- Series: Real Story Series
- Paperback: 191 pages
- Publisher: Odonian Pr (September 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1878825313
- ISBN-13: 978-1878825315
- Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,501,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Take the Rich Off Welfare (Real Story Series)
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Thank God the U.S. government has begun to cut funding of the arts, humanities, and social services ... but what are they going to do with all that surplus cash? Although the popular media has been largely mum about it, most of the welfare payments go to large corporations in the form of tax write-offs, subsidies, and plain old handouts. This frightening and enlightening book by the editor of The Tucson Comic News (a monthly collection of comic strips and panels) traces the flow of money into such worthy projects as subsidizing nuclear power plants (the last one was finished in 1973, but that doesn't stop the U.S. government from spending $7.1 billion a year on this vapor industry), tax breaks for the tobacco industry ($41 million last year), and corporate expense account write-offs ($5.5 billion last year). Read it and weep.
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He wrote in the Introduction to this 2004 book, "Wealthfare---the money government gives away to corporations and wealthy individuals---costs us more than $815 billion a year... the Table of Contents ... lists the estimated annual cost of the various subsidies, handouts, tax breaks, loopholes, ripoffs, and scams this book describes... All (this book) says is that it's not fair for people to get rich---and stay rich---by defrauding people who are poorer than them." He also notes that a "wealth tax" of just 4% on the 200 richest people on earth would guarantee everyone enough to eat. (Pg. 3)
He cites a report from the Congressional Budget Office showing that a billion dollars spent on arms exports creates 25,000 jobs, "but if that same billion is spent on mass transit, it creates 30,000 jobs; on housing, 36,000 jobs; on education, 41,000 jobs; or on health care, 47,000 jobs." (Pg. 64) He later notes that while agribusiness consolidation created 36,000 jobs between 1975-1996, "farm employment dropped 667,000 jobs." (Pg. 85)
He disparages subsidies of tobacco, "a drug that kills 48 Americans every hour." (Pg. 87) He observes that "there'd be no market for ethanol without the subsidy." (Pg. 95) He notes that "the Forest Service... continues to shamelessly undervalue our trees... it came up with a value of $2.85... for 1,000 board-feet of lumber (about 1% of the commercial rate)." (Pg. 122)
Obviously geared to the progressive point of view, this book is an excellent resource to help discount various contentions made by conservatives.
buy this book, now. wave it in the face of your pain in the *ss neighbor who has never heard of Welfare Reform...OR Corporate Welfare. (don't be antagonistic, though. smile).
The writing style is humorous and entertaining, and the author does his best to keep his political leanings out of the picture and just to talk about waste no matter whose fault it is. He does make a few mis-steps here and there due to his own philosophies, and a lack of some technical knowledge, but overall his principles are sound.
The overall principle is really simple. The world would be better off if pretty much ALL subsidies, tax breaks, etc were taken away. This would result in what is known as "free market economics" rather than what we have "oligopoly". Well intentioned laws created to help the weak and poor have instead resulted only in the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, whilst creating products and services that no one wants or needs that destroy the environment and bankrupt the country. Fun!
As I said, the author makes a few mis-steps, but that cannot be blamed for the most part. He sees subsidies on corn and cries foul, not understanding that biofuel (while not perfect) presented a possible alternative to gasoline which is inferior in many ways. While corn might not be the best solution, he ignores the fact that entire countries have broken the back of the oil monopolies by switching to "alternative" fuel sources for their transportation (watch the excellent documentary "PUMP" for more info). I can't blame the author for not knowing about all that, because the economics and politics are complicated enough that no one understood exactly what was going on for quite a while due to misinformation campaigns.
He likewise decries the interference of government in times where I feel government intervention really WAS necessary. It is well known in the tech industry that telecommunications companies do everything in their power NOT to make progress and upgrades in their standards due to their allergy to spending money that effect their profits in any way. Thus, when the Internet/Cell Phone/Television standards of the USA get truly atrocious the government MUST get involved to keep the country from turning into a third world country. So...yeah, not ALL government spending is bad. In my opinion anyway.
All that said, if you want to understand where the money is going, this is the ticket. If you WANT the government to build weapons and keep generating nuclear waste etc you are going to hate this book because it's down on waste, and calls most spending wasteful and destructive. Likewise if you are a big believer in tax cuts, subsidies, and prolonged warfare you want to steer clear of this book.
For most others, this is going to be a very interesting and enlightening book. Just don't take it TOO seriously. You can feel free to disagree with individual points just as I do, but it's good to know the spending exists, just the same (whether you are for or against it).
Good read. Recommended for people who want to know where the government money REALLY goes.
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for example the author claims on page 8 (Miscellaneous Corporate tax breaks)...Read more