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"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
#9. MAKE POLLUTERS PAY US
Instead of investing in dirty fuels,
let’s start charging polluters for poisoning our skies – and then invest the
revenue so that it benefits everyone.
Each ton of carbon that’s released into the atmosphere costs our nation between $40 and $100, and we release millions tons of it every year.
Businesses don’t pay that cost. They pass it along to the rest of us—in the form of more extreme weather and all the costs to our economy and health resulting from it.
We’ve actually invested more than $6 trillion in fossil fuels since 2007. The money has been laundered through our savings and tax dollars.
This has got to be reversed.
We can clean our environment and strengthen the economy if we (1) divest from carbon polluters, (2) make the polluters pay a price to pollute, and (3) then collect the money.
Please see the accompanying video, and share.
Ten Ideas to Save the Economy #6: End Corporate Welfare Now
Corporations aren’t people, despite what the Supreme Court says, and they don’t need or deserve handouts.
When corporations get special handouts from the government – subsidies and tax breaks – it costs you. It means you have to pay more in taxes to make up for these hidden expenses. And government has less money for good schools and roads, Medicare and national defense, and everything else you need.
You might call these special corporate handouts “corporate welfare,” but at least welfare goes to real people in need. In the big picture, corporate handouts are costing tens of billions of dollars a year. Some estimates put it over $100 billion – which means it’s costing you money that would otherwise go to better schools or roads, or lower taxes.
Conservatives have made a game of obscuring where federal spending actually goes. In reality, only about 12 percent of federal spending goes to individuals and families, most in dire need. An increasing portion goes to corporate welfare.
Other examples: The oil, gas, and coal industries get billions in their own special tax breaks. Big Agribusiness gets farm subsides. Big Pharma gets their own subsidy in the form of a ban on government using its bargaining power under Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. And hedge-fund and private-equity managers get a special tax loophole that treats their income as capital gains, at a lower tax rate than ordinary income.
The real issue isn’t the government’s size. It’s whom government is for. Much of government is no longer working for the vast majority it’s intended to serve. If government were responding to the public’s interest instead of the moneyed interests, it would be providing more support for communities, families, and individuals who need it the most.
There’s no reason any corporations should be on the dole, or that your hard-earned dollars should be going to them for no reason but their political clout.
So we have to demand an end to corporate welfare. No more handouts to particular corporations and industries simply because they’re big enough and powerful enough to get them. No more specialized tax breaks. No more exemptions or special treatment. No more crony capitalism.
Want to end corporate welfare? Watch my latest video now, and share it with your friends.
Ten Ideas to Save the Economy #4: Bust Up Wall Street
When Americans think of how the economic rules are stacked against them, they naturally think of Wall Street.
When the Wall Street bubble burst in 2008 because of excessive risk-taking, millions of working Americans lost their jobs, health insurance, savings, and homes.
But The Street is back to many of its old tricks. And its lobbyists are busily rolling back the Dodd-Frank Act, intended to prevent another crash.
The biggest Wall Street banks are also much larger. In 1990, the five biggest banks had 10 percent of all of the nation’s banking assets. Now, they have 44 percent – more than they had at the time of the 2008 crash.
They have a virtual lock on taking companies public, play key roles pricing commodities, are involved in all major U.S. mergers and acquisitions and many overseas, and responsible for most of the trading in derivatives and other complex financial instruments.
And as they’ve gained dominance over the financial sector, they’ve become more politically potent. They’re major sources of campaign funds for both Republicans and Democrats.
Wall Street banks supply personnel for key economic posts in Republican and Democratic administrations, and lucrative employment to economic officials when they leave Washington.
It’s a vicious cycle. The bigger they get, the more likely it is that government will bail them out if they get into trouble again. This, in turn, confers on them an ever-larger competitive advantage over smaller, community-minded banks that don’t have the implied guarantee – which gives the biggest banks even more economic and political power.
What should be done?
First, resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act that used to separate investment from commercial banking.
Second, put a small sales tax on every financial transaction. This would discourage speculation and slow down the casino. Not incidentally, such a tax could generate billions of dollars a year for, say, better schools.
But the most important thing we should do is bust up the big banks. Any bank that’s too big to fail is too big, period.
Antitrust law should be used the way it was against the big oil trusts and the telephone monopoly. The idea was to prevent too much economic and political power from concentrating in too few hands. And that’s precisely the problem with Wall Street.
The only sure way to stop excessive risk-taking on Wall Street so you don’t risk losing your job or your savings or your home, is to put an end to the excessive economic and political power of Wall Street.
It’s time to bust up the big banks.
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
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