Bottoms Up, America


You’d think hypocrisy, selfishness, and ignorance had been shaken or stirred and served as the newest American cocktail. And the dimwits who blither endlessly about freeloaders and welfare reform while rabidly supporting corporate welfare have clearly been over-served.

Here’s what a more sober view of corporate welfare would show them.

Cities and states compete to attract major corporate employers by offering incentives: subsidies (gifts of taxpayer funds) to help pay for construction; extension of utility services to newly developed property at taxpayers’ expense; construction or improvement of roads, also at taxpayers’ expense; permits to use land for purposes prohibited to local citizens and businesses by zoning ordinances; permission to violate environmental protections; and special low tax rates on profits.

Kinda makes food stamps and rent money to needy families look like chicken feed, doesn’t it?

Another type of corporate welfare is outsourcing government work to for-profit companies.

EXAMPLE: providing construction and transportation services for the Army, formerly a self-sufficient organization that provided these services by training soldiers with skills they could take with them back into civilian life. Think of Halliburton running convoys of empty trucks in Iraq and charging the government a huge mark-up on what they actually paid for fuel.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE (and a really weird one): civilian companies (hey there, Blackwater) providing security services for our armed forces, which formerly had their own police forces. And if the most heavily armed and well trained fighting force on Earth needs to be protected by a civilian company, two questions come to mind: (1) what kind of horrific weapons and unrestrained tactics do their protectors use, and (2) why not send the troops home and let their protectors fight the enemy?

STILL ANOTHER EXAMPLE: private contractors running prisons where an entry-level guard earns more than twice the annual salary of a public school teacher with advanced university degrees and twenty years of experience.

Have another olive or onion or a little paper umbrella in that cocktail

The standard excuse for corporate welfare is that it’s good for the community. Aside from the dishonesty of that claim, it’s worth noting that feeding the hungry so they don’t have to steal is also good for the community. So is housing the homeless so they don’t clutter up the sidewalks, which drives shoppers away. So is providing the poor with money so they can buy life’s necessities at local stores.

The anti-welfare crowd would never support feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and providing the poor with enough money to survive just because it’s the right thing to do. And they’re too drunk on the new American cocktail to recognize that these things would also serve their own best interests.

Bottoms up.

One Reply to “Bottoms Up, America”

  1. So very true, particularly the last full paragraph. There are far too many folks going against their best interests.

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