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Socialism for rich people: How corporate welfare is hurting you

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- Commentary

You often hear Trump and Republicans in Congress railing against so-called “welfare programs”—by which they mean programs that provide health care or safety nets to ordinary Americans.

But you almost never hear them complaining about another form of welfare that lines the pockets of wealthy corporations. We must end corporate welfare. Now.

There are several ways corporations get rich on the taxpayer’s dime. The most obvious comes through subsidies or tax breaks for certain businesses or industries.

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Consider the fossil fuel industry, one of the most profitable and privileged sectors of the economy. Every year, oil companies get to deduct millions of dollars from their tax bills for the cost of new wells, oil exploration, and other drilling and mining expenses. 

It’s been estimated that repealing these special tax breaks would save taxpayers $39 billion over 10 years.

Other examples of corporate welfare include billions in government subsidies for agricultural conglomeratespharmaceutical makerstech giants, and defense contractors.

Other industries don’t get these benefits. Meanwhile, most families don’t even benefit from tax credits and deductions for child care.

State and local governments are also handing out corporate welfare, often with no strings attached. In 2013, for example, the state of Washington approved a record $8.7 billion handout to Boeing in order “to maintain and grow its workforce within the state.“ What did Boeing do? In the following years, it laid off more than 12,000 workers in the state.

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State and local tax breaks for corporations are estimated to cost local schools almost $2 billion a year in lost tax revenue. 

It’s argued they create jobs, yet nationwide, not a single new job is created. At most, the jobs are merely moved from state to state.

How do corporations get this corporate welfare? Follow the money. They spend hundreds of millions on lobbying and campaign contributions.

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An even more insidious example of corporate welfare occurs when corporations don’t pay their workers a living wage. As a result, those workers often have to rely on programs like Medicaid, public housing, food stamps, and other safety nets.

Which means you and I and other taxpayers end up subsidizing these low wages so those corporations can enjoy even higher profits for their executives and wealthy investors.

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For example, every year, Americans spend an estimated $153 billion in taxes and on programs to subsidize McDonald’s and Walmart’s low-wage workers.

Here’s the bottom-line: When corporations get special handouts from the government, it costs the rest of us. We have to pay more in taxes to make up for these hidden tax breaks, subsidies, and loopholes. In turn, there’s less money for good schools and roads, Medicare and national defense, and everything else we need.

So the next time you hear conservatives railing against welfare handouts for the poor, remind them that we should really be cutting corporate welfare—unnecessary and unwarranted aid for dependent corporations.

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America was witness to Trump’s stunning attempt to intimidate a witness

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The Wall Street Journal reviewed White House emails to reveal Monday morning that Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, had kept senior officials abreast of efforts to pressure Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating the Bidens before Donald Trump’s infamous July 25 phone call with the young Ukrainian president.

This article was originally published at The Editorial Board

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Bill Barr’s fascist manifesto: Is this man the real threat to American democracy?

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The biggest moment in former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's impeachment-hearing testimony on Friday was when House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told her that President Trump was attacking her on Twitter as she was speaking.Trump's defenders came out in force, offering various explanations for his mob-like behavior. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has been arguing that Trump was just testing the Ukrainians to see if they would fall into his trap and prove they were corrupt. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., using the abusive-husband excuse, insisted that it's Trump's political opponents who make him behave the way he does — they are "tormenting" him and should have just covered up his crimes for the good of the country. It's clear that the only thing they can settle on is the inane story that Trump prefers: He did absolutely nothing wrong and anyone who says otherwise is a partisan hack acting in bad faith.
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With impeachment, Trump has lost control of the news cycle — and he’s not handling it well

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

We're still a year out from the election, but a strong early contender for the worst take among the chattering classes was the suggestion that Donald Trump secretly wanted to be impeached in order to fire up his base going into 2020. Not only is Trump's based perpetually aggrieved--and constantly told by the conservative press that America will come to a nasty end if the "socialist Democrats" come to power--but this storyline also elided the president's* narcissism.

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