George Monbiot has a very good article on how subsidies to the rich and corporations is a tradition as American “as apple pie and obesity”. It’s hardly “socialist”. Monbiot cites the More Consistent Libertarians at the Cato Institute, reporting that US taxpayers subsidized corporations to the tune of $92 billion in 2006 alone. Obviously now the subsidies are even further off the charts.
Further, according to Monbiot:
“…A new paper by the US Institute for Policy Studies shows that, through a series of cunning tax and accounting loopholes, the US spends $20bn a year subsidising executive pay. By disguising their professional fees as capital gains rather than income, for example, the managers of hedge funds and private equity companies pay lower rates of tax than the people who clean their offices.”
“…Another report, by a group called Good Jobs First, reveals that Wal-Mart has received at least $1bn of public money. Over 90% of its distribution centres and many of its retail outlets have been subsidised by county and local governments. They give the chain free land, they pay for the roads, water and sewerage required to make that land usable, and they grant it property tax breaks and subsidies (called tax increment financing) originally intended to regenerate depressed communities. Sometimes state governments give the firm straight cash as well: in Virginia, for example, Wal-Mart’s distribution centres receive handouts from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund.”
Let’s not obfuscate. Socialism is where you give a damn about the working class, folks.
It is the ordinary operation of capitalism to direct social wealth to the rich. The social wealth has to be funneled to the rich not just through the market, but also through the state, as the capitalist state is the necessary thing that ensures that markets operate according to rules that more or less ensure that some things are produced, in addition to facilitating gambling and plundering. We should not be such starry-eyed Hallmark Card idealists (“Ooh! Entrepreneurs are so studly!”) that we forget the nature of an institution, the capitalist market, both theoretically and practically based on greed and constituent of greed and therefore prone to just falling apart due to everyone’s distrust of each others’ B.S. Whether liberal or so conservative that it’s fascist, the capitalist state is what props this junk up, on the overburdened backs of workers.