Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If We Need A "Stimulus Package" --
The US Gov't just Isn't Doing It Right

The U.S. government, robbing the poor to give to the rich. That's what they do.

While the primaries have captured the headlines, everyone is losing sight of the way this government is gaming the taxpayers everyday. This so-called "economic stimulus" package for instance is a bribe to keep the peasants from revolt, given the many ways this criminal Bush administration is ruining the economy with rising food, energy and gas costs, the lost of the US's reputation abroad (what with the sanctioning and administering of torture and war crimes -- all in the name of a war on an adjective), the continuing environmental crisis, shredding of the constitution, deteriorating infrastructure, including roads, schools, education... etc.

The media needs to focus on the many ways that the rich are gaming the system. But this is not going to happen, given that in many instances, the "corporatist" agenda is government funded and sanctioned. My definition of corporatist? The philosophy of favoring the rich to the detriment of the poor. Government welfare as long as it is done in that context is just fine and dandy in the United States of America.

War profiteering is just a tried and true method. Take a look at how taxpayers are forced to subsidize the rich, in ways that are not as obvious.

There is plenty of evidence that the average taxpayer is robbed blind by the system on many levels. The fact is, the U.S. government is run by the predominantly wealthy to profit themselves and mostly facilitates the wealth gap between them and the working class, middle-class and low-income communities.Many economist have noted the growing wealth gap; made even larger by the current Bush administration.

George W. Bush is a beneficiary from government subsidies (more on that below). It happens that his current scam at the moment is incrementally more diabolical and includes war crimes and war profiteering.

The usual government subsidy is recognized as farm subsidies for crops like corn (some diverted for ethanol production, which is causing a global food crisis). This government welfare program is justified by its proponents as a way to remain competitive in todays "global" market in spite of evidence of how it is ruining the local economies of poor countries and causing food shortages. The public are given a skewed image of the economy that leads them to believe that our economy is being compromised by immigrants, welfare mothers, the promotion of socialized medicine; therefore, some in the public don't see the need to bring quality education to public schools in the "ghetto", "barios" or inner cities of this country. Although most people see the need for "universal healthcare", they don't see it as a human right or that it should be exempt from the laws of competition.

Why do the four sports leagues get special government "welfare"; subsidies from the government that exempts them from the laws of competition. What an irony that competition is missing from an industry built for competition!

Fact: "Virtually every economic study of the issue has found that publicly funded stadiums are, at best, an inefficient investment of taxpayer dollars for the meager benefits produced and, at worst, massive payments to rich team owners and players at the expense of ordinary taxpayers." (1) Economists agree that government financing of stadiums is a bad investment for the economy. However the government continues to finance stadium constructions for the economic benefits that they are supposed to provide.
    "...New Yorkers will pony up more than $200 million (to build a $1.3 billion stadium, the most expensive ever on U.S. soil), San Diegans roughly $400 million, and D.C. residents about $611 million. Just 20 years ago, that large a taxpayer subsidy would have been virtually unimaginable. In fact, Louisiana's famous Superdome, where the NFL's New Orleans Saints play, cost more than $500 million in 2006 dollars to build in 1975. At the time, the stadium was thought to be an extravagant outlier in a world where stadiums seldom cost more than $200 million in 2006 dollars. As Roger Noll and Andrew Zimbalist note in their seminal 1997 work on the subject, Sports, Jobs, and Taxes, "For a long while, this project stood out as a wild anomaly. Today, it would fit nicely in the upper range of standard experience."[8] The Superdome, 100 percent financed by taxpayers, was indeed a harbinger of things to come."
      -- Stadiums and Subsidies: Home Run for Wealthy Team Owners, Strike-out for Taxpayers by Andrew Moylan of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, 2007
Fact: In this country we are spending $2 billion a year subsidizing the big four sports: baseball, basketball, football and hockey. It accounts for all of the profits of that industry and more. There may be individual teams that make money, but the industry as a whole is not profitable. "It is shameful that the big four leagues are exempt from the laws of competition that are said to be the goal of this capitalist economy. That is; you must make a profit in order to survive and compete.

Fact: Many rich people buy professional sports franchises but don't do it because they enjoy sports, they do it to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers. Only the rich are given a free pass to game the system by profiteering in this way. Be it by building sports stadiums or ginning up wars for the purpose of war profiteering and empire building; the less wealthy pay a heavy price in lives lost outright or through catastrophic illness, poor health, education and other resulting social and economic inequities.

Take the plan by George W. Bush to purchase a stadium in Arlington Texas for the Texas Rangers. Bush used the “stadium-building” scam together with eminent domain abuse to transfer taxpayer money into his and his partner’s pockets. Bush himself, pocketed $17 million while failing to pay full taxes on it. Shouldn't he be required to pay or go to jail - like Wesley Snipes, for instance, who was just sentenced to 3 years for tax evasion?

Fact: In 1998 the Texas Observer called George W. Bush and other owners of the Texas Ranges "deadbeats" and "Rich deadbeats" because they failed to pay $7.5 million they owed the city of Arlington. This after Bush himself made 23 times his original investment in less than nine years from the sale of the Texas Ranges for $250 million. His original investment? $605,000.

Why are we subsidizing sports? Most of the profit goes to a privileged few and service a privileged few. In 2005, the Louisiana Superdome came to international attention when it housed thousands of evacuees seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina. Most of the victims of Hurricane Katrina who took refuge in this stadium built with taxpayer money had never been to the Louisiana Superdome because they could not afford to pay the price of admittance at a "public" facility built with public government subsidies.

Building sports arenas with gazillion taxpayer dollars at the expense of education, housing, health and other social services are a subsidy that benefits the rich and does not benefit the community as a whole. Government subsidies that benefit a chosen few at the expense of the many are anti-democratic and should be abolished.

Source: 1. National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

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