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Indentured servitude is back in a big way in the United States, and conservative corporatists want to make sure that labor never, ever again has the power to tell big business how to treat them.

Idaho, for example, recently passed a law that recognizes and rigorously enforces non-compete agreements in employment contracts, which means that if you want to move to a different, more highly paid, or better job, you can instead get wiped out financially by lawsuits and legal costs.

In a way, conservative/corporatists are just completing the circle back to the founding of this country.

Indentured servitude began in a big way in the early 1600s, when the British East India Company was establishing a beachhead in the (newly stolen from the Indians) state of Virginia (named after the “virgin queen” Elizabeth I, who signed the charter of the BEIC creating the first modern corporation in 1601). Jamestown (named after King James, who followed Elizabeth I to the crown) wanted free labor, and the African slave trade wouldn’t start to crank up for another decade.

So the company made a deal with impoverished Europeans: Come to work for typically 4-7 years (some were lifetime indentures, although those were less common), legally as the property of the person or company holding your indenture, and we’ll pay for your transport across the Atlantic.

It was, at least philosophically, the logical extension of the feudal economic and political system that had ruled Europe for over 1,000 years. The rich have all the rights and own all the property; the serfs are purely exploitable free labor who could be disposed of (indentured servants, like slaves, were commonly whipped, hanged, imprisoned, or killed when they rebelled or were not sufficiently obedient).

This type of labor system has been the dream of conservative/corporatists, particularly since the “Reagan Revolution” kicked off a major federal war on the right of workers to organize for their own protection from corporate abuse.

Unions represented almost a third of American workers when Reagan came into office (and, since union jobs set local labor standards, for every union job there was typically an identically-compensated non-union job, meaning about two-thirds of America had the benefits and pay associated with union jobs pre-Reagan).

Thanks to Reagan’s war on labor, today unions represent about 6 percent of the non-government workforce.

But that wasn’t enough for the acolytes of Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman. They didn’t just want workers to lose their right to collectively bargain; they wanted employers to functionally own their employees.

Prior to the current Reaganomics era, non-compete agreements were pretty much limited to senior executives and scientists/engineers.

If you were a CEO or an engineer for a giant company, knowing all their processes, secrets and future plans, that knowledge had significant and consequential value — company value worth protecting with a contract that said you couldn’t just take that stuff to a competitor without either a massive payment to the left-behind company or a flat-out lawsuit.

But should a guy who digs holes with a shovel or works on a drilling rig be forced to sign a non-compete? What about a person who flips burgers or waits tables in a restaurant? Or the few factory workers we have left, since neoliberal trade policies have moved the jobs of tens of thousands of companies overseas?

Turns out corporations are using non-competes to prevent even these types of employees from moving to newer or better jobs.

America today has the lowest minimum wage in nearly 50 years, adjusted for inflation. As a result, people are often looking for better jobs. But according to the New York Times, about 1 in 5 American workers is now locked in with a non-compete clause in an employment contract.

Before Reaganomics, employers didn’t keep their employees by threatening them with lawsuits; instead, they offered them benefits like insurance, paid vacations and decent wages. Large swaths of American workers could raise a family and have a decent retirement with a basic job ranging from manufacturing to construction to service industry work.

My dad was one of them; he worked 40 years in a tool-and-die shop, and the machinist’s union made sure he could raise and put through school four boys, could take 2-3 weeks of paid vacation every year, and had full health insurance and a solid retirement until the day he died, which continued with my mom until she died years later. Most boomers (particularly white boomers) can tell you the same story.

That America has been largely destroyed by Reaganomics, and Americans know it. It’s why when Donald Trump told voters that the big corporations and banksters were screwing them, they voted for him and his party (not realizing that neither Trump nor the GOP had any intention of doing anything to help working people).

And now the conservatives/corporatists are going in for the kill, for their top goal: the final destruction of any remnant of labor rights in America.

Why would they do this? Two reasons: An impoverished citizenry is a politically impotent citizenry, and in the process of destroying the former middle class, the 1 percent make themselves trillions of dollars richer.

The New York Times has done some great reporting on this problem, with an article last May and a more recent piece about how the state of Idaho has made it nearly impossible for many workers to escape their servitude.

Historically, indentured servants had their food, health care, housing, and clothing provided to them by their “employers.” Today’s new serfs can hardly afford these basics of life, and when you add in modern necessities like transportation, education and child-care, the American labor landscape is looking more and more like old-fashioned servitude.

Nonetheless, conservatives/corporatists in Congress and state-houses across the nation are working hard to hold down minimum wages. Missouri’s Republican legislature just made it illegal for St. Louis to raise their minimum wage to $10/hour, throwing workers back down to $7.70. More preemption laws like this are on the books or on their way.

At the same time, these conservatives/corporatists are working to roll back health care protections for Americans, roll back environmental protections that keep us and our children from being poisoned, and even roll back simple workplace, food and toy safety standards.

The only way these predators will be stopped is by massive political action leading to the rollback of Reaganism/neoliberalism.

And the conservatives/corporatists who largely own the Republican Party know it, which is why they’re purging voting lists, fighting to keep in place easily hacked voting machines, and throwing billions of dollars into think tanks, right-wing radio, TV, and online media.

If they succeed, America will revert to a very old form of economy and politics: the one described so well in Charles Dickens’ books when Britain had “maximum wage laws” and “Poor Laws” to prevent a strong and politically active middle class from emerging.

Conservatives/corporatists know well that this type of neo-feudalism is actually a very stable political and economic system, and one that’s hard to challenge. China has put it into place in large part, and other countries from Turkey to the Philippines to Brazil and Venezuela are falling under the thrall of the merger of corporate and state power.

So many of our individual rights have been stripped from us, so much of America’s middle-class progress in the last century has been torn from us, while conservatives wage a brutal and oppressive war on dissenters and people of color under the rubrics of “security,” “tough on crime,” and the “war on drugs.”

As a result, America has 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, more than any other nation on earth, all while opiate epidemics are ravaging our nation. And what to do about it?

Scientists have proven that the likelihood the desires of the bottom 90 percent of Americans get enacted into law are now equal to statistical “random noise.” Functionally, most of us no longer have any real representation in state or federal legislative bodies: they now exist almost exclusively to serve the very wealthy.

The neo-feudal corporate/conservative elite are both politically and financially committed to replacing the last traces of worker power in America with a modern system of indentured servitude.

Only serious and committed political action can reverse this; we’re long past the point where complaining or sitting on the sidelines is an option.

As both Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama regularly said (and I’ve closed my radio show for 14 years with), “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

Tag, you’re it.
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Over the years, Apple Inc. has become the poster child for U.S. multinationals accused of sheltering overseas profits to avoid the IRS. What’s gone largely unnoticed is that it’s been paid more than half a billion dollars by the U.S. government to do just that.
Taking advantage of an exemption tucked into America’s Byzantine tax code, Apple stashed much of its foreign earnings—tax-free—right here in the U.S., in part by purchasing government bonds, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. In return, the Treasury Department paid Apple at least $600 million and possibly much more over the past five years in the form of interest, a Bloomberg review of its regulatory filings shows.
The untold story of Apple and its taxes wends its way from Cork, Ireland, to New York and then Reno, Nevada. But according to tax experts interviewed by Bloomberg News, the maker of iPhones is hardly unique. Many of the biggest U.S. multinationals have seized on the same exemption, which lets them avoid or delay repatriation taxes by buying Treasuries with their overseas cash. (The top 10 alone hold over $100 billion of the bonds.) That, in effect, enables the companies to turn billions of dollars in potential tax liabilities into millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies—all while they publicly bemoan the sky-high taxes that make it impossible for them to bring the money home.
From the government’s standpoint, “it’s as if you are paying someone to borrow a bike that’s actually yours to begin with,” said Reuven Avi-Yonah, a professor who specializes in corporate and international taxation at the University of Michigan Law School. “The whole thing is full of uneasy compromises in order to dance around the reality that most of the money isn’t actually offshore—it’s really here.”

- Blurred Lines -
The maneuver is perfectly legal and no one is suggesting that it’s a big money maker for Apple or anyone else at today’s low interest rates. If the companies sold the bonds, the cash would still be considered foreign earnings and subject to eventual taxation. What’s more, the interest they earn from buying U.S. debt—which helps finance government spending—is taxable.
But if nothing else, the purchases reflect how the distinction between what’s foreign and what’s not for multinationals often exists only in the world of accounting.
In response to requests for comment, Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock referred Bloomberg to the company’s annual financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, without elaborating further. In the most recent filing, Apple said it paid $10.4 billion in worldwide income taxes for its last fiscal year.
The Internal Revenue Service declined to comment, as did the Treasury Department, which oversees the U.S. government tax agency.

- Tax Exemption -
The issue of what to do with U.S. companies’ overseas earnings—which has vexed lawmakers for years—has become more urgent with the election of Donald Trump. As a candidate, Trump promised to get companies to bring back some of the $2.6 trillion they hold internationally by enacting a one-time repatriation tax of 10 percent (from the 35 percent rate).
The current exemption, spelled out in Section 956(c)(2) of the U.S. tax code, has been in place since 1962. But over the past two decades, global companies (particularly in technology and pharmaceuticals) began to use it aggressively as one way to reduce the tax bill on their burgeoning overseas profits. It states companies can repatriate income without paying a penny in taxes—as long as it is used to buy Treasuries or other U.S. securities like stocks and corporate bonds.
If a company decides to use the money for any other purpose, like capital spending, it would still be subject to a 35 percent tax. And the money reverts back to accounts designated for foreign cash if the securities are sold. (Part of the reason companies still earmark the cash as “held overseas” for accounting purposes.)

- ‘Honor System’ -
“It’s an honor system, a self-assessment system,” said J. Richard Harvey, a former top tax official at the IRS and Treasury Department, who now teaches law at Villanova University. “Many companies like Apple are very aggressive in taking advantage of arguably, loopholes in the law.”
It’s impossible to know precisely how much taxpayer money has been paid out to companies that have parked their cash in U.S. government debt, simply because the multinationals aren’t required to provide detailed breakdowns. However, based on a Bloomberg review of annual financial statements filed with the SEC, conservative estimates suggest the 10 U.S. companies with the most reported cash abroad have received at least $1.4 billion in interest payments over the past five years.

- Taxpayer Contributions -
Treasury has paid at least $1.4 billion in interest to big multinationals since 2012.
Apple, which has more than doubled those holdings of Treasuries to $42 billion since 2012, received the most in interest payments over that time, the data show. In the same span, the Treasury has paid Cisco Systems Inc. roughly $430 million, while Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent) has gotten about $160 million. (The tally excludes Microsoft Corp., Qualcomm Inc., and Coca-Cola Co., which are in the top 10 but don’t provide a detailed accounting of their investments.)

- Ballooning Interest -
The companies in the Bloomberg review, which also include Johnson & Johnson, Amgen Inc., Gilead Science Inc. and Oracle Corp., either declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests seeking comment.
The interest payments have ballooned as they’ve amassed more and more Treasuries with their overseas profits. Together, these 10 multinationals, which control almost 20 percent of all the cash held abroad by American corporations, have boosted their investments in government bonds to $113 billion from $67 billion over the past five years, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Blaming U.S. companies for following the tax code, however complex or flawed, is misguided, says Richard Lane, a senior analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.
“If these companies don’t need the money in the U.S., there’s no incentive to give Uncle Sam” that money in taxes, he said. “What sane chief financial officer, who’s doing their fiduciary duties to shareholders, would pay money to some entity for no good reason? If there’s a moral issue, I’m not sure whether there’s immorality to that.”

- Treasured Assets -
Nevertheless, the purchases shed light on how multinationals have blurred the definitions of onshore and offshore earnings.
In Apple’s case, more than 90 percent of its $238 billion cash hoard is considered “overseas” in its accounting statements. Most of it belongs to the Cupertino, California-based company’s Ireland units. But like many multinationals, Apple’s cash sits in custodial accounts with U.S.-based banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and State Street Corp., said people with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak on the issue.
Apple typically directs Wall Street bond dealers and big money managers like BlackRock Inc. and Pimco to buy Treasuries at debt auctions and in the secondary market on behalf of its Irish subsidiaries, all from a nondescript, three-story building in Reno, Nevada—a state with no corporate taxes, the people said. That’s where its internal investment firm, Braeburn Capital, is housed. Apple established the unit in 2005 to manage its cash and short-term investments.

- Tax Haven -
As for Ireland, Apple isn’t alone. Nine of the 10 U.S. companies with the most cash abroad have foreign subsidiaries there.
Over the years, lax Irish regulations have encouraged multinationals to pursue aggressive accounting practices that enabled them to shift much of their profits to those subsidiaries and minimize U.S. tax liabilities, according to tax experts.
In one of the more notable examples that’s drawn particular scrutiny, companies will book a disproportionate amount of revenue as “offshore” by claiming the underlying technologies are owned by their Irish units—even if the intellectual property originated in the U.S.
Apple went even further. According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, it exploited gaps in U.S. and Irish laws so that it didn’t have a tax home anywhere.
The company is already in hot water with the European Union. Regulators ordered Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes in August after concluding it paid an effective tax rate of 0.005 percent in 2014 because of preferential Irish treatment. Last week, Apple called the EU decision “seriously flawed.”

- Fundamental Disagreement -
In November, Ireland filed an appeal against the ruling after repeatedly saying the country “fundamentally disagrees” with the analysis.
“They don’t want to pay taxes, but they’re using the U.S. financial system to benefit from our laws, security, productivity and all the rest of it,” said Elise Bean, the former chief counsel who led the Senate probe into Apple’s tax practices. “They’re using the money to buy U.S. Treasuries, which is so ironic.”
Using Irish subsidiaries to funnel all that cash into Treasuries may help explain a bond-market curiosity that’s emerged in recent years: how Ireland, a nation of less than five million, managed to amass $271 billion of U.S. government bonds, based on data compiled by the Treasury, and become America’s largest foreign creditor, after China and Japan.
Whatever the case, the need to address companies’ untaxed profits may be one of the few things Republicans and Democrats can agree on. During the campaign, both Trump and opponent Hillary Clinton proposed one-time tax breaks on overseas earnings (a so-called repatriation tax holiday) to help fund competing infrastructure plans.

- ‘Really Foolish’ -
Yet absent a wholesale tax overhaul to close the repatriation loophole, such one-offs are Band-Aids that will only make things worse over time, according to H. David Rosenbloom, an attorney at Caplin & Drysdale and the director of the international tax program at New York University School of Law.
He pointed to a similar 2004 tax holiday under President George W. Bush, which ultimately led companies to accumulate more profits abroad after it expired. Almost all the repatriated cash during that time was used for shareholder rewards and executive bonuses—rather than investment and hiring in the U.S. that many companies promised.
Last time, “it just encouraged companies to send more money abroad and wait for the next amnesty,” he said. “It would be really foolish to do.”
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  In the U.S.,  it is rather commonplace to see welfare recipients demonized, people on food stamps ostracized, and anyone on any form of public assistance is often made to feel guilty that they need help. They are called lazy and incompetent, with little regard for circumstance or economic hardship. Sure, there are some people that take advantage of the system. But there are millions that desperately need help, and social welfare programs are the only thing standing between them and poverty.
  That demonization seems to shift, however, when it comes to giving assistance to big business. According to The Cato Institute, corporate welfare handouts shot all the way up to $92 billion as of 2002. Most of those subsidies were secured by companies in industries like energy — which are some of the most profitable entities in the history of the world. As one writer at Forbes points out, cutting these huge subsidies would be a great way to help balance the national budget, but it is never put into action, and much less even considered.

  More recently, subsidy tracking group Good Jobs First released a 2014 report detailing where exactly taxpayer dollars are being funneled, and which states are the most likely to divvy up handouts. There are some surprises in the report, but many details won’t come as much of a shock at all. New York and Washington were the top two states for handing out corporate subsidies, with New York alone topping more than $20 billion across nearly 69,000 individual handouts. The data also shows that roughly 75% of disclosed subsidy dollars have gone to 965 big companies. The total known value of subsidies across the country came out at an estimated $110 billion, although its likely more...
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  World leaders, celebrities, and even soccer players, a leak from the law firm Mossack Fonseca recently revealed, are fond of using shell companies to avoid paying taxes. While as of yet, few high-profile American names have been linked to the Panama Papers, this sort of tax avoidance is a common practice among a number of well-known U.S. companies, according to a report released Thursday by Oxfam America. The country’s 50 largest corporations have stored more than a trillion dollars in offshore shell companies in recent years to lower their tax rate, the report says.

  Large corporations such as Pfizer, Walmart, IBM, and Apple have stashed billions of dollars via more than 1,500 subsidiaries in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, according to the report, which analyzed the companies’ Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Though this practice isn’t illegal, keeping profits offshore lowers the taxes owed in the United States, and this ends up costing the U.S. government about $111 billion each year in lost revenue, by Oxfam’s calculations.

  The 50 largest American companies made about $4 trillion in profit from 2008 to 2014, according to SEC filings, and kept about a quarter of that amount outside the country. Oxfam analysts calculated that these corporations paid an average effective tax rate of 26.5 percent. That’s below the statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent and lower than what the average American worker pays, which is 31.5 percent.

  Of course, keeping profits in offshore tax havens is not the only way a company lowers its effective tax rate. Many of these companies also get tax credits and deductions from the federal government, says Craig Boise, the dean of Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. But still, it’s problematic that companies rely heavily on loopholes in the international tax system to keep some profits from being taxed in the United States. Every time a new rule is created to crack down on abuse, he says, companies find another way around it. “It’s like constantly playing a game of catch-up,” says Boise, whose research focuses on U.S. corporate and international tax policy.

  As a result of all this, smaller businesses that don’t have the resources necessary to construct complex tax-avoidance schemes end up paying closer to the full tax rate. This means that they end up paying a larger share of the bill for services such as roads, health care, and education, says Deborah Field, a former corporate tax accountant, whom Oxfam invited to speak on a press call about the report. “I’ve seen how much time and effort companies put into avoiding paying their taxes,” says Field, who now runs a small business in Oregon. “It makes me angry.”

  Over the past several decades, corporations have been paying a smaller and smaller share of taxes, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. In 1952, corporate income taxes funded about 32 percent of the federal government. That shrank to 10.6 percent by 2015. While tax havens aren’t the sole cause of this shift, it’s worth noting that the share of corporate profits reported in tax havens has increased tenfold since the 1980s.

The companies that in their SEC filings reported holding the most money offshore include Apple, with $181 billion stored in abroad, as well as Pfizer and PepsiCo, which reported owning the largest number of subsidiaries in tax havens—more than 100 each...
The country’s 50 largest corporations have stored more than a trillion dollars in offshore shell companies in recent years to lower their tax rate, says a new report.
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...Over the past decade, as wages for most workers have stagnated and benefits have been trimmed, many corporations have been able to post record profits. The winners include companies that employ mostly low-wage workers. Two industries dominate the rankings of low-wage employers: giant retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, and giant fast food companies like McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks.

  Companies like these have benefited greatly by controlling employment costs. Unfortunately, the costs that these companies trim from their books don’t just disappear from the economy. They are reappearing in our taxes, and you and I pay them on April 15. According to the latest research, it is employed workers – no longer the unemployed – who now comprise the majority of those who need help from antipoverty programs. These programs provide food stamps, medical coverage, child care and temporary cash assistance. They go under an alphabet soup of names: CHIP, TANF, SNAP and EITC, along with Medicaid.
These programs were originally set up to serve the temporarily unemployed and those whose disabilities prevent them from working. But the population served by these programs has shifted dramatically. Consider child care subsidies. Among the families who receive partially subsidized child care, 83 percent now include a working parent. These working parents aren’t lazy, they aren’t disabled and they aren’t unemployed, But their wages are just not high enough for them to afford child care on their own. Similarly, the majority of families that receive assistance of some kind – food, child care, Medicaid, income support, etc. – now include a working adult. And the majority of federal and state spending on such programs goes to members of working families.

  There is a profound irony here in that those who most oppose taxes are often the quickest to defend the particular business practices that cost the taxpayers money. The same people who crusade against taxes also rail against all forms of corporate regulations and all measures that would give workers more negotiating power. They don’t realize that by attacking efforts to raise the minimum wage, they multiply the ranks of people who need government assistance. They don’t realize that by opposing rules that make corporations provide health insurance to their workers, they increase the amount the government must pay for health care.

  It’s not just coincidence that the states whose residents require the greatest federal support tend to be deeply red politically, such as Alabama, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. These states all have very pro-business, anti-union, anti-regulatory policy. Yet somehow these “pro-business” policies do not seem to translate into economic self-sufficiency, let alone prosperity, for many of their residents. Meanwhile, states that are criticized for having “anti-business” policies, like California, seem to have less need, per capita, for federal anti-poverty money...
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  For several decades, state and local governments have been showering private businesses with tax breaks and direct subsidies based on the theory that this practice fosters economic development and, therefore, job growth. But does it?  New York State’s experience indicates that, when it comes to producing jobs, corporate welfare programs are a bad investment.

  In May 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, with enormous fanfare, launched a campaign to establish Tax-Free NY — a scheme providing tax-free status for ten years to companies that moved onto or near the state’s public college and university campuses.  According to Cuomo, this would “supercharge” the state’s economy and bring job creation efforts to an unprecedented level.  It was “a game-changing initiative,” the governor insisted, and — despite criticism from educators, unions, and some conservatives — local officials fell into line.  Reluctant to oppose this widely-touted jobs creation measure, the state legislature established the program — renamed Start-Up NY and including some private college campuses — that June.

After that, Start-Up NY moved into high gear.  A total of 356 tax-free zones were established at 62 New York colleges and universities, with numerous administrators hired to oversee the development of the new commercial programs on their campuses.  New York State spent $47 million in 2014 — and might have spent as much as$150 million over the years — advertising Start-Up NY in all 50 states of the nation, with ads focused on the theme:  “New York Open for Business.”  Nancy Zimpher, the chancellor of the State University of New York, crowed:  “Nowhere in the country do new businesses and entrepreneurs stand to benefit more by partnering with higher education than in New York State, thanks to the widespread success of Governor Cuomo’s Start-Up NY program.  With interest and investment coming in from around the globe and new jobs being created in every region, Start-Up NY has provided a spark for our economy and for SUNY.”  This was, she declared, a “transformative initiative."

But how “transformative” has Start-Up NY been?  According to the Empire State Development Corporation, the government entity that oversees more than 50 of the state’s economic development programs, during all of 2014 Start-Up NY generated a grand total of 76 jobs. Moreover, the vast majority of the 30 companies operating under the program had simply shifted their operations from one region of the state to another.  The New York Times reported that, of the businesses up and running under Start-Up NY, just four came from out of state.  Indeed, in some cases, the “new” businesses had not even crossed county lines.  One company moved one mile to qualify for the tax-free program.  Furthermore, when it came to business investment, there was a substantial gap between promises and implementation.  As the Empire State Development Corporation noted, companies promised $91 million in investments over a five year period, but only invested $1.7 million of that in 2014. Thus, not surprisingly, during 2014 the companies operating under Start-Up NY created only 4 percent of the new jobs they had promised.

  Actually, Start-Up NY’s dismal record is not much worse than that of New York’s other economic development programs.  According to a December 2013 study by the Alliance for a Greater New York, the state spends approximately $7 billion every year on subsidies to businesses, including “tax exemptions, tax credits, grants, tax-exempt bonds, and discounted land to corporations, ostensibly in the name of job creation, economic growth, and improved quality of life for all New Yorkers.”  But 33 percent of spending by the state’s Industrial Development Agencies resulted in no job promises, no job creation, or a loss of jobs.  In fact, “with little accountability, businesses often take the money and run”.

A recent report by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reached similar conclusions. According to DiNapoli, in 2014 the programs overseen by the Empire State Development Corporation cost the state $1.3 billion (not including the voluminous tax breaks granted to companies) and helped create or retain only 14,779 jobs — at a cost to taxpayers of $87,962 per job.  The comptroller’s scathing report concluded that there was no attempt by the state agency to ascertain whether its programs “have succeeded or failed at creating good jobs for New Yorkers or whether its investments are reasonable.”

Of course, instead of shoveling billions of dollars into the coffers of private, profit-making companies, New York could invest its public resources in worthwhile ventures that generate large numbers of jobs — for example, in public education.  In 2011, as a consequence of severe cutbacks in state funding of New York’s public schools and a new state law that capped local property tax growth — two measures demanded by Governor Cuomo — 7,000 teachers were laid off and another 4,000 teacher positions went unfilled.  Overall, 80 percent of school districts reported cutting teaching positions.  Today, with New York’s schools severely underfunded — more than half of them receiving less state aid now than they did in 2008-2009 — this pattern of eliminating teachers and closing down educational opportunities for children has continued.  But what if the billions of dollars squandered on subsidizing private businesses in the forlorn hope that they will hire workers were spent, instead, on putting thousands of teachers back to work?  Wouldn’t this policy also create a better educated workforce that would be more likely to secure employment?  And wouldn’t this shift in investment have the added advantage of creating a more knowledgeable public, better able to understand the world and partake in the full richness of civilization?

It’s a shame that many state and local government officials have such a limited, business-oriented mentality that they cannot imagine an alternative to corporate welfare.
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...[T]axpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars in giveaways in the form of tax credits and direct subsidies to corporations. While many would argue that these subsidies are helpful for the economy – for example, film tax credits that can be an incentive film shooting in certain states – they have not been shown to have the consistent economic benefit of much-demonized SNAP and TANF benefits, and often disproportionately benefit the ultra-wealthy at the tops of the businesses that receive them.

  The primary difference between aid to the indigent and corporate subsidies, of course, is political. The very poor do not have powerful lobbyists, and the corporations do.

...In an America where political power rests primarily with the very rich, these sorts of double standards exist all over the country – where highly-stimulative meager cash payments given to the poor are demonized as unearned wealth but lavish subsidies given to profitable corporations are justified as smart investments in the state economy. It's a trick that exists as long as the public allows it.
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...Of all the state and local subsidy dollars tracked, half went to the top 30 companies, led by Boeing. The aerospace giant alone has received $13 billion in subsidies. Chip-maker Intel and metal giant Alcoa each received nearly $6 billion. General Motors scored $3.7 billion and Ford secured $2.5 billion. All told, 19 large corporations have received at least $1 billion...

...Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, NRG Energy, Sempra Energy, SolarCity and United Technologies—are among the top 50 recipients of state subsidies and federal grants. Goldman Sachs is among the largest recipients of state subsidies and federal loan assistance...
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...The largest, wealthiest, most powerful organizations in the world are on the public dole. Where is the outrage? Back when I was young, people went into a frenzy at the thought of some unemployed person using food stamps to buy liquor or cigarettes. Ronald Reagan famously campaigned against welfare queens. The right has always been obsessed with moochers. But Boeing receives $13 billion in government handouts and everyone yawns...
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The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and found that local governments give up:

$80.4 billion in incentives each year

1,874 - No. of programs

The Times identified 48 companies that have received more than $100 million in state grants since 2007...
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