One More Form Of Corporate Welfare

Posted by Larry Miller on December 12, 2010 under How | Be the First to Comment

housekeeperIt’s humorous to listen to members of the political class rail against corporate welfare. Yet the practice continues. Everyone is against using taxpayer funds (or in the case of Democrats, government funds) for the benefit of corporations whose balance sheets show tens of millions, sometimes billions of dollars in assets. Yet when you get down to what this financial hemorrhage really amounts to, what we see reveals more about the values and political debts of the politician than a real aversion to transferring public funds to private entities.

We see the President fussing and fuming about the evil Wall Street Shylocks raping the public, yet these accused merchants of misery supplied unprecedented funding for his presidential campaign. Then he provided them with the reservoir of dollars to maintain their extravagant lifestyles and has consistently pursued transferring taxpayer dollars to their accounts when things looked shaky. He found it much more important to protect the lenders than the home owners who he left on the hook when the government collapsed the housing market.

The Republicans showed no more integrity when they provided the initial bailout through TARP, although the amounts involved now look like small potatoes. Hank Paulsen and company were willing to set in motion events that threaten to bankrupt the entire country to keep the financial institutions from whence he came from suffering this dreaded fate.

These illustrations are just the most recent and visible of the dollars and favors connected corporations and even smaller businesses have received from the public trough. The Agriculture Department has funneled billions of dollars to the huge agribusinesses that were originally intended to help small farmers through hard times. Special trade deals and exemptions along with narrowly defined procurement policies have been exposed over the years have filled the coffers of businesses. So many government activities are designed to the benefit of someone other than the American citizens.

There is another one, that isn’t usually thought of as corporate welfare, yet the impact is much the same. Through the generosity of the American people, sometimes against their will, our government provides low income workers food stamps, health care, tax credits that refund amounts far beyond anything paid into the system along with a host of other “entitlements” that help them get along. Now two things need to be recognized at this point before I am labeled as an incurable Scrooge – I will leave the morality of such programs for another day, and this is not a rant against the poor.

This article is about businesses that pay their workers substandard wages with the full knowledge that these government programs are there to help them maintain their far from lavish lifestyles. It should come as no surprise that many are considering dropping health coverage for the employees now receiving it in favor of a government plan designed to bring about this very response.

To be fair, business entities benefiting from these wage replacement programs did not originate the schemes to develop dependency on government programs rather than one’s own efforts, yet most have fallen in line and quietly accept them and take advantage of them. We are told that some jobs are only worth a few dollars an hour because they require little skill and are easy to learn. In some ways this is correct. Yet, and this is no cry for Big Brother to increase the minimum wage, but consider that what an employer is doing is buying a portion of an individuals life, one hour at a time, and what is an individual life worth?

Prices will rise if people are paid a living wage we are also told. This is true under the current circumstances. Some industries such as agriculture and hospitality are based on this low wage transference of responsibility to the government. However were are already paying higher prices through the taxation required to maintain the working welfare state. This practice of minimal payment has also opened the door to a large part of our illegal immigration problem. Companies looking for cheap labor have found that many American workers cannot live on their offered wages and, viola… the door is opened for those who sneaked across the border and are willing to work for the wages offered. We are told that some companies cannot find people to do their work. What they really mean is that they cannot find someone to work for what they want to pay.

So illegals (or as some say, undocumented Democrats) and others with no education or marketable skills take the jobs and rely on government programs to supplement their efforts to the point where the hand outs exceed the importance of the actual employment. We have allowed the political class to create a monster that keeps electing for more and more free stuff.

However, lately this welfare mentality has turned around to bite those benefiting from the enforced “donations” of the American people. The unheard of extensions of the unemployment benefits is creating competition for the low priced workers as some can do almost as well on these meager payments as they can with jobs paying minimal amounts. The government is paying almost as much for the “workers” time as some jobs that require them to get out and do something.

In trying to help people in need and cement their power, the political class has managed to severely damage our economy, businesses and individual lives by their interference. In their short sighted dedication to the unworkable Keynesian economic theory that says pretty much all dilemmas such as we are facing can be solved by increased state spending. They are, unfortunately, wrong.

In the past, the American people have been able to resolve so many issues when given free rein to find solutions. That is the only possible way out as the people who have just about destroyed our economy and country are the last ones we can rely on to correct their foolish failure. Sure we are facing tough times, any many businesses cannot afford increased expenses, yet each one of these businesses wants to be paid a fair price for whatever product or service they provide. Perhaps it would be good to consider that employees want the same thing. Each day they are selling hours of their lives, away from friends, family and other things they would like to be doing.

By paying them almost nothing, they are being told they are worth almost nothing and they are only worthy of being wards of the state… expensive, to the rest of us, wards of the state. It will take a while to change the mindset of everyone involved, but we have to start somewhere, because the present system is not working! Think about it and next time you stay at a nice hotel, seek out the manager and ask him, or her, if they believe it is right for the taxpayers to pick up half the tab for their staff. Don’t accept their song and dance, but remind them that they are purchasing a portion of these people’s lives at a discount.

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