Robert Samuelson's latest op-ed is "The real GE scandal." His point in brief is that the problem is not so much GE's gaming the tax system to pay little or no federal income tax despite a $5 billion profit from US operations, in as much as it is the tax system which encourages and even engineers such gaming (though it seems GE is in fact paying taxes for 2010).
True, but the deeper problem here because the subject happens to be GE is GE's simultaneous use of the federal government to create laws governing those of us, the individual taxpayers, less able to mold and game the tax code and therefore who pay more for the federal government -- and those policies.
Oh, and given GE receives much of its revenue from these policies we are also those who pay for GE's employees, whose income taxes GE seeks to wrap itself in, in defense of its own near-free-riding.
The scandal is Members of Congress paying disproportionate heed to rent-seekers like GE, with its enormous lobby shop working into place policies A though Z, to take from us and give to them what they cannot obtain through innovation or market competition. And Team Obama, stop heeding GE's CEO placed at the president's ear to further advocate such goodies for said near-free-rider.
Listen instead to those of us who are underwriting the government, and this series of policies like GE's pet windmill mandate. That scheme, soon to move to the floor of the Senate, became a priority thanks GE's fire-sale purchase of Enron wind, apparently picking up Enron's lobbying plan as part of the deal.
The ‘clean energy economy' plans, as much or more than any of GE's schemes, are nominally designed and imposed to lower the temperature, create (implicitly, net) jobs, reduce resource consumption and lower pollution levels -- not one of which things they would actually accomplish, much of which the American Tradition Institute argues in federal court in this lawsuit filed yesterday.
Big Business loves Big Goverment. They just want someone else to pay for it. That someone else would be you.
So, hey, my government: stop listening to free-riding Paul explain how to best rob Peter.
Do the right thing, instead. Like with windmill mandates, any business line whose promoter insists requires federal schemes in order to prosper or even exist should be dealt with by allowing it to not prosper or not exist as the merits dictate. That's how the rest of us fare when what we're selling people don't want to buy.
Until Washington grasps this, we will never fix the economic hole we are in directly thanks to Washington, and such reckless economic stewardship.
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