Corporate Subsidies (Anonymous guest writer)

The majority of our budget in the United States today is spent on subsidies and unnecessary contracts with private companies. When someone tries to look up the actual numbers, they are all over the place. One article says we spend 60 billion on subsides each year, another says 200 billion. There are literally hundreds of articles that come up in any web search, and each one is dramatically different.

A recent article based on an IMF report concluded that 649 billion in subsidies alone went to US energy companies in the fossil fuel industry in 2015. So, when I see an article in the Times, or something out of CNN, and it says we only spend 30 billion a year on corporate subsidies, I know right away, it is an outright lie.

Looking up our National Budget for 2018 on Wikipedia, anyone can see for themselves, our expenditures were 4 trillion dollars, and we took in 3.6 trillion in revenue. According to this budget, we were only 400 billion short of balancing the books. But our National Debt rose 1 trillion that same year. This doesn’t add up either.

The simple explanation for all of the misinformation and half-truths about our budget and corporate welfare, could simply be that all of the reporters and watchdog groups have zero access to the correct data. It could also be more nefarious, with corporate funded think-tanks and foundations releasing swarms of inconsistent data on purpose to conceal the truth from anyone who might dare to look.

Subsidies are free taxpayer money given by the government to specific companies in certain industries. These businesses are selected based on their importance to our national policies, even delving into trade, security, and infrastructure development.

But there has become another type of subsidy. Government contracts. The most notable, of course, are our defense and intelligence community contracts. These are never counted as actual subsidies, but let’s take a rational look at them.

Take our intelligence agencies. For decades now, they have been scooping up our online data. But now, the big tech giants have stepped up, promising even more data, with the added benefit of 3rd party data collection not being a violation of our Constitutional freedoms under the current laws. Data collection and analysis used to be done by our government agencies at cost, under fixed budgets set by Congress. Now, contracts to do that work have been given to the same tech giants that give us all free email and social media access. These tech companies also heavily lobby for new contracts to be granted, always on the lookout for any government work that can be privatized at a profit.

Profit here is the key, because all of the data collection that used to be done at cost, now has to also include hefty company profits. Besides this, much of the data collection that took place before these contracts were made, is still being done at the same time. It is duplicitous, unnecessary, and sinks us all into debt while these tech giants make bigger and bigger profits each quarter.

In layman’s terms, it’s as if the government had an agency responsible for moving rocks from point A to point B. That agency hires people with taxpayer money to do the work. Then a private business sees the work being done, and lobbies to get a government contract to do the work for that agency, promising cheaper service to the taxpayer. The company ends up charging 10 times more to do the work than we were paying before. Even worse, the work is still being done, most times, by the original government employees, so the company is being paid and not doing anything. This should count as a subsidy. It is free taxpayer money for nothing in return.

In some cases, the government does end up replacing it’s workers, and the company that takes those jobs over does actually do the work. They still charge 10 times more to do the same work as before, but something extraordinary has happened- the private business has become a defacto government agency. Now, firing them or even negotiating with them is impossible. Our government agency couldn’t function without them. They have us by the balls, and since their profits have to go up every 3 months, we give them contract increases. They have become too big to fail, and all the while they are lobbying for more. This should count as a subsidy, propping up private interests, where billions could be saved by doing it at cost.

My own personal assumption is that roughly half, or about 2 trillion dollars, of our national budget is spent on some form of subsidy to private corporations. Even programs as simple as food stamps fall victim to corporate welfare. How much money is given in government contracts to banks and credit companies who issue food stamp cards, track user data, and provide the overall exchange medium that make food stamps possible? Hint- it’s about 1/2 the budget for food stamps. How many grocery companies are only profitable today because they rely on food stamp sales? Has anyone stopped to think that every single big box grocery store would go bankrupt without food stamp sales? This would account for why the biggest lobby group for food stamps isn’t poor people contacting their Reps, its the United Grocers Association. The poor people are not profiting from food stamps, they are being exploited by the big grocery chains for billions each year. And the poor on food stamps are still barely getting by.

This leads me into another line of thought. We are supposed to live in a Democratic Republic. We are supposed to be participating in a free and open capitalist market. We, the people, are supposed to be represented in our government through our elected officials in Congress. Conversely, in a Communist country, the State is in charge and in authority over it’s people. A Communist economy is one fully supported by the State, where businesses are selected for subsidation, and the State picks winners and losers. They do not have a free market economy, where winners and losers rise and fall depending on their goods and services being in demand or not. Where are we, really, when looking at it from this perspective?

All of our basic services and goods here in the US have been privatized by a small handful of giant corporations. Whether it is food production, intelligence, military industrial production, energy, waste management, or any other vital contributor to our overall national security, health, and well-being, all of it is being controlled, not by our government, but by private corporations that have wiggled their way into positions between us and our government, and profited to the tune of trillions in the process. And much like Communism, the State has become our overlords, firmly in charge of all of our lives despite any overwhelming public opinions to the contrary.

But because of the immense wealth handed out freely under our subsidy programs, it is not just as simple as the State being in control of it’s population, because the State itself is firmly under the control of these giant corporations. They have insidiously become our government agencies, their interests for profits have become our national interests for our supposed security and well-being. They have Senators and House members on speed dial, while we get form letters in the mail when we contact our Reps in Congress. We no longer have a Representative Democracy in the US, we have been reduced to a slave population. The results of our work are not reflected in our quality of life, our infrastructure, our medical care, our education standards, and our overall right to pursue happiness. The results of all of our hard labor are reflected instead in a worse quality of life across the board for everyone, living in an ever more increasingly polluted and dilapidated country, while a handful of corporate monopolies make more money than ever before.

I would submit, for all of our posturing about being a democratic country of freedom-loving people, and everyone calling out the evils of Communism, we have actually become something far worse. We have become a slave population, with fake electoral choices between 2 political parties that both fully support and take money from corporations. Those same corporations own all of our media, both newspapers and all of the television press. And they are in total control of our government, while our government is in total control of us.

We have become a subjugated people, working ourselves to death for the benefit of the elite alone. While we are looking for a second job, our overlords are looking to get the government to invest in new areas that generate even more corporate welfare. Things like a Space-Force, where the military industrial complex can expand far beyond the mere trillion-dollar budget it has now.

We have given up any semblance of capitalism, and State-selected companies rule our economy. We have entered a world where the taxpayer foots the bill for a community hospital to be built and maintained, then gets charged again if we ever get sick and need to go to that hospital. At least in Communist countries, the people only pay once.

If we were to end this government subsidation, roughly 1/2 of our national budget would be eradicated overnight. We could give everyone that wanted it free medical care, a free college education, and cost-effective housing that reflected real-world wages. Nobody would have to work 2 or 3 jobs to get by. Nobody would have to worry about getting sick and losing their life’s savings in 1 week. The top 100 companies in the fortune 500 would go bankrupt instantly. Our food would be more locally originated and free of harmful chemicals and genetic engineering. All fossil fuel companies, without subsidies to keep them competitive, would suddenly be hundreds of times more expensive than wind and solar. And we would still be under budget.

A simple Bill, passed through Congress, could make this world a reality. A Bill that forbids the giving of any government or taxpayer money to any private business, corporation, or foundation. And forbids it at any level, Local, County, State, or Federal. The only exception to this would be government payments to the people themselves, like people who receive benefits they have paid into like Social Security. Or like payment made to people on State assistance programs like welfare or WIC. We could cap these payments to individuals at a reasonable amount, like $3000 monthly, per person. A bill like this could ensure we are still taking care of our own here at home with payments directly from the government, without allowing for taxpayer money to go to any business or foundation.

Once we get something like this through the Congress, it will become dramatically easier for us to engage our Representatives, and they will have to respond to us. This will take back our position as the authority behind our government. Every single great issue facing us today could be solved after that in a reasonable and very fast manner.

If any of this sounds good to you, contact your Reps in the House and the Senate. Send them an email asking for the elimination of all government subsidies and corporate welfare. And remember, it isn’t our poor neighbors in this country on welfare who are the problem. It’s the bastards who have kept a boot on all of our necks who are the problem. We cannot move forward as human beings with real human values, until they are out of the equation altogether.

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