"Aid for Dependent Corporatcrats"
Published 01 February 2005
(word count: 750)
One good thing about kings and queens and related regalcrats is that once they're crowned they stay crowned. One state coronation per lifetime is enough. Not so with US presidents. Elect one of these powercrats and he gets many multimillion-dollar merrymaking coronation events, going on all over town. Of course, we call this shindig "Inauguration," which is just Americanspeak for "coronation." But re-elect one of these August American Emirs a mere four years later and he expects yet another round of revelry and worship.
Luckily for all us taxpaying Lilliputians who never get invites to these festivities, they're all paid for by big-name, big-buck private donors. Some of the benefactors, like Enron's former president, Dell Computer's founder, ExxonMobil and United Technologies, each upchucked $250,000 from their petty cash cache. Other lesser lights who contributed lesser amounts included Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, General Electric and Microsoft, the latter having apparently learned its antitrust lesson (pony up or get pummeled by the powercrats).
But do American conglomerates really pay for the president's party favors from their own profits, or are they actually pilfering from our pockets?
Here's an experiment: punch up your favorite web-walker and type in the phrase "corporate welfare." Then add to it any of the cognomens of commerce listed above, such as "ExxonMobil" or "General Electric" or a beverage of your choice, "Coca-Cola" or "Anheuser-Busch." Notice how it's almost impossible not to get hundreds of hits linking those two expressions, ofttimes in the same sentence.
So what does all this mean? Not being an erudite econoguru myself, I deferred to the Cato Institute, libertarianism's gift to the world of think-tankism and policy-wonkery. There, in one of their endless arrays of policy studies, reviews, reports, white papers, legal briefs, testimonies and the optimistically entitled Handbook for Congress, was a list of nearly three dozen "Major Corporate Welfare Programs" engaged in giving away our tax money to commercial concerns. These givers of government gelt include the Agricultural Research Service, Export Enhancement Program, Economic Development Administration, US Travel and Tourism Administration and the Bureau of Mines.
Then there are the banks. I don't mean the picayune pecuniary place where you keep your checking account with its three dollar and sixteen cent balance. I don't mean the Big Boy Bank that financed the third mortgage on your house. I'm talking about the Export-Import Bank and the World Bank. Go back to your web-walker and type those two names into the search box along with that quaint expression, "corporate welfare." You may, as did I, find the following quotables:
"… the Export-Import Bank is an example of corporate welfare. It benefits a small number of private businesses at the expense of other businesses and taxpaying citizens." (Cato Institute)
"The [World] Bank's fossil fuel portfolio has nothing to do with poverty-alleviation, and everything to do with corporate welfare in the name of development and globalization." (Institute for Policy Studies)
Even locals love to ladle out the taxloot. To entice Dell Computer to build in their backyard, "Forsyth County and Winston-Salem, N.C., are offering a combined $28 million incentives package." Guilford County chipped in $7.1 million, and the state upped the ante to $242 million in tax breaks. Guilford County Commissioner Billy Yow called it "corporate welfare." (Quotes from Associated Press)
Dell Computer founder Michael S. Dell, remember, bestowed $250,000 upon the Bush coronation.
So let's connect the dots. We have a government, currently run by one re-elected Bush, which collects copious coins from its citizens under the threat of severe penalty (re: IRS), reroutes millions of that money into corporate cashboxes, who in turn (under threat of antitrust busting) churn out checks to champion the re-coronation celebration of one re-elected Bush.
Mainstream mediacrats can't seem to connect the same dots that libertarians do. Take the Chicago Tribune. Its December 28 article on the impending inauguration celebration imparts that the partying will be "… financed by some of the same big donors who bankrolled Bush's re-election campaign." Then, 1,323 words later, it's stated, "The government's expense will be limited to about $3 million."
By "the government's expense" the article means, of course, your and my expense. By "some of the same big donors who bankrolled Bush's re-election campaign" it means, of course, your and my corporate welfare taxbucks.
So the next time you hear those antiglobalization protesters howl, "Capitalism sucks!" try explaining to them that we don't have capitalism, what we have is a kind of Socialist Fascist Marxist Corporatcratic Mercantilism.
We can only wish we had capitalism.
- by Garry Reed