I’m pleased to say that the topic of oligarch and corporate welfare finally seems to be getting the much needed attention it deserves. While billionaires like Sam Zell (read my open letter to him) continue to spout nonsense about how the poor just need to be more like the rich, objective folks are catching on to the joke.
Ironically, the biggest welfare queens in America are the oligarchs and multinational corporations themselves, yet many of them constantly like to blame growing inequality on the supposed character deficiencies of the lower classes.
Earlier this week, I wrote a very well received post titled, A First Look at a New Report on Crony Capitalism – Trillions in Corporate Welfare, as well as the post, Walmart Admits in its Annual Report that its Profits Depend Heavily on Corporate Welfare.
The New York Times has now thrown its hat in the arena with an article titled: A Nation of Takers?
Here are some excerpts:
In the debate about poverty, critics argue that government assistance saps initiative and is unaffordable. After exploring the issue, I must concede that the critics have a point. Here are five public welfare programs that are wasteful and turning us into a nation of “takers.”
First, welfare subsidies for private planes. The United States offers three kinds of subsidies to tycoons with private jets: accelerated tax write-offs, avoidance of personal taxes on the benefit by claiming that private aircraft are for security, and use of air traffic control paid for by chumps flying commercial.
I worry about those tycoons sponging off government. Won’t our pampering damage their character? Won’t they become addicted to the entitlement culture, demanding subsidies even for their yachts? Oh, wait …
Second, welfare subsidies for yachts. The mortgage-interest deduction was meant to encourage a home-owning middle class. But it has been extended to provide subsidies for beach homes and even yachts.
In the meantime, money was slashed last year from the public housing program for America’s neediest.
Third, welfare subsidies for hedge funds and private equity. The single most outrageous tax loophole in America is for “carried interest,” allowing people with the highest earnings to pay paltry taxes.
Fourth, welfare subsidies for America’s biggest banks. The too-big-to-fail banks in the United States borrow money unusually cheaply because of an implicit government promise to rescue them. Bloomberg View calculated last year that this amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of $83 billion to our 10 biggest banks annually.
Fifth, large welfare subsidies for American corporations from cities, counties and states. A bit more than a year ago, Louise Story of The New York Times tallied more than $80 billion a year in subsidies to companies, mostly as incentives to operate locally. (Conflict alert: The New York Times Company is among those that have received millions of dollars from city and state authorities.)
But, perhaps because we now have the wealthiest Congress in history, the first in which a majority of members are millionaires, we have a one-sided discussion demanding cuts only in public assistance to the poor, while ignoring public assistance to the rich. And a one-sided discussion leads to a one-sided and myopic policy.
Get the joke yet?
Donate bitcoins: 1LefuVV2eCnW9VKjJGJzgZWa9vHg7Rc3r1
Follow me on Twitter.