George Waring

On Looting

 

By George Waring

 

    In late May, David Sirota, fresh off his work on Bernie Sanders’ campaign, published an eye-opener column on “Too Much Information.”

    Sirota suggests that when you’re asked, ”How about all that looting you see on FOX News?” You reply: “That’s peanuts. Here’s the real looting that’s going on.”

    Then, just reel off what the Trumpsters have been doing to avoid a Great Depression for the Plutocracy. 

    Sirota notes that a dictionary definition of looting is “to rob especially on a large scale.” Okay, using that definition, Sirota mentions ten examples of looting that the media “rarely ever call ‘looting.’”

    Look how the Federal Reserve has bailed out the investor class. Trump   provided hundreds of billions to huge corporations such as Boeing and Carnival Cruises, which “were able to avoid taking money directly — and sidestep requirements to keep employees on.”

    Second, read this story: “Millionaires To Reap 80% of Benefit From Tax Change In Coronavirus Stimulus.“ Take a look at changes made in tax law on what “certain business owners are allowed to deduct from their taxes. Our plutocracy will avoid “nearly $82 billion of tax liability in 2020.”

    Third, read “’Stealth Bailout’ Shovels Millions of Dollars to Oil Companies.”: “A provision of the $2.2 trillion stimulus law gives energy corporations greater ability in using deductions on this year’s taxes. Just when they are were raking in record profits.”

    Fourth, read “The Tax-Break Bonanza Inside the Economic Rescue Package“: Within the CARES Act is “$174 billion in temporary tax breaks that go overwhelmingly to rich individuals and large companies.”

    Fifth, read “Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers.“ This story reports that “Twenty large chains received more than $5 billion in federal grants even while sitting on more than $100 billion in cash.”

    Sixth, read “Airlines Got the Sweetest Coronavirus Bailout Around.“ “The $50 billion the government is using to prop up the industry is a huge taxpayer gift to shareholders.”

    Seventh, read “Large, Troubled Companies Got Bailout Money in Small-Business Loan Program“:     “The so-called Paycheck Protection Program was supposedly to help small businesses. However, “dozens of large but lower-profile companies with financial or legal problems also received large payouts under the program.”

    Eighth, read “Public Companies Received $1 Billion Meant For Small Businesses.“ Yes, there were 43 companies with more than 500 workers, that got a cut of the take.     Several of them “were prosperous enough to pay executives $2 million or more.”

    Ninth, read “Firms That Left U.S. to Cut Taxes Could Qualify for Fed Aid.” Yes, “Companies that engaged in so-called corporate inversion transactions,” moving headquarters to the Bahamas to avoid taxes, while keeping skeleton operations within the US, appear to be eligible for CARES Act programs.

    Read “The K Street Bailout.“ Sirota writes, “Lobbyists already got bailed out, in effect, when their corporations got bailed out. This is kind of the ultimate in double dipping; corporations are nursed back to health by the sheer force of Federal Reserve commitments, this allows them to keep their lobbying expenses up, and then lobbyists lobbied for free money for themselves.”

    Of course, in the media world, none of what Sirota counts as “looting,” is looting. No young black arsonists in sight, right?

    However, as Sirota writes, “ This looting is having a real-world effect: as half a billion people across the globe could be thrown into poverty and as 43 million     Americans are projected to lose their health care coverage, CNBC reports that “America’s billionaires saw their fortunes soar by $434 billion during the U.S. lockdown between mid-March and mid-May.”

    He ends ups noting this corporate looting continues. “It’s now more brazen. Trump is floating a new capital gains tax cut for the investor class, while the New York Times notes that House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s new proposal to retroactively lift a limit on state and local tax deductions would largely funnel money to relatively high earners.”

    Sirota concludes:

    “We don’t call this “looting” because it is being done quietly in nice marbled office buildings in Washington and New York.

    “We don’t call this “looting” because the looters wear designer suits and are very polite as they eagerly steal everything not nailed down to the floor.

    “We don’t call this “looting,” but we should — because it is tearing apart our nation’s social fabric, laying waste to our economy, and throwing our entire society into chaos.”

Thanks, David.

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