Democratic Underground

Can you say corporate welfare?
November 17, 2001
by Frederick H. Winterberg III

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For those of you who haven't seen the numbers, here are some of them:

$1.4 billion for IBM
$833 million for General Motors
$671 million for General Electric
$572 million for Chevron Texaco
$254 million for Enron

What is this, you may ask, last quarter's profits for some of America's largest companies? Projected earnings in the next quarter? Projected growth?

Wrong on all counts. These are the dollar amounts each of these companies stands to gain from the economic stimulus bill that recently passed the House of Representatives. Unbelievable? Keep reading.

This bill, as written, would give $115 billion in tax breaks to big business and the wealthiest Americans. The rest of us? $14 billion in tax rebates and unemployment benefits, which would vanish after one year. The $115 billion for the rich and powerful? No sunset clause here.

Perhaps the most outrageous aspect of this disastrous bill is a temporary loophole that would now become permanent. It allows some companies to divert profits to subsidiaries outside the U.S., and thus avoid paying taxes on them. Let me get this straight: we are going to stimulate the economy by moving huge sums of money out of the economy? Is this a practical joke? Is it really April 1 already?

What galls me the most about this whole thing is not the fact that it's a typical Republican bill (which it is), or that the Republicans in the House and the Bush administration are using the terrorist attacks, the war, and a false air of patriotism as cover to try to ram this through (which they are). The part that infuriates me is that it goes against their ideology, their mantra, their number one rant, free markets. Conservatives are constantly howling for deregulation, let the free markets dictate business, businesses should be left alone to sink or swim on their own without interference from the government. Yet the minute they have the public's attention diverted elsewhere, they try to sneak through legislation that hands out billions of dollars (your dollars and my dollars, to be exact) to these same corporations, with no strings attached.

For those of us who get their news from sources other than Fox news, this is exactly what it appears to be — a quid pro quo from the Bush administration to big business, a payoff for getting him into office. It is corruption, blatant corruption, and a textbook definition of conflict of interest. What can you do about it? Go to the following site:

http://www.moveon.org/warprofiteering/

Let your elected representatives know what you think of this — and start putting a stop to these abhorrent Republican giveaways.