May 17, 2021
John Stossel is one of the giants of modern American libertarianism. I (P. J. O’Rourke) also count him as one of my oldest friends and colleagues in the fight for personal rights.
John hardly needs an introduction… He’s spent decades as a voice (sometimes the only voice) for individual liberty on national TV – at ABC News, Fox Business, and now on his own channel, Stossel TV.
He’s won 19 Emmy Awards and has written three books including my personal favorite, No They Can’t: Why Government Fails – But Individuals Succeed.
Today, we’re sharing John’s recent essay about government handouts going right into the deep pockets of millionaires…
Welfare for the Rich
Congress passed the $2.2 trillion Heroes Act.
House Democrats said it gives money to “governments who desperately need funds.”
But it also gives lots of money to people who don’t need funds.
Maryland, which even The Washington Post admits is “flush with cash,” got enough extra money to pass a budget that “hands bonuses to every state worker.”
Even Atherton, California, where the median home price is $6 million, got Heroes Act money.
“There was no means test!” complains Lisa Conyers, author of Welfare for the Rich, in my latest video.
“Who wouldn’t like to play Santa Claus?” asks Conyers. “Who wouldn’t like to just be able to give everybody some money?”
Welfare for the rich didn’t start with coronavirus relief bills. Politicians have done it for years, and a pandemic didn’t stop them.
Nevada politicians gave Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis $750 million for a new stadium. A stadium designer says Davis insisted on the very best, including natural grass on a field that “moves in and out of the building in one piece.”
Cool. But why didn’t Davis pay for it himself?
“I’m not a billionaire,” he said.
But he is… The team is valued at more than $3 billion, and Davis and his mom co-own 47% of it.
Politicians screw taxpayers to build stadiums for lots of rich people.
The man who made twenty-three 1,000% recommendations just unveiled his #1 stock live on camera right here.
Minnesota gave the Minnesota Vikings $348 million for their new stadium. Santa Clara, California, gave the San Francisco 49ers $114 million, plus $850 million in loans. Team co-owner Denise York and her family are worth $3.5 billion, says Forbes. She ought to fund her own stadium.
“The taxpayers often vote for this stuff,” I say to Conyers, “so they must like it.”
“They’re promised there’s going to be all these jobs,” she replies, “not only at the stadium but at the hotels that are going to rise up around the stadium.”
Politicians always promise that public investment will return more in benefits to taxpayers. But it’s not true…
A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City found new stadiums bring in about $40 million in jobs and tax benefits, much less than the $188 million that taxpayers pay.
Handouts to other corporations fare no better.
Ohio politicians gave General Motors millions in tax credits to keep its Lordstown plant open. GM then closed the plant. Politicians let GM keep a third of the money.
Wisconsin gave nearly $3 billion in tax breaks to Foxconn because it promised to create 13,000 jobs. Now the company promises to create only 1,454.
“If you look at the cost of each job, it was a million dollars,” Conyers points out.
Actually, it was more than a million.
Politicians often justify this corporate welfare by saying, “We didn’t give cash, just tax breaks.”
But “If some big company is in that town and they are not paying property tax, that means every other taxpayer is covering for them,” Conyers points out. “(F)ire departments still have to be paid for. Police departments still have to be paid for. Schools still have to be paid for!”
Then there’s the farm subsidy scam.
Both Republicans and Democrats eagerly give your money to agribusiness, even though farmers are now richer than the average American.
The politicians claim the handouts are not a payoff for political contributions but to “make sure there’s enough food to go around,” since “farmers have no control over price fluctuations and the weather.”
But that’s absurd. Other businesses adjust to price fluctuations and weather. America doesn’t subsidize fruit and vegetable farmers – yet we have plenty of fruits and vegetables.
The politicians claim they want to help “small family farms,” but they give 90% of the subsidies to the biggest farms.
Such welfare for the rich persists because, years ago, politicians voted for a handout, and once they start giving your money away, they never stop.
“I’m an American taxpayer,” says Conyers. “I don’t understand why money is leaving my pocket and going into the pocket of somebody who is wealthy.”
John Stossel is author of Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media. For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
Trish Regan’s powerful story last week about the real threat of an EMP attack on our country has many of you writing in. Today, we’re sharing a few of these e-mails…
Trish Regan’s article about the Colonial Pipeline being a wake-up call is spot on. This year is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and I see the same scenario developing. In the lead up to 9/11, the government (CIA, FBI & FAA) let us down, while the aviation industry failed to address known vulnerabilities and threats. The enemy tested our aviation system with Bojinka and then perfected their method of attack on 9/11.
The parallels with the Colonial Pipeline are inescapable. Once again, a politically infected CIA and FBI failed to surface the attack, while the industry failed to provide the cyber protections necessary to protect this important part of our infrastructure.
An EMP or other attack on our electric grid would have even more dire consequences. The grid is critical infrastructure. We’ve been told over and over again how vulnerable it is. Our adversaries are fully aware of this vulnerability and have included it in their operational planning. Criticality, threat, vulnerability. It is all there and, now that they’ve tested an attack on our infrastructure, how long will it be before they bring an attack on our grid to fruition.
Hopefully, someone will listen to your warning Trish. – Brian S.
Before our society became dependent upon electricity, it used the Post Office for communications, and coal-fired locomotives to operate our transportation infrastructure. Perhaps we should examine how these organizations functioned (from a business point of view) to work towards a feasible solution of how to protect our infrastructure. What it really boils down to, is how to protect all the electrically-operated controls. A device like a thermostat today is electrically operated; they used to use a bimetallic strip. Businesses could start using the mail again – after all, a lot of the time that a business spends processing customer orders is caused by bureaucracy, which hasn’t vanished with computers; it’s just poor business process. I remember reading a few years ago a comparison of coal versus diesel locomotive operating costs for the appropriate new locomotives, and there was no difference.
I read your column every day, and look forward to it. Keep it up! – Richard A.
Bravo for this article on cyber attacks. I have long stated that this is the easiest way to bring down the country. This should be required reading for all leaders in government, industry, environmental concerns, schools, medical field, etc. EVERYBODY actually.
Instead we get b.s. news, sound bites that are worthless, prejudice in reporting, and a lack of reality thinking for what can easily happen. This year we spent a mere 48 hours without power in March (a freak freeze) and it was not pleasant.
Thanks for the insightful, critical posts provided. I appreciate it. – Virginia R.
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