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9/28/05

Corporations on Welfare

Now it will be interesting to see what happens when the Supreme Court examines so-called business tax credits. It's another way Corporations get by on paying less taxes while we pay more. You don't think so?

Corporate welfare has created a culture of dependency that has encouraged certain industries to live off the taxpayers. There are huge corporations that own most of the farming in this country. Don't be fooled by stats that say a large % of farms are family farms. That statistic counts anyone who sells $1000 a year in produce a farm. That way the percentage looks good when just counting farms.

Large corporations produce 98 percent of all poultry in the United States;

Just two percent of farms produce 50 percent of all agricultural products in the country;

Four firms handle more than 80 percent of all beef slaughter. Just two decades ago, concentration in this sector was below 40 percent;

Sixty percent of pork production in the U.S. is owned by just four firms

Yet when there is a bill coming up to give more "farm subsidies" to our nation's poor farmers the subsidies are structured so that the majority of that money is going to who produces the most produce. Who is that? Corporations. This is just one example of corporate welfare.

States have been in competition to recruit corporations to build in their state for years and years now. They are given tax credits, free water, free electricity, a moritorium on paying any taxes for a number of years, free land that the states and municipalities take from citizens through eminent domain, and a number of other things.

Lightening their tax burdens supposedly creates more jobs etc. but it also increases the tax burden on the citizens of that state. Federal corporate welfare like the subsidies I mentioned affect all US taxpayers with a heavier burden.

These corporations work the system like professional athletes negotiate contracts. They move to the highest bidder with no regard for the consequences of leaving the state they are in and no loyalty to the state they are moving to. They will leave them too as soon as a better offer is on the table.

I'm glad the Supreme Court is taking a look at business tax credits, but the whole system of corporate welfare needs to be addressed. I'm not an economist but laws that continue to lean toward corporations at the expense of taxpayers is a bad thing no matter what economists try to justify.

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