Letter to the Editor: Needy billionaires and corporate welfare
December 02, 2013 10:20 AM

After contacting Sen. Toomey and Rep. Shuster regarding the social programs (Social Security, Medicare and food stamps) that the Republicans want to cut, their response letters used the words “avoiding tough choices” and “all ideas should be on the table.” Well folks, after checking reliable sources, we know this country is not broke — those who should be paying their share are not.

Recently, $5 billion was automatically slashed from the federal food stamp program, affecting 47 million Americans, with another $40 billion to be slashed. It is called an “unfair burden on the taxpayer,” but if you look at the numbers, we pay little for social safety nets in comparison to what we pay corporate America each year.

In 2012, the average taxpayer making $50,000 a year paid $36 toward the food stamp program — about 10 cents a day. The same family pays $6,000 a year in subsidies to corporate America. $6,000 vs. $36? Toomey calls this a “tough choice.”

The U.S. Treasury lost $181 billion in corporate tax subsidies, costing you $1,600 a year, and $1,231 of your $6,000 goes to making up losses from corporate tax havens. (Truth-Out, November 2013)

We are paying $6,000 or more per year to subsidize giant corporations that make billions in profits each year and whose profits doubled in the last decade.

Republicans say we can’t afford to help the poor and “sustain” Social Security and Medicare and say it is “irresponsible not to take action” (Shuster), but they have no problem doling out $100 billion each year to corporations.

Where is the outrage and the news coverage? One only has to look at who owns the media. Ninety percent of what you read, hear or see as news is owned by six big corporations, such as News Corp. (Fox), who avoided $875 million in taxes in 2012. (Business Insider, June 2012). So when Mr. Toomey says, “all ideas should be on the table,” I say this one should be slap dab in the middle.

We need to end corporate influence, especially corporate welfare, and use the dollars they hide, evade or take and help Americans who need it most. By closing those tax loopholes, subsidies and tax havens, we might even pay off the debt and, instead of paying $6,000 for helping the needy billionaire, pay $36 to help those who really need it. This should not be a “tough choice.”

Judy Wanchisn

Marion Center

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