Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wealthfare Wednesdays

Alright, I know it's Saturday; here's the deal:

Early on I mentioned that I would post a roundup of links on corporate welfare from time to time. But except for one brief post, I never got around to doing that. So let me try it this way: every Thursday morning I'll start a "Wealthfare Wednesday" draft post, and add links throughout the week as I stumble across items during my periods of intense study of the Internet. Then I can hit "publish" the following Wednesday, and let you keep up to date with all the ways your tax money is being handed over to the overprivileged.

But after grazing through my browser history, I've got more than enough links to post. So I'll just start a new draft for next Wednesday. Ready?

So, for instance, this Daily Kos diary summarizes a proposal from the Job Party identifying two trillion in  savings (over ten years) from cutting corporate welfare. That's about $200 billion a year, which is a nice start. About a quarter of their total comes from modest cuts to the Pentagon budget.

Helpfully, AlterNet's Joshua Holland, combing a report from the National Priorities Project, offers us "Five Eye-Opening Facts About Our Bloated Post-9/11 'Defense' Spending."

When you click on that same NPP report, their bottom line is that when you combine the separate budget lines of "defense" and "homeland security," you find that since 9/11 we've spent $7.6 trillion. The DHS part has gone from $16 billion in 2001 to $69 billion in 2011 – a 300% increase, in contrast to DoD's more modest 43% hike.

Senator John Tester took a stab at urging sanity, in an open letter suggesting we could maybe afford to shut down a few military bases here and there. Response: crickets chirping.

Along those lines, David Swanson had some fun batting around the NYT's feeble attempts to take heaping teaspoonfuls out of the military budget ocean. At the same time, WaPo looks at $32 billion squandered on weapons systems that were eventually cancelled. 

To their credit, though, the Times likewise swatted down GOP claims that eliminating fossil fuel subsidies would spike gas prices. 

Here's a useful link to the Real Cost of Prisons Project.

Also on AlterNet, Alison Kilkenny highlights  "4 Fantastically Stupid Projects Pushed By Republicans Aiming to Please Their Corporate Masters." If you're in a hurry, this includes KY's biblical theme park, TX's tax breaks for yachts, NJ's mega-mall boondoggle, and various state subsidies for union-busters.

Last month the redoubtable David Cay Johnston served up a dose of data to coincide with Tax Day: "Tax facts: The truth about who pays and who doesn't in America's bracket racket." Be sure and take your blood pressure meds.

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