Wednesday, August 02, 2006
The Big Ripoff - Why Corporate America Needs Welfare Reform
In the July 29, 2006 edition of Wall Street Journal, Jacob Laksin, a senior editor at FrontPageMag.com, reviewed a new book entitled The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money by Timothy P. Carney. At least one aim of the book is to debunk the myth that big business and big government are enemies. Some salient points highlighted in the review:
1. Carney does not begrudge businesses their right to make a profit. His objection is to their doing so by enlisting government bureaucrats and by shortchanging taxpayers.
2. Corporations are not practitioners of laissez-faire ruthlessness - they defend all sorts of impediments to competition and court the government for every sort of handout and favor.
3. Enron built its fortune on the strength of $7 billion in government subsidies, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. These came mostly in the form of discounted loans from government agencies, supposedly required to create American jobs but in fact used to bankroll several ill-fated Enron projects abroad.
4. Members of the Fanjul family - the "sugar sultans" of South Florida - collect $65 million in subsidies annually.
5. Regulations are not the scourge of the business world. Many top companies welcome these rules. The airline industry sees burdensome federal oversight as a means of discouraging upstart competition. Tobacco giant Philip Morris is only too happy to submit to government curbs on advertising, confident that the effect is to keep smaller, lesser-known manufacturers on the margins, to the benefit of its already famous brands.
6. Many lawmakers rely on corporate backing to get into positions of power and to stay there.
7. Businesses will always do whatever they can to make money.