America has a massive national deficit of nearly $16.9 trillion; the government continues to spend money it doesn't have. What's the answer to this dilemma, what specifically needs to be done? Many of our esteemed politicians say that, to alleviate the condition, government welfare must be ended. So with that premise in mind let's examine the pros and cons of this issue.
Those on the conservative side know exactly what's wrong and how to fix it. They absolutely despise all forms of welfare and cite the lazy people that they claim are the main beneficiaries; they would slash or even eliminate food stamps, unemployment benefits, Head Start, Aid to Dependent Children, and numerous other social programs that benefit the neediest of Americans. They say that these people receiving these forms of welfare need to get off their butts, get a job and support themselves just like you and I do.
These sociopaths in Congress love to beat up on less fortunate Americans because these are people who can't fight back. They block every attempt to pass job creation legislation and then look with disdain on those Americans who can't find jobs. Most of them earn $174,000 per year with the best health and pension benefits that the government can provide for them but they do everything in their power to make sure their fellow Americans must not obtain such benefits.
Now those on the other side of this issue say, wait just a minute, not so fast. There are millions upon millions of Americans who have lost their jobs through corporate outsourcing, that have been forced into the ranks of the unemployed, or have lost their homes to foreclosure. There are 50 million Americans on food stamps and 50 million living below the poverty line, an absolute national disgrace. To claim that most of these people are loafers and cheaters, don't want jobs, and want to just live off the government, is ludicrous.
Yes, America has a monumental welfare problem but one that includes an aspect that goes largely unnoticed and is rarely reported in the national media; one that has nothing whatsoever to do with helping Americans in need. That welfare problem that no one wants to talk about, especially the politicians in Washington D.C., is called Corporate Welfare.
Let's take an in-depth look at what's going on here. This article from the Mother Jones website reports that "Taxpayers for Common Sense estimates that oil companies will receive $78 billion in industry-specific and broader business subsidies from 2012 to 2017." Further, that "The US government subsidizes Big Oil - shorthand for ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips, five of the biggest oil companies. And, while receiving these subsidies, the Big-Five corporations piled up profits of more than $1 trillion between 2001 and 2011."
What exactly are those big oil corporations doing with those mega-billions of dollars in government handouts? Are they working tirelessly to develop new sources of energy such as solar or wind power so that, in decades to come, America will be able to end its reliance on petroleum that has so badly polluted this planet and has caused countless wars and military conflicts around the world? Absolutely not; the development of these new sources of energy is not on their agenda and, in fact, they have no desire to do anything to initiate competition with OIL which continues to generate obscene profits. And, because of this, America will some day pay a terrible price for what these oil companies refuse to do.
And here is something really crazy: many of America's giant corporations who move jobs overseas, believe it or not, are allowed, by law, to receive tax deductions; here is generally how it works:
Suppose a company intends to move a plant overseas and, in doing so, it plans to incur $1 million in associated expenses. To facilitate that move it is allowed under existing tax law to deduct those expenses, and then receive a tax reduction of $350,000. The White House recently proposed the elimination of this government subsidy and, instead, to provide a 20 percent income tax credit for the expenses of moving operations back into the United States in order to help companies bring jobs home; a positive, constructive initiative.
However, when such legislation was put to a vote, it was defeated by a 56-42 margin. This legislation was dead on arrival because the Republicans had, once again, invoked the deadly filibuster and 60 votes were needed for passage. So rather than an outcome that would have returned badly needed jobs to America the end result was that this form of corporate welfare was allowed to continue unabated. And these sorry, pathetic politicians are the same ones that want to eliminate food stamps.
And now let's look into another form of corporate welfare which involves those corporations who use the many loopholes in the tax laws to either pay no federal income taxes or just pay a minimal amount because of a taxing system that is fully obsolete and in need of reform. This must be considered as a form of corporate welfare because these loopholes could and should be eliminated to increase tax revenues but they haven't been because the Congress simply won't do it.
Many of the Fortune 500 corporations pay little to no taxes; this article lists 16 major corporations that "have basically stopped paying taxes -- while also cutting jobs." Other articles have listed up to 30 corporations who paid no taxes in the years 2008-2010 and that included General Electric. At the end of 2012 GE was holding $108 billion overseas to avoid paying taxes on it.
The Corporatists excuse themselves from criticism by saying they are breaking no laws but it's no secret that they use every clever scheme at their disposal to avoid paying taxes which the majority of Americans, by law, must do. Here's an article that shows how Apple pays very little taxes to any government.
As further evidence of how this government is, in effect, shifting welfare from the needy in this country to the wealthy check out this excellent article in the New York Times about how the $100 billion annual Farm Bill funding is so badly managed and how it shifts welfare funding from the neediest of Americans to some of the wealthiest. Want to know how selfish and craven these politicians can be? The Farm Bill funding includes funding for SNAP, the Food Stamps Program. So many of these members of the U.S. Congress, who are themselves recipients of generous subsidies for their farms, are the same ones who want to cut up to $20 billion out of the Food Stamp funding in this bill. This is the height of hypocrisy and an example of sociopathic behavior.
So we can conclude that U.S. corporations are harming this nation and its consumer-driven economy in two very significant ways. First there are those giant corporations who outsource jobs to overseas nations and eliminate American jobs. Then there are those who import the lion's share of their sale products from overseas nations rather than from American manufacturers produced by American workers.