the evils I perceive without any success. But the use of a town attorney general would be able to reduce the amount of prosecutorial abuse in an area. The community would want more emphasis in civil prosecutions (for money) against major corporations and their manufacturer/suppliers and less criminal prosecution that costs the taxpayers money and to a great extent is done for the self-aggrandizement of the criminal prosecutor, who is looking to achieve political goals. Look at New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer who, as an attorney general (state type) is now running for Governor of New York and is considered to be a frontrunner as a candidate for the presidency. Where are the criminal prosecutors?