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There is nothing more powerful, nothing more feared, and nothing more sovereign than simple, unsullied truth. When I was a kid, my father drilled those ideals into my head. “Shoot it to me straight,” he’d say. “The only thing worth anything is the truth.”
Welcome to another episode of Plain Truth.
I want to start the show today by telling you about my old friend, Gus. He was the owner of a small repair shop that I’d frequent whenever my HOV or ship was acting up. Over the years, we got to know each other pretty well. I’d inquire about his wife and kids, and he’d asked questions about the big stories of the day. Soon I noticed my repairs taking longer and longer just so our conversations would dig deeper.
Gus might not have been the best mechanic in the system, but he was honest, fair and hardworking. That’s why I was stunned and saddened when he confided in me that he needed to close the shop. I asked him why and Gus, being a proud man, initially joked the whole thing off. Instead, he tried talking about how thankful he was that he could finally get some good fishing in, but I knew that wasn’t the reason. Turns out the answer was staring me in the face the entire time, and I didn’t even notice it.
Two years ago a brand spanking new, Xi’an-owned CTR station opened nearby. I passed by it on my daily commute, but never stopped because Gus was my guy. Unfortunately for Gus, many of his other regulars weren’t as loyal. Before he knew it, business had slowed to a trickle, and Gus couldn’t cover his operating costs. He laid off his few employees, saved credits wherever he could, but it still wasn’t enough. The only thing Gus could do to avoid sinking into debt was close up shop and find another way to support his family.
Gus’s story is just one example of how shifts in UEE trade policy are having a devastating effect on the Citizens and civilians of this Empire. After the recent announcement of HuXa, the proposed Human-Xi’an trade agreement, I fear that stories like Gus’s will only become more and more common, and Xi’an businesses will continue to push out small, family-run operations.
So, I decided to sit down and read HuXa in its entirety, all 10,000-plus pages of it, to grasp exactly how it would affect our economy. After weeks researching the bill, I was only more confused than when I had started. That first night after I finished it, I couldn’t even sleep. My head was spinning from all the questions I still had. HuXa is far from the first piece of legislation that I’ve read and analyzed, but it’s easily the most incomprehensible, a fact I find extremely worrying — and so should you.
To put it plainly, Costigan and his team of so-called negotiators have buried the truth beneath a mound of bureaucratic bullshit and legal doublespeak. I’m sure the administration would claim the bill’s complexity only reflects the difficulty in crafting a xeno-trade deal, but I’m not convinced. I mean, look how many times the UEE has renegotiated our trade accord with the Banu and it’s never been this overwhelmingly complex. When something’s this much of a maze to navigate, it’s clearly trying to make sure people get lost. Just what could Costigan be trying to hide? Turns out, I’m not the only one worried about what’s going on here.
Amihan Hebden is an economic expert and editor of the Individualist. She’s also been studying HuXa since its release, and is deeply concerned about what its effect will be on the UEE economy. Thanks for being here, Amihan. Always great to have you on the show.
Amihan Hebden: My pleasure.
Let’s get right to it. The sheer complexity of HuXa is staggering. What do regular, everyday Citizens and civilians need to know about this bill?
Amihan Hebden: While it claims to open up trade between the two cultures, the reality is that it provides massive benefits to only a select few. If you don’t fall under those parameters, then get ready to be frozen out.
Basically, what happened to my old friend Gus, but on an even larger scale. With HuXa in place, even more Xi’an mega-corps will begin to carve up every corner of our Empire, and tragically undercut local, family businesses.
Amihan Hebden: Exactly. The Jysho Corporation had to jump through a number of legal hoops and go through Senate committees to get the appropriate business licenses when they wanted their CTR stations to operate within UEE space. Included in those reviews were economic impact reports that took into consideration how their appearance on a particular planet and in a particular system would affect the local economy. If HuXa passes, none of that would be taken into consideration anymore.
We’d basically be throwing the economic door wide open and letting them stroll right in.
Amihan Hebden: While letting even more of our credits flow out of the Empire, potentially making us even more dependent on the Xi’an going forward.
What’s really going on here? Does the Costigan administration just not care for the little guy, or is there something more nefarious at play?
Amihan Hebden: Is it any surprise that an initiative pushed by Imperator Costigan will benefit his close friends and corporate backers?
Well, I can’t say it comes as much of a shock. Kelos Costigan has had, one might say, a cushy relationship with the lobbyists, board members and CEOs that make up the corporatocracy that’s been basically dictating economic policy ever since his days as High Secretary.
Amihan Hebden: Agreed.
All right. So, bottom line, moment of truth time, what can everyday business owners do if HuXa passes, to ensure they don’t get left behind?
Amihan Hebden: Learn to speak Xi’an. Seriously. Many of the UEE’s biggest companies — like Hurston, ArcCorp and Behring — are already headhunting for personnel fluent in Xi’an to negotiate trade deals and lend-lease agreements with Xi’an companies. I’m sure having a basic understanding of Xi’an would also be beneficial to haulers and other small time operators, since economic ties only appear to be getting stronger between the two species.
Or our dedicated listeners could get out the word that everyone needs to contact their senators to oppose HuXa.
Amihan Hebden: That’s the best course of action, stopping it before it starts. Not that I’m personally opposed to all trade with the Xi’an. I just feel like this bill is too much, too fast.
We’re going to need to take a quick break and I’d urge all of you to stick around. This is an issue that will impact every Citizen and civilian, so it’s important that you understand this very complicated proposal. When we come back, we’ll talk out some of the complexities this treaty will need to navigate to make its way through the Senate, and how it would play out if passed. That and more when Plain Truth returns.