FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Free Lunches, for Corporations!

by RALPH NADER

 

On September 26, 2007, the powerful National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) bought two pages in the Wall Street Journal to tout a prosperous, expanding group of member-companies producing products.

It occurred to me as I began the copy, that the NAM rarely bought expensive space like this in the Journal. Then after going through NAM’s introductory message, I realized why they purchased the ad. Month after month in hundreds of loyal editorials, the Journal’s editorial writers already have been conveying the cravings and demands of this trade association.

The parallels between this revenue-producing two page spread and the Journal’s opinion scribes, in contrast to its often sterling news pages, are the stuff of the corporate state.

The editorials argue for more “clean” coal and nuclear power and emphasize expanding production of U.S. oil and natural gas with a token tip to renewables (with plenty of taxpayer subsidies).

So does the NAM.

NAM wants more so-called “free trade” agreements without recognizing, at the very least, that there can be no “free trade” with dictatorships like China. Dictatorial, oligarchic regimes determine wages, prevent free trade unions, and otherwise through grease and no-rule-of-law or access to justice, obstruct market-based costs and pricing.

So do the Journal’s editorial writers.

In scores of frenzied editorials, the Journal assails tort law, tort attorneys and “unreasonable awards.” Having read just about all these advertiser-friendly diatribes, I have yet to discern any data to back up their flood of declamations about “frivolous” litigation and “wild” awards.

Neither did the NAM produce any evidence about “lawsuit abuse” because the evidence points to declining product defect and malpractice suits, notwithstanding that 90% of these injured people suffer without any legal claims filed on their behalf. (See: http://www.centerjd.org/ and http://www.citizen.org/)

The Journal’s rigid ideologues demand less regulation (read less law and order for corporations) and the weakening of the Sarbanes-Oxley law enacted to modestly deal with part of the corporate crime wave of the past decade.

So does the NAM.

The NAM wants further reduction of the already reduced corporate tax rate and more taxpayer pay-out to corporations, including super-profitable ones like Intel, GE, Cisco and Pfizer. These latter windfalls are called research and development tax credits. How many Americans know that they are paying these and other super-profitable companies more money to make still more profits? Cisco does not even pay dividends.

So also demands the big business echo chamber on the Journal’s editorial pages.

The Journal has been campaigning for years to end the estate tax which is so diluted that less than 2 percent of all estates have to pay anything to Uncle Sam. Conservative Republican wordsmith, Frank Luntz, in a moment of abandon, called lobbying an effort to end “the billionaires tax.”

The NAM wants an end to the estate tax, even though none of its corporate-members ever has to pay an estate tax. For good measure, NAM wants to keep the maximum tax rates on investment income and capital gains at a level half of a worker’s maximum tax rate. Far lower taxes on capital than on labor suits the NAM three-piece-suits just fine.

The Journal is for brain-draining the Third World. Drain those critical doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs from Asia, Africa and South America. Give them permanent visas and then wonder why those countries are having trouble fielding the skilled leaders needed to develop their own economies. It is easier than training talented minority youths in our country.

The NAM ad calls for “reform of the visa system to attract and retain global talent.”

And so it goes. Such a symbiotic relationship! Big business members of NAM pour millions of dollars in ads daily into the Wall Street Journal. In return, the dutiful and gleeful editorial writers deliver the screeds that caress the brows and deepen the pockets of the CEOs.

There is another recurrent message in the insistent materials of NAM and its comrade-in-greed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Enough is never enough.

For over a quarter century, there has been more and more de-regulation (electricity, motor vehicles, coal, drugs, nuclear, occupational safety, pollution, aviation, rail, truck antitrust and more) with detriment to the health, safety and economic well-being of the American people. Still not enough, they say!

In the same period, you the taxpayer have been forced to have your tax dollars pour out of Washington and into the coffers of Big Business in a myriad of ways. Hundreds of billions of your dollars. Not enough, they say! They roar for more coddling.

You want chapter and verse, evidence and data? Get ready to read Free Lunch, a riveting new book by the Pulitzer-prize winning tax reporter for The New York Times, David Cay Johnston. It will be out in about two months. Just in time for your gift-giving season.

RALPH NADER is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

 

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail