The Corporate Betrayal of America
The Corporate Betrayal of America (PartI)
April 20, 2013
By PAUL BUCHHEIT
Multinational corporations have built their businesses on the backs of American taxpayers. They've depended on government research, national defense, the legal and educational systems and our infrastructure.
Yet they've turned around and mocked us with declining tax payments. They've cut workers. They've refused to invest their massive profits in job-producing research and development. And they've insulted existing employees with low wages and dwindling retirement support.
As a final disdainful act, many of them have tried to convince us that they LOSE money in the U.S. while only making profits overseas.
Here are the facts.
Business Built on Our Backs
The most essential aspect of business growth is the long-term basic research that is largely conducted with government money. Starting in the 1950s, taxpayer-funded research at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (the Internet), the National Institute of Health (pharmaceuticals), and the National Science Foundation (the Digital Library Initiative) has laid a half-century foundation for corporate product development. Even today 60 percent of university research is government-supported.
The tech industry is a special case, with many computer and communications companies coming of age in the 1990s, when industry funding for computer research declined dramatically and government research funding continued to climb. As of 2009, universities were still receiving ten times more science and engineering funding from government than from industry.
Thanks to the taxpayer-funded National Highway System, corporations have acquired access to markets across the country for over 60 years. Along with road construction came the water, electric, and telephone facilities needed to sustain their businesses.
Today, the publicly supported communications infrastructure allows the richest 10 percent of Americans to readily manipulate their 80 percent share of the stock market. CEOs rely on roads and seaports and airports to ship their products, the FAA and TSA and Coast Guard and Department of Transportation to safeguard them, a nationwide energy grid to power their factories, and communications towers and satellites to conduct online business. Private jets use 16 percent of air traffic control resources while paying only 3 percent of the bill.
A litany of advantages accrues to the business world through the legal system. The wealthiest Americans are the main beneficiaries of tax laws, property rights, zoning rules, patent and copyright provisions, trade pacts, antitrust legislation, and contract regulations. Their companies benefit, despite their publicly voiced objections to regulatory agencies, from SBA and SEC guidelines that generally favor business, and from FDA and USDA quality control measures that minimize consumer complaints and product recalls.
The growing numbers of financial industry executives have profited from 30 years of deregulation, most notably the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Lobbying by the financial industry has stifled reasonable proposals like a sales tax on financial transactions.
Multinational corporations through trade agreements like NAFTA enjoy more big advantages with international disputes resolved by the business-friendly World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization. Federal judicial law protects our biggest companies from foreign infringement. The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership would put governments around the world at the mercy of corporate decision-makers.
Public colleges have helped to train the chemists, physicists, chip designers, programmers, engineers, production line workers, market analysts, and testers who create modern technological devices. At the primary and secondary levels, the "equal opportunity" principle mandated by the Supreme Court in Brown vs. the Board of Education has contributed to business growth, building the math and language skills that until recently led the world.
The U.S. government will be spending $55 billion on Homeland Security this year, in addition to $673 billion for the military. Most of their resources, along with local police and emergency services and the National Guard, are focused on crimes against wealth.