The Pigs are More Equal

Published on: 11:38AM Jul 19, 2011

The other day I wrote with some irritation about the Republicans who were more than happy to help Geo. W. Bush push the country deep into red ink by being the only administration EVER to both start not one but two wars while reducing taxes on the richest 5% of the nation. I got a response that I’ve seen enough time before from enough people that I think it deserves attention.

The general nature of that response has been, "Well, I/they made the money, so why should they pay (any) of it to the government?"

Folks, none of us is an island, living alone and providing for all our own wants and needs. Who paid for K through 12 education? The government. And please don’t tell me that K through 12 is cheaper or less important than a college education. The costs of 13 years of basic education far outweigh the costs of college, besides which, without the basic education what good would college do? No one who can’t read can succeed in college; no one who lacks basic arithmetic skills can do calculus; and so on.

What about the companies themselves? Which of them does not use, either directly or indirectly, the interstate highway system, built by the government under the guise of national defense. Which of them doesn’t use the internet, a system created and paid for by the Department of Defense? Which of them doesn’t use the satellite system to transact business, also paid for by the DoD?

Who among us doesn’t use gasoline? If the true costs of all the subsidies provided to the oil companies over the last 80 years were amortized and the costs of the military spending that has been purely to protect our supply of oil were rolled into the costs of gasoline, we wouldn’t be bitching about $4 gasoline – we’d be bitching about $14 or higher gasoline.

Pretty much every farmer in America has abundant electricity. Electrical companies refused to take power to most of America’s farmers because spending money on the much denser city populations was more profitable. LBJ, when he was a congressman, created the Rural Electrification Agency which used both the carrot and the stick to get electricity to farmers.

Getting farm crops to market has always been an issue: it is a long walk from Des Moines to Chicago. The federal government subsidized the creation of the railway system by giving every other acre of ground along the right of way to the railway company. Of course, rail tycoons like Jay Gould found ways to convert that to cash in their pockets rather than cash in the company coffers but that was because there was too little government oversight, not too much oversight.

How many of the largest businesses use airlines and/or corporate aircraft?  More than 95% of the cost of basic development of commercial aircraft has been paid for, often indirectly, by the government through the DoD. The radar systems that make flying safe were paid for by the DoD. Jet fuel, like other petro-products, is heavily subsidized by the DoD.

Business offices use city streets, city water, city sewers, city police, city sanitation works, city transportation systems and the other services provided by the government.

Quantify these costs paid for by every taxpayer, then charge them back in proportion to the amount of profits "earned." You’ll find that the $2.5 Trillion not paid by the richest corporations and individuals in this country is only a small part of the subsidy the rest of the taxpayers have provided. George Orwell got it right in Animal Farm when he said that all the animals were equal, but the pigs were more equal. Those turned out to be $2½ Trillion Pigs.