Kerry Borrowing From Nader?

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For decades eminent domain has been used to throw homeowners and businesses off their properties, purchased by court order of governments and tax payer dollars, only to be given free to corporate entities like General Motors. Corporate socialism has grown and prospered in the United States. Bailouts of corporate interests using tax dollars have been prevalent also since those years of the Chrysler bailout, airlines bailouts, and corporate farming subsidies.

The most recent culmination of this corporate socialism endeavor was realized when President Bush crafted, and Congress passed, multiple tax packages designed to cut taxes on a host of corporate revenues for corporate entities which are using the savings to grow their businesses overseas and develop overseas markets and offshore entities. Lou Dobbs calls this 'exporting America and American jobs'.

Ralph Nader has been railing and fighting against such corporate welfare or socialism for decades. Nader and Kerry met earlier this year. While it was a private conversation, it appears Kerry walked away with some of Nader's agenda. Kerry is campaigning on ending government benefits for corporations which export American jobs, retaining incentives for those who grow jobs in America, and reducing or reversing tax cuts to certain corporate and investment revenues. To assist both corporations and workers in America, Kerry is advocating government assistance for displaced workers to reeducate in order to compete for newer jobs created and positions needed by American companies hiring in America.

America needs to export goods and services. Doing so balances our huge imports of goods and services, called the trade deficit which has been growing for a very long time. It appears Kerry is taking Nader's stand, which states, that if American companies find markets overseas that is good. If American companies set up shops overseas which hire Indian or Nepalese workers for a lower cost than hiring Americans here at home for the same job, fine: But, tax payers should not be supporting the American based branch of the corporation or company. Such a corporation or company should receive no support of any kind from American tax payers who need the jobs to pay their taxes, and if the winds change, and the company begins to fail, tax payers should not foot the bill for bailing them out.

Our government is knee deep in providing American tax payer supported subsidies to corporations who are paying little if anything back in taxes to the government and the people. The following appears in Nader's testimony before Congress in 1999:

The Mineral Policy Center estimates that mining companies extract $2 billion to $3 billion in minerals from public lands every year -- royalty free. From 1872 to 1993, mining companies took more than $230 billion out of the federal lands, royalty free, according to the Mineral Policy Center.

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An evolving giveaway of public assets involves the management of the U.S. government's internet assets. The federal government currently contracts with Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), to manage certain domain name registrations. After entering into the contract in 1993, NSI was later acquired by SAIC for $3.9 million, and subsequently was permitted to charge U.S. consumers wildly excessive fees for registering internet domain names. NSI's monopoly on the .com and other valuable domain names has turned a tiny initial investment into a firm with a market capitalization of $2.5 billion -- thanks to control of the power to sell the public the right to use their own domain names. At no time did the government seek any competitive bids to determine the prices that consumers and business should pay for domain name registrations. As public resentment over the high prices and poor service have grown, the government is now trying to find ways to introduce competition. But NSI is using its monopoly profits to lobby the Congress and the executive branch to maintain its monopoly.

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The federal government invests tens of billions of dollars annually in research and development (R&D), most prominently through the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services. These investments lead to new inventions and the award of thousands of patents -- publicly financed, and frequently publicly owned intellectual property.

Since the early 1980s, the government has routinely given away the fruits of the research it sponsors, granting private corporations exclusive, royalty-free rights to commercialize government-financed inventions while failing to include and/or enforce reasonable pricing requirements in the licenses. The result: a corporate welfare bonanza for biotech, computer, aerospace, pharmaceutical and other firms.

In the critical area of pharmaceuticals, for example, this research giveaway policy leads to superprofiteering by giant drug manufacturers, who charge unconscionably high prices for important medicines -- costing consumers, and often resulting in the denial of treatments to consumers who are unable to pay high prices. In an irony that must keep the staff of the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association in stiches, perhaps the largest ripped-off consumer is the federal government -- the same federal government that paid for the drugs' invention -- which must pay extravagant fees through the Veterans' Administration and Medicaid (although the government-brokered prices are lower than those paid by individuals).

Our public lands are owned and maintained by our government and tax payer dollars. Yet millions of acres of these lands are given to corporate ranching, timber, and mining interests free of compensation back to the American tax payer. Will Kerry demand lease contracts for public land use by corporate interests who lobby for access to tax payer maintained lands? Kerry has not yet said.

Our government gives billions and billions of dollars to research projects owned, run, and profited by corporations. One Nader position implies the tax payer has a right to demand a partial ownership in the patents that result from such research projects and the government should be paid a percentage of those profits in return for research grants, loans and other subsidies which permitted those patents to develop. Will Kerry demand tax payer ownership or fair return loan agreements for subsidizing corporate research and patent development? Kerry has not spoken to this issue yet.

One thing is clear from the Bush record. President Bush and his administration are taking nothing from Nader as their own. A vote for Bush is a vote for our taxes going up for decades to come in support of private corporate profits and bailouts, huge deficits and a record busting national debt of 7.4 trillion dollars. A vote for Kerry, is in part, a vote for Nader's platform which demands that corporate America provide a fair return back to the tax payers for benefits received from tax payers. A vote for Kerry is also, in part, a vote for at least beginning to consider the American worker in the equation of globalization which is downsizing the middle class workers in America.

Bush has held the veto pen for almost 4 years now and not used it once to control spending. America is spending 442 billion dollars more than it is taking in this year. Bush supporters say that is less than was projected at the beginning of the year and tout this as a major plus for Bush. Democrat supporters are saying the Republicans are proud to point out that while our economic ship is sinking, it is not sinking as fast as they previously thought. It is a safe bet that if Kerry is elected, the Veto pen will be dusted off for use as a bargaining chip with the Republican controlled Congress.

It is clear that Nader is having as big, if not bigger, influence on the 2004 elections as in 2000. With the Republicans helping Nader get on ballots around the country, and Kerry adopting parts of the Nader campaign positions, this year bodes well for third party influence on future elections.

The polls are showing it is still going to be a neck and neck horserace. Less than a week ago, Bush pushed past Kerry in the polls by 11 points. Days later polls show a 7 point lead for Bush. And now a Zogby poll has Bush at a 2 point lead. Take nothing for granted, every vote will count in the swing states. If you don't live in a swing state, sleep in on election day. Until the Electoral College is eliminated or restructured, the election is meaningless for millions of voters whose state has even a slight majority one way or another. Great lesson in democracy for our youth, don't you think?

An excellent review of Nader's stance on corporate socialism can be found at CounterPunch.Org.

2 Comments

Good commentary David. Once Blogger is back to allowing its users to publish, I will have posted my blog post that makes mention of and links to this particular piece of yours. Thank you.

Thank you mwb, your feedback is very much appreciated.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on September 7, 2004 8:12 PM.

Vote for Change, or Vote for Worse was the previous entry in this blog.

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