above, for articles in
there a larger, more exploited, defenseless group of undifferentiated Americans
the 133 million individual federal income taxpayers? Their dollars are used to
organized corporate interests, giveaway taxpayer assets like minerals
the public lands, and bail out speculative, self-enriching corporations and
large corporations, and their trade associations, complete their takeover of the
government—a process that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called fascism
1938—the corporations become the government.
look at the recent headlines in the business press. Article after
abuses and over-runs by companies contracting with the Department of
and other agencies. The enormous volumes of waste, fraud and poor delivery
the Iraq war-occupation now only produces ho hum newspaper and television
the student loan scandals, exorbitant burdens on students graduating
imposed on them by companies with influence in Washington, like Sallie Mae,
government guarantees make a mockery of capitalism, have riled members of
to some modest action.
again this year, the big boys on Wall Street stretched the envelope of risk and
and ran down to Washington, D.C. to be bailed out by the accommodating Federal
Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before the Senate that he had no choice but
take on about $30 billion of Bear Stearns obligations or there could be a run on
big banks. Where was the Federal Reserve when this credit, debt and risk spree
building during the past five
is no penalty for failure—whether on Wall Street or in Washington, D.C. for
or wasting the taxpayers’ monies.
the heads of Citigroup and Merrill Lynch were asked to leave their positions
as CEOs after tanking their companies’ shares, they could barely avoid
over the many millions of dollars they were taking with them through the
door. Among many perverse incentives operating within these Wall Street firms,
are rewards for failure—big bucks rubber-stamped by the look-the-other-way,
paid Boards of Directors.
in 1971 and 1980 respectively, the White House proposed a $250 million loan
for Lockheed corp., and a $1.5 billion loan guarantee for Chrysler with
government taking back warrants that it later sold for a profit. There was
debate and discussion at public hearings in the House and the Senate before
authorized the guarantees.
federal agency bailouts of big business, even Mexican oligarchs, rarely seek
approval. Just have the Executive Branch do what it wants. No public
Midnight bailouts without transcripts.
asked a powerful Senator: “What are the discernable legal limits on the Federal
bailout authority and how much total risk can the Federal Reserve heap on
taxpayers?” “Can they go to a trillion dollars?” He did not
deficits, debts and unfair burdens to individual taxpayers while the rich
powerful become either tax escapees or big time welfare recipients keep pushing
limitless envelope on today’s and tomorrow’s taxpayers.
New York Times’ prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston, has written two books
Legal” and just recently, the best seller “Free Lunch” that document
megatrends of corporate socialism—privatizing corporate profits and socializing
corporate losses on the backs of individual taxpayers.
can be done about these gigantic runaway sprees?
pass legislation that broadens individual taxpayers’ right to sue in
against waste, fraud and abuse, including those receivers of bailouts—the
avaricious corporations who have Uncle Sam in their back
have a voluntary checkoff on the 1040 tax return inviting
to join their own taxpayer defense organization. Such a group would have
of small dues paying members and an on-the-spot skillful watchdog group in
place our public elections off the private auction block and have
by well promoted voluntary checkoffs on the tax returns together with a
amount of free radio and television time for ballot-qualified candidates
and other proposals, such as giving shareholders more power to restrain their
executives, will give taxpayers some grip on the wide-open spigot of taxpayer
delivered to the misfits of the giant corporate world.
Ralph Nader, attorney, author, was a green
party candidate for U.S. President in the 2000 campaign. He is again a
candidate in the 2008 campaign. Nader has been a prominent environmentalist
and consumer advocate for several decades, who founded along the way, several
non profit organizations that are still active; his accomplishments, like
forcing U.S. auto companies to install seat belts, are legendary. His most
recent book is The Seventeen Traditions.
This essay is herein reprinted with the author's
Posted May 04,
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