We’re not talking about Taliban or Al Qaeda, though they’re out there, too. We’re talking about the ruthless corporations that are using the tragic events of September 11 as a pretext to rob the U.S. Treasury of $212 billion. We’re talking about huge companies like IBM and General Electric that are taking advantage of your patriotism to fashion for themselves a sweetheart deal that gives them $600,000 for every job they create to aid the ailing economy. We’re talking about the economic stimulus plan that has passed through the House of Representatives and will soon go before the Senate, and it’s an outrage.
Following the terror attacks, an already struggling U.S. economy plunged into recession, and unemployment skyrocketed. Not surprisingly, there was widespread support for some sort of economic stimulus bill, and congressional leaders quickly fashioned a bipartisan, one-year $50-$75 billion bailout package.
That’s when the corporate lobbyists went to work. Knowing that the public would be too busy worrying about anthrax and Osama bin Laden to pay much attention, they worked to triple the size of the original plan. The result is an incredibly expensive economic stimulus bill that won’t create many jobs or improve the economy, but will give away billions to Congress’s biggest campaign contributors.
The bill would bring back the “three martini lunch” by making business meals 100 percent deductible and greatly increase the amount businesses can claim for depreciation allowances. But that’s only the beginning. It would also repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT), the 1986 law that prevents profitable corporations from avoiding paying taxes altogether, and refund corporations for taxes paid since the law’s passage. General Electric, which gained $9.8 billion over the first three quarters of this year, would get a rebate check of $671 million. IBM, which recently reported that it was expecting to meet its fourth-quarter goals, would net $1.4 billion.
About 70 percent of the tax cuts would go to corporations, and far too much would go to companies that aren’t exactly struggling in the wake of September 11. In fact, 16 profitable corporations would receive $7.4 billion in immediate aid.
What’s most amazing about all of this is that even supporters can’t claim it will really create many jobs.
This is beyond trickle-down economics. This is outright thievery, and it will leave the Bush administration with little choice but to ransack Social Security to keep the government afloat while the economy continues to founder. We urge California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to lead the fight against this act of corporate plunder.