Posts tagged Corporations
The Battle for Power on the Internet: Bruce Schneier at TEDxCambridge 2013
Published by TEDxTalks
Bruce Schneier gives us a glimpse of the future of the internet, and shares some of the context we should keep in mind, and the insights we need to understand, as we prepare for it. Learn more about Bruce Schneier at https://www.schneier.com and TEDxCambridge at http://www.tedxcambridge.com.
6 Major Corporations that Profit from U.S. Aid to the Egyptian Military
Our foreign aid programs are big time vehicles for crony capitalism.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of our foreign aid largess (after the ruling classes of the receiving 3rd world countries) is the good old American Military Industrial Complex.
We make a lot of arms in the United States, and the companies which want to sell guns, tanks, and planes make sure countries who want to buy guns, tanks, and planes but can’t afford them are subsidized by the American taxpayer. This is the case in Egypt.
About $1.3 billion is authorized each year to bolster Egypt’s military, one of the most powerful in the Middle East. That aid covers 80% of all of Egypt’s military purchases, according to a recent congressional assessment (pdf). This assistance has totaled nearly $42 billion since 1948, and nearly all of it has gone to buy American weaponry and hardware.
In fact, the appropriated funds never make their way directly to Egypt. “It goes to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then to a trust fund at the Treasury and, finally, out to U.S. military contractors that make the tanks and fighter jets that ultimately get sent to Egypt,”
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
George Will: If he thinks libertarianism a “dangerous thought,” people may think Christie himself is “dangerous”0
George Will: If he thinks libertarianism a “dangerous thought,” people may think Christie himself is “dangerous”
It is no secret that this site is a fan of small government. In our opinion the only real way to fight crony capitalism, the collusion of business, special interests, and government, is to shrink the government. Crony capitalism only happens with an intrusive state. It only happens when government is big enough to pick winners and losers. Intrusive government is the catalyst for crony capitalism.
Can corporations be corrupt without government? Absolutely.
Can unions be corrupt without government? Absolutely.
But the power of the corrupt expands when the corrupt can use law to compel the marketplace.
Libertarianism, as Will points out has many variations and strains, but generally it is about protecting the dignity of the individual, and advocates for a very limited government. Libertarians believe that transactions should be voluntary, and win win. This is how society has always progressed. This is how technology and food and societies and everything get better.
It is typically when vested interests (large companies, government agencies, unions) seek to disrupt this great experiment that things such as wars, bailouts for giant banks, and segregation of people by race happens. People freely trading with one another, respecting each other’s differences, tend not to kill one another despite what Hobbes said. Free people, secure in their property, tend to make their societies better.
Chris Christie is a big government guy. He has no idea how the average everyday people of the world could order themselves without wise and benevolent overlords. This is why he has attacked libertarianism. Basically he fears a free society. George Will has called him out.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
A remarkable anti-crony capitalist video manifesto
Like I said I have no idea who this guy is. Saying that, this 12 minute analysis of our current crony capitalist system is damn good. It’s white lightning so be warned. Distilled and powerful.
Published by minivanjack
Notes from the video:
Journalists and political partisans have expressed the mistaken presumption that government is a “balancing force” against the excess powers of corporations. This video explains that most excess power of corporations is provided and granted by government and that government seeks partnership with corporations and shares in the profits. This “public-private partnership” is so advanced that the public interest is no longer a primary concern of government. Government is now a for-profit operation serving itself at the expense of the public interest.
First Congress Member Allowed to Read Secret Treaty Says “There Is No National Security Purpose In Keeping This Text Secret … This Agreement Hands The Sovereignty of Our Country Over to Corporate Interests”
Corporations Push to Overrule National Laws
We reported last year:
Democratic Senator Wyden – the head of the committee which is supposed to oversee it – is so furious about the lack of access that he has introduced legislation to force disclosure.
Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is so upset by it that he has leaked a document on his website to show what’s going on.
What is everyone so furious about?
An international treaty being negotiated in secret which would not only crack down on Internet privacy much more than SOPA or ACTA, but would actually destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and all other signatories.
It is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Wyden is the chairman of the trade committee in the Senate … the committee which is supposed to have jurisdiction over the TPP. Wyden is also on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and so he and his staff have high security clearances and are normally able to look at classified documents.
And yet Wyden and his staff have been denied access to the TPP’s text.
Indeed, the decision to keep the text of TPP secret was itself classified as secret:
Yesterday, Congressman Alan Grayson (who knows how to read legislation … he was a successful lawyer before he was elected to Congress, and has written and co-sponsored numerous bills himself including the bill to audit the Federal Reserve and – most recently – the “Mind Your Own Business Act” to stop NSA spying) announced that he had been allowed to read the text of TPP – and that it is an anti-American power grab by big corporations:
Last month, 10,000 of us submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in which we objected to new so-called free trade agreements. We asked that the government not sell out our democracy to corporate interests.
Because of this pressure, the USTR finally let a member of Congress – little ole me, Alan Grayson [anyone who's seen Grayson in action knows that he is formidable] – actually see the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a large, secret trade agreement that is being negotiated with many countries in East Asia and South America.
The TPP is nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.” Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement, because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it.
1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.
2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.
3) What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].
I will be fighting this agreement with everything I’ve got. And I know you’ll be there every step of the way.
Congressman Alan Grayson
Grayson also noted:
It is ironic in a way that the government thinks it’s alright to have a record of every single call that an American makes, but not alright for an American citizen to know what sovereign powers the government is negotiating away.
Having seen what I’ve seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty. And I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America. I think that’s fair to say from what I’ve seen so far. But I’m not allowed to tell you why!
Remember that one of the best definitions of fascism – the one used by Mussolini – is the “merger of state and corporate power”. Our nation has been moving in that direction for a number of years, where government and giant corporations are becoming more and more intertwined in a malignant, symbiotic relationship. TPP would be the nail in the coffin for free market economics and democracy.
Note to progressives who support public banking: This is a key battle.
Note to those who oppose to what they call “one world government” or a “new world order”: This is the big fight.
Another Phony Jobs Report From A Government That Lies About Everything –Paul Craig Roberts
June 7, 2013. The payroll jobs report for May released today continues the fantasy.
Goods producing jobs declined, with manufacturing losing another 4,000 jobs, but the New Economy produced 179,000 service jobs.
Are these jobs the high-powered, high-wage “innovation jobs” that economists promised would be our reward from Globalism. I’m afraid not.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs created are the usual lowly paid
non-exportable domestic service jobs–the jobs of a third world country.
Retail trade accounts for 27,700 of the jobs.
Wholesale trade accounts for 7,900 jobs.
Ambulatory health care services accounts for 15,300 of the jobs.
Waitresses and bartenders account for 38,100 of the jobs.
Local government accounts for 13,000 of the jobs.
Amusements, gambling, and recreation account for 12,500 of the jobs.
Temporary help services provided 25,600 jobs.
Business support services provided 4,300 jobs.
Services to buildings and dwellings provided 6,400 jobs.
Accounting and bookkeeping services provided 3,100 jobs.
Architectural and engineering services provided 4,900 jobs.
Computer systems design and related provided 6,000 jobs (most likely filled by H-1B work visas).
Management and technical consulting services provided 3,200 jobs.
For a decade this has been the jobs profile of “the world’s most powerful economy.” It is the profile of third world India 40 years ago. The jobs that made the US the dominant economy have been moved off shore by corporations threatened by Wall Street with takeovers if they did not increase their profits.
The easiest way for corporations to increase profits is to take advantage of cheap labor in countries with massive quantities of unemployed labor.
So, if we believe the BLS report, and the reported new jobs are not simply a product of faulty season adjustments and a faulty birth-death model, why is the financial press happy that the US economy can only create third world jobs? Why was the stock market up on the news that the US economy has created 179,000 third world jobs? Would rational markets be up on such discouraging news?
But are the jobs really there?
With retail sales going nowhere, why 35,600 new jobs in wholesale and retail trade?
With real median incomes declining, why 38,100 more waitresses and bartenders? For every month as long as I can remember the BLS reports numerous new jobs in waitresses and bartenders, despite the long-term decline in real median income.
In the May jobs report, where are the jobs for the vast number of new college graduates?
The US now has more hotel maids, bartenders, and waitresses than it has manufacturing workers. The US has twice as many people employed in government than in manufacturing.
The services of maids, bartenders, waitresses, and government cannot be exported.
Therefore, the US trade deficit remains large and without exports to reduce it, a crisis in itself.
What the BLS jobs reports have been telling us for many years is that the US economy is in crisis, in a death-spiral. Yet, not a handful of economists’ voices have been raised.
Today president obama’s economist said that the notch upward in the unemployment rate was because the economic outlook was so good that more people were encouraged to enter the labor market than there were new jobs available.
The conclusion is inescapable: The same government that lies about weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein’s al-Qaeda connections, Iranian nukes, and so on, also lies about jobs, the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, rigs every financial and commodity market, pretends that terrorism is such a threat that the US Constitution must be set aside and that Americans are safer without the protection of habeas corpus and due process.
It is amazing how rare terrorism is, especially with Washington in the second decade of trying to stir up terrorism by invading countries on totally false pretenses, murdering citizens of countries, such as Pakistan and Yemen with drones, and supporting Israel’s never-ending murder and dispossession of the Palestinians.
After such massive provocations from Washington, one would think that the world would be ablaze with terrorism. But it isn’t.
As there is so little terrorism, Washington and its presstitute media call those who resist
Washington’s invasion of their countries “terrorists.” Everyone who resists Washington’s military aggression is a terrorist. Just ask the New York Times, Fox News, or any neoconservative. Or, for that matter, the Bilderbergs, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and Homeland Security, the Gestapo organization that now defines all American dissenters to be “domestic extremists.”
Washington’s claim that Americans have “freedom and democracy” is the sickest joke in human history.
In 21st century America, defendants have no more rights than the accused in Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. The FBI now shoots suspects brought in for questioning in the back of the head even before the suspect is arrested. http://lewrockwell.com/spl5/fbi-executed-my-boy.html
Long before Bradley Manning’s trial the presstitutes have convicted the accused based on lies leaked by the prosecutors. Consider Bradley Manning. After three years of detention, including one year of torture, he is brought to a rigged trial as a national security danger. All that Bradley Manning did was to comply with the Military Code and report war crimes. As his corrupt superiors did not want to know, he complied with his duty, apparently, by going public.
Now he is being made an example. The message is clear: Support Washington’s war crimes or be destroyed.
The Amerika that exists today has more in common with Nazi Germany than with the America in which I grew up. The young don’t know any different. But those my age realize that we have lost our country. America no longer exists.
Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org
About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
Meet Your New Boss: Buying Large Employers Will Enable China To Dominate 1000s Of U.S. Communities
Are you ready for a future where China will employ millions of American workers and dominate thousands of small communities all over the United States? Such a future would be unimaginable to many Americans, but the truth is that it is already starting to happen. Chinese acquisition of U.S. businesses set a new all-time record last year, and it is on pace to absolutely shatter that record this year. Meanwhile, China is voraciously gobbling up real estate and is establishing economic beachheads all over America. If China continues to build economic power inside the United States, it will eventually become the dominant economic force in thousands of small communities all over the nation.
Just think about what the Smithfield Foods acquisition alone will mean. Smithfield Foods is the largest pork producer and processor in the world. It has facilities in 26 U.S. states and it employs tens of thousands of Americans. It directly owns 460 farms and has contracts with approximately 2,100 others. But now a Chinese company has bought it for $4.7 billion, and that means that the Chinese will now be the most important employer in dozens of rural communities all over America. If you don’t think that this is important, you haven’t been paying much attention to what has been going on in the world. Thanks in part to our massively bloated trade deficit with China, the Chinese have trillions of dollars to spend. They are only just starting to exercise their economic muscles.
And it is important to keep in mind that there is often not much of a difference between “the Chinese government” and “Chinese corporations”. In 2011, 43 percent of all profits in China were produced by companies that the Chinese government had a controlling interest in. Americans are accustomed to thinking of “government” and “business” as being separate things, but in China they are often one and the same. Even when there is a separation in ownership, the reality is that no major Chinese corporation is going to go against the authority and guidance of the Chinese government. The relationship between government and business in China is much different than it is in the United States.
Over the past several years, Chinese companies have become increasingly aggressive. Last year a Chinese company spent $2.6 billion to purchase AMC entertainment – one of the largest movie theater chains in the United States. Now that Chinese company controls more movie ticket sales than anyone else in the world. At the time, that was the largest acquisition of a U.S. firm by a Chinese company, but now the Smithfield Foods deal has greatly surpassed that.
But China is not just relying on acquisitions to expand its economic power. The truth is that “economic beachheads” are being established all over America. For example, Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group, Inc. recently broke ground on a $100 million plant in Thomasville, Alabama. I am sure that many of the residents of Thomasville, Alabama will be glad to have jobs, but it will also become yet another community that will now be heavily dependent on communist China.
And guess where else Chinese companies are putting down roots? Read more
Dozens of companies from China are putting down roots in Detroit, part of the country’s steady push into the American auto industry.
Chinese-owned companies are investing in American businesses and new vehicle technology, selling everything from seat belts to shock absorbers in retail stores, and hiring experienced engineers and designers in an effort to soak up the talent and expertise of domestic automakers and their suppliers.
If you recently purchased an “American-made vehicle”, there is a really good chance that it has Chinese parts in it.
In fact, it is becoming harder and harder to get auto parts that are actually made in America by American companies. A lot of those companies are dying off. One example of this is a battery maker that had received $132 million from the federal government that was recently gobbled up by a huge Chinese corporation…
Industry analysts are hard-pressed to put a number on the Chinese suppliers operating in the United States. “We simply don’t know how many there are,” said David Andrea, an official with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, a trade organization for auto parts makers.
In one of the more prominent deals, the Wanxiang Group bought most of the assets of the battery maker A123 Systems, which filed for bankruptcy last year despite receiving $132 million of $249 million in federal grants to build two factories in Michigan.
Congressional Republicans criticized the deal, saying A123′s technology could support military applications in China. Still, the buyout was approved this year by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a federal government panel.
China seems particularly interested in acquiring energy resources in the United States. For example, did you know that China is actually mining for coal in the mountains of Tennessee?
Guizhou Gouchuang Energy Holdings Group spent 616 million dollars to acquire Triple H Coal Co. in Jacksboro, Tennessee. At the time, that acquisition really didn’t make much news, but now a group of conservatives in Tennessee is trying to stop the Chinese from blowing up their mountains and taking their coal. The following is from a Wall Street Journal article back in March…
The Tennessee Conservative Union began airing an ad Tuesday that says lawmakers have failed to protect the state’s scenic mountains and are allowing the “Chinese to destroy our mountains and take our coal…the same folks who hold our debt.”
But when it comes to our energy resources, China has been most interested in our oil and natural gas. It is a complete and total mystery why the federal government would allow China to buy up our precious domestic sources of energy, but it is happening. The following is a list of some of the oil and natural gas deals that China has been involved in during the last few years that was compiled by the Wall Street Journal…
Colorado: Cnooc gained a one-third stake in 800,000 acres in northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming in a $1.27 billion pact with Chesapeake Energy Corp.
Louisiana: Sinopec has a one-third interest in 265,000 acres in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale after a broader $2.5-billion deal with Devon Energy.
Michigan: Sinopec gained a one-third interest in 350,000 acres in a larger $2.5 billion deal with Devon Energy.
Ohio: Sinopec acquired a one-third stake in Devon Energy’s 235,000 Utica Shale acres in a larger $2.5 billion deal.
Oklahoma: Sinopec has a one-third interest in 215,000 acres in a broader $2.5 billion deal with Devon Energy.
Texas: Cnooc acquired a one-third interest in Chesapeake Energy’s 600,000 acres in the Eagle Ford Shale in a $2.16-billion deal.
Wyoming: Cnooc has a one-third stake in 800,000 acres in northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming after a $1.27 billion pact with Chesapeake Energy. Sinopec gained a one-third interest in Devon Energy’s 320,000 acres as part of a larger $2.5 billion deal.
Gulf of Mexico: Cnooc Ltd. separately acquired minority stakes in some of Statoil ASA’s leases as well as six of Nexen Inc.’s deep-water wells.
How could we be so stupid?
Sadly, as our politicians endlessly bicker China just continues to aggressively push ahead.
And pretty soon China may want to build entire cities in the United States just like they have been doing in other countries. According to Bloomberg, right now China is actually building a city larger than Manhattan just outside of the capital of Belarus…
China is building an entire city in the forests near the Belarusian capital Minsk to create a manufacturing springboard between the European Union and Russia.
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko allotted an area 40 percent larger than Manhattan around Minsk’s international airport for the $5 billion development, which will include enough housing to accommodate 155,000 people, according to Chinese and Belarusian officials.
And this is actually already happening on a much smaller scale in this country. For example, as I have written about previously, a Chinese company known as “Sino-Michigan Properties LLC” has purchased 200 acres of land near the little town of Milan, Michigan. Their stated goal is to construct a “China City” that has artificial lakes, a Chinese cultural center and hundreds of housing units for Chinese citizens.
In other cases, large chunks of real estate in the middle of major U.S. cities are being gobbled up by Chinese “investors”. Just check out what a Fortune article from a while back says has been happening in Toledo, Ohio…
In March 2011, Chinese investors paid $2.15 million cash for a restaurant complex on the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio. Soon they put down another $3.8 million on 69 acres of newly decontaminated land in the city’s Marina District, promising to invest $200 million in a new residential-commercial development. That September, another Chinese firm spent $3 million for an aging hotel across a nearby bridge with a view of the minor league ballpark.
Are you starting to get the picture?
#1 As I mentioned above, when you total up all imports and exports of goods, China is now the number one trading nation on the entire planet.
#2 During 2012, we sold about 110 billion dollars worth of stuff to the Chinese, but they sold about 425 billion dollars worth of stuff to us. That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.
#3 Overall, the U.S. has run a trade deficit with China over the past decade that comes to more than 2.3 trillion dollars.
#4 China now has the largest new car market in the entire world.
#5 China has more foreign currency reserves than anyone else on the planet.
#6 China is the number one gold producer in the world.
#7 China is also the number one gold importer in the world.
#8 The uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team were made in China.
#9 85 percent of all artificial Christmas trees are made in China.
#10 The new World Trade Center tower is going to include glass that has been imported from China.
#11 The new Martin Luther King memorial on the National Mall was made in China.
#12 One of the reasons it is so hard to export stuff to China is because of their tariffs. According to the New York Times, a Jeep Grand Cherokee that costs $27,490 in the United States costs about $85,000 in China thanks to all the tariffs.
#13 The Chinese economy has grown 7 times faster than the U.S. economy has over the past decade.
#14 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
#15 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
#16 Overall, the United States has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
#17 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
#18 China now produces more than twice as many automobiles as the United States does.
#19 Since the auto industry bailout, approximately 70 percent of all GM vehicles have been built outside the United States.
#20 After being bailed out by U.S. taxpayers, General Motors is currently involved in 11 joint ventures with companies owned by the Chinese government. The price for entering into many of these “joint ventures” was a transfer of “state of the art technology” from General Motors to the communist Chinese.
#21 Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.
#22 The United States has lost more than a quarter of all of its high-tech manufacturing jobs over the past ten years.
#24 The U.S. trade deficit with China is now more than 30 times larger than it was back in 1990.
#25 China now consumes more energy than the United States does.
#26 China is now the leading manufacturer of goods in the entire world.
#27 China uses more cement than the rest of the world combined.
#28 China is now the number one producer of wind and solar power on the entire globe.
#29 There are more pigs in China than in the next 43 pork producing nations combined.
#30 Today, China produces nearly twice as much beer as the United States does.
#31 Right now, China is producing more than three times as much coal as the United States does.
#33 China now produces 11 times as much steel as the United States does.
#34 China produces more than 90 percent of the global supply of rare earth elements.
#35 China is now the number one supplier of components that are critical to the operation of U.S. defense systems.
#36 A recent investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services found more than one million counterfeit Chinese parts in the Department of Defense supply chain.
#37 15 years ago, China was 14th in the world in published scientific research articles. But now, China is expected to pass the United States and become number one very shortly.
#38 China now awards more doctoral degrees in engineering each year than the United States does.
#39 The average household debt load in the United States is 136% of average household income. In China, the average household debt load is 17% of average household income.
#40 The Chinese have begun to buy up huge amounts of U.S. real estate. In fact, Chinese citizens purchased one out of every ten homes that were sold in the state of California in 2011.
And what we have seen so far may just be the tip of the iceberg as far as Chinese “investment” in U.S. real estate is concerned. The following is a brief excerpt from a Bloomberg article that was posted just last week…
China is studying the possibility of investing a portion of its $3.4 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves in U.S. real estate, said two people with direct knowledge of the situation.
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange began the study after seeing signs of a recovery in the U.S. property market, said the people, who asked not to be identified as they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter. China may acquire properties, invest in real estate funds or buy stakes in property companies, they said. The safety of the investments will be the top priority, said the people, who didn’t elaborate on a timetable or other details.
So what can we do about all of this?
Unfortunately, not a whole lot. Both major political parties seem to be fully convinced that merging our economy with the economy of communist China is a great idea. I would not expect major changes in our policies regarding China any time soon.
For now, I will just leave you with one piece of advice…
Learn to speak Chinese. You might need it someday.
Image credits to http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
By Andrea Egizi
Posted Jan 4, 2013
It seems like everyone who is paying attention to the fiscal cliff debate has an opinion one way or another about the benefits and disadvantages of the Tuesday night passage of the Senate Bill. The compromise that was agreed upon can be described as a barrel filled with pork for both Democrats and Republicans and their corporate sponsors, being that earmarks and tax breaks for corporations are included amongst the illusion of fiscal relief for the middle and lower classes.
For the left, the tax increases on the super-rich, who make up approximately 0.9 percent of the American population (those individuals earning more than $400,000 or $450,000 per household), was a victory but still managed to fall short of the Obama campaign promise of raising taxes on the top two percent (individuals earning more than $200,000 or $250,000 per household). For the right, the numbers must have added up, seeing as quite a few house Republicans voted in line with the Democrats. This tax increase on rich folks from 35 percent to 39.6 percent will create about $600 billion in revenue over the course of ten years, but with congress’ track record being as shoddy as it is, who knows what programs or misuse it will go to, you know: like the TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program), where taxpayer money went directly to the banks and CEOs but not to the millions of underwater homeowners that it was designed to assist to avoid foreclosure. But don’t worry, this money will surely not go towards paying down our world-record national debt of $16.4 trillions that was not even addressed by the bill. Economists have predicted that all the expenditure this bill allows will raise the national debt to $20 trillion during the next ten years.
Let us take a look at what else this bill will do to the economy and the American people. For starters, the bill extends for another year Goldman Sachs and Bank of America’s tax break by moving their headquarters to the “Liberty Zone”, a post 9/11 area where the World Trade centers once stood. This tax provision was created to help revitalize Lower Manhattan’s small businesses but instead helped out these two mega-bailed-out banks and helped to subsidize the construction of luxury apartments. Goldman Sachs alone was reported to have received $1.6 billion in tax free financing of its new building.
The Extension of the Active Financing Exception of Sub-part F is a very fancily-worded trade tax loophole; it extends a bill created in 1997 that allows American companies to avoid paying taxes on income from certain transactions called “active financing.” This loophole, a credit of up to $9 billion, basically encourages American companies to move overseas and thus outsource employment from Americans. One of the biggest corporations to abuse this loophole is General Electric (GE).
Please note Ron Paul’s message regarding the site that this article was originally posted and linked below.
***Please note: This is the temporary home for my weekly column until my personal web page is up and running.***
Ron Paul’s Texas Straight Talk
By Ron Paul
Last week the Senate and House demonstrated again why their approval ratings are so low. The 154 page “fiscal cliff” bill was made available to Senators just three minutes before the vote was taken on the legislation. No one can read 154 pages in three minutes, so it is safe to assume that the legislation was passed without being read.
Then the House brought the lengthy and complicated bill to a vote just 22 hours after the text had been available, meaning a full reading of the legislation was not likely possible. This was a clear violation of the “three day rule” adopted by the 112th Congress, which in the name of transparency ordered the House to make legislation available to the public a full three days before a Floor vote.
Perhaps this race to a vote, amid cries of the end of the world without a solution to the manufactured crisis, explains why an even greater than usual amount of special-interest carve-outs made it into the bill.
Article 1, Section 7 of the US Constitution clearly states that “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” but as has been done many times, the Senate simply attached its bill to an existing House bill and claimed that this Constitutional requirement had been satisfied.
If the process was dishonest and unconstitutional, the content of the bill was even worse.
The “rescue” legislation was packed full of special tax deals for well-connected corporations with the money to hire high-profile lobbyists – usually those who have spent a good deal of time as legislators themselves.
The principle of tax cuts and breaks themselves are not the problem, however. It is incorrect to view any return of tax money to its rightful owner as money taken from the government. Wealth belongs to those who generate it not to government. However, while well-connected special interests like Hollywood and rum manufacturers were being granted targeted tax assistance, the vast majority of Americans were being hit with a significant tax increase in the form of higher payroll taxes. Rather than cut a dime from federal spending, this bill granted breaks to the corporate elites and paid for the “lost revenue” by passing the costs on to the rest of us.
The “fiscal cliff” bill also rescued other corporate interests. Included in the text was a nine-month extension of the 2008 Farm Bill. This is corporate welfare at its worst, spending billions to enrich big corporate farms with direct subsidies at the expense of small farmers — and the taxpayer.
Last week’s last minute deal was the worst of both worlds: higher taxes on nearly all Americans now and a promise to begin thinking about modest cuts in spending growth two months down the road. While there was much hand-wringing over the “draconian” cuts that would have been imposed by sequestration, in fact sequestration would not have cut spending at all. Under the sequestration plan, government spending would increase by $1.6 trillion over the next eight years. Congress calls this a cut because without sequestration spending would increase by $1.7 trillion over the same time frame. Either way it is an increase in spending, however.
I have little hope that a majority of Congress and the President will change their ways and support real spending reductions. Fortunately, increasing numbers of Americans are awakening to the dangers posed by the growth of the welfare-warfare state. Hopefully this movement will continue to grow and force the politicians to reverse course before government spending, taxing, and inflation destroys our economy entirely.
Last month, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) unveiled Vetting Commodity IT Software and Firmware (VET) program. This endeavor is designed to indicate “backdoors and other hidden malicious functionality in commercial information devices, like cell phones, routers and other networked consumer devices.”
According to DARPA reports, their agency and the Department of Defense (DoD) are concerned about the reliance upon digital technology that encompasses military, governments and citizens worldwide.
As of now the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is able to spy on Americans through commercial devices that reside in nearly every household.
In December of 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced plans to transition unused over-the-air wireless bands into Super Wi-Fi. This super Wi-Fi will use low frequencies (from 470 to 698 megahertz) that have longer wavelengths and travel father; and even penetrate walls.