The U.S. government has used favorable legislation for selected industries and for war funding ostensibly for the benefit American people. The risks incurred have fallen squarely on the public purse and the U.S. economy when the advantages of socializing risk disappear in the desert like a mirage. In the case of war socializing the cost has been normal, but question is should it be born equally by rich and poor alike, and just as importantly ought leaders have impunity when they have misled the country so grievously. We live in an age where socializing risk for private gain has been a major tenet of the legislative and executive branches of government.
The following are ten examples of socializing risk with impunity in war and peace.
1. Executive Branch faulty judgment on intelligence leading to preemptive war that contradicts the overall intelligence on Iraq making it less safe for all Americans.
2. Statements by Bush administration officials that the reconstruction of Iraq would be paid for by Iraqi oil revenues were totally false, instead the bill is on the national debt.
3. Executive Branch faulty judgment on invading Iraq and Afghanistan cost public trillions of dollars of additional debt for war on the premise that "we need to fight them there before we fight them here" are totally bogus as the domestic terror attempts continue unabated.
4. Multi-Trillion dollar publicly funded bailout of financial industry for private profit.
5. Providing low import taxes when U.S. companies move manufacturing overseas to the detriment of U.S. employment. Lower costs for greater profit is a legitimate reason for going overseas, however it is the business of the U.S. government to provide a favorable employment, industrial and economic climate beneficial for the American people first and foremost.
6. Capping financial penalties in selected industries which benefit private businesses at the expense of public safety and justice.
7. Beneficial tax legislation favoring some industries at the expense of the public as well as less efficiency and productivity, such as subsidizing ethanol which raises the price of corn and is likely to lower gasoline mileage. The public loses in paying for a subsidy that provides more disincentives than incentives for the subsidy. One example I witnessed while in Thailand in the 1980s was U.S. cigarette manufacturers advertising on Thai billboards paid by the American citizenry through Congressional legislation to promote U.S. exports.
8. Legislative corporate favoritism that permits socialized risk for private profit at the expense of such benefits to the American people as universal health care. One of the main reasons for producing goods overseas is avoiding the higher cost of domestic employment including HEALTH CARE.
9. Socializing the risk of mistakes by elected officials ought to incur financial penalties. When an elected politician makes gross errors and mistakes the Congressional remedy of impeachment and removal from office has become ineffective. Therefore, the minimum ought to be able to be accomplished with a simple majority vote, such as stripping former elected officials all government pensions for malfeasance or misfeasance in office.
10. Government ownership of subsidized Amtrak and subsidies for airlines and roads only benefited these industries which has hampered development of transcontinental high speed rail to the detriment and disadvantage of the American people. High speed rail is a hallmark of many industrial countries with the United States lagging far behind.
The concept of favoritism in legislation for private industry and private institutions appears to have often failed to benefit the majority of the American people; instead they have benefited private companies at the expense of the public purse in a form of legalized theft. (To have goods produced at lower prices for consumers in a degraded economy while decreasing domestic employment is a net loss for the entire citizenry and economy.) Now, the amount of public funds expended on socializing the risk at the expense of the public is in the trillions of dollars. Instead of having a casino government doling out countless billions of dollars to favorable casino games there ought to be more attention on the basic needs of the American people, such as their health, education, personal safety and security and maintaining a vibrant and clean natural environment.
For at least two generations of presidential and congressional leadership the country has floundered with impunity, lurching forward without solving the country's major problems and basic needs. Both short-term and long-term benefits need to be cited and measured for government to blithely pass favorable legislation for selected industries and foreign countries, for the ramifications may well be dire or disastrous.
It appears that adhering to and applying the Constitution and its preamble has become a Mount Everest for our legislators, for few have reached it summit.