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Corporate Welfare and the Sad State of America. . .

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Timothy F. Newkirk
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This disintegration of democracy into nothing more than corporate welfare has at its core negative public policy consequences.

While Americans watch energy and food prices soar, the White House and Congress roost. They won't even talk about it much, except to coo renewed support for their proposed pro-corporate deregulation of the financial industry. Its details are purposely obscured for public consumption, since it adds up to nothing more than a corporate welfare package at the expense of the environment and the American taxpayer. They spend their efforts instead, trying to enforce their narrow notions of morality on the courts and the public.

Most major corporations in American pay little, if any federal or state income taxes at all.  This is due to a tax code written largely by and for them to manipulate by a literally 'legally' bribed government.

Gas prices, even adjusted for inflation, haven't been nearly this high in 25 years. The sky seems the limit. There has been no major action by OPEC to be blamed this time. Nor have there been any real oil shortages or other disruptions of any significance. Remember the White House promising us that, as well as paying for the war there, the "freeing" of Iraq would be a great step towards stabilizing the oil supply here, which would translate into lower prices. Neither has proven to be the case. Even so, sound reason aside, the "free" markets have gone off the deep end in a massive oil  and financial speculation spree that has brought us to our knees economically, both here and abroad. One wonders where corporate market manipulators got the idea that there would be no repercussions for doing so in Washington?

The sad fact is that corporate welfare policies out of Washington encourage overtly greedy corporate behavior, at the expense of the general welfare. Those the White House and Congress represents, i.e. multinational corporations, especially those in the oil (can't imagine where that connection comes from), pharmaceutical and financial industries, have been given unprecedented leeway by new policies and laws to rape and pillage the "free" markets, their already bloated profits notwithstanding. The public good be damned.

It explains why this White House and Congress haven't even attempted to moderate ever-rising oil costs for instance, even though they have it well within their power to do so. Perhaps, they could open up the strategic oil reserve or provide tax incentives, etc. But, doing so certainly wouldn't be in the interests of their corporate constituents.

Look next for similar corporate rape by the pharmaceutical industry in future years when the newest pro-corporate healthcare law really kicks. We are already seeing signs of pill profiteering now. And, we will no doubt see a similar effect with the implementation of the "new and improved" pro-corporate financial regulation laws. This gigantic welfare package for the finance industry and corporations generally in the form of bankruptcy and credit-card rate protections and outright bailouts, is as yet immeasurable. Then, there is the push for more pro-corporate tort "reform." Already, corporations have been let off the legal hook by legislation restricting class-action law suits. Will these giveaways to corporations at the public expense never end?

Americans are seeing a massive shift of wealth upward, as if the wealth of the "ups" was not already grossly imbalanced enough in their favor. This is unprecedented since the days of the 19th century robber barons and post-WWI corporate excesses. Then, corporate greed and a complicit government threw America into dangerous social instability and the depressions of the 1890s and 1930s. Today, the laissez-faire policies of our radical republican rulers have again created a nation of real have and have-nots.

The recent worldwide financial crisis has born this out in dramatic terms.  All the while the banks continued to make unprecedented profits, subsidized by the American people. . .

It is imperative for the Republican wannabe plutocrats to widen their notions of morality to include what is crucial for the poor, the poorly insured and poorly educated at home, let alone the so-called "middle class." What is moral about leaving the American people to drown in the tsunami wake of Washington's corporate welfare policies?

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A native of California, Timothy F. Newkirk is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. Among many other endeavors, he has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor and is a longtime political activist. He continues to advocate for (more...)
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