activism Economy Ralph Nader

Nader: Time for a Taxpayer Revolt Against Rich Corporate Welfarists

Corporatist politicians make you pay for big corporations to come to their corporate welfare-friendly state and make profits.

By Ralph Nader / Nader.org

It is time for an unusual but long overdue revolt by the 150 million tax-with-held taxpayers. I’m not speaking of rates of taxation that the rich and corporations largely avoid because of the gigantic tax escapes, which they grease through Congress. Today I’m hoping to get your dander up by showing how corporatist politicians make you pay for big corporations to come to their corporate welfare-friendly state and make profits.

You’ve been required to subsidize these companies for them to make a profit and you get nothing in return – silent partners pouring money indirectly into big-name corporations. They misleadingly call these subsidies “incentives,” but they are really coerced entitlements.

Before getting into these recent tax breaks, a little history is needed to show that once upon a time, giveaways to these self-styled “capitalists,” were not so easy.

In 1971, the Lockheed corporation was not doing so well. So, its corporate lawyers went to Congress to ask for a $250 million loan guarantee so that banks would lend the company money and have no risk because of Uncle Sam’s backing. The proposal created an uproar on Capitol Hill. Hearings were held and extensive debate on the House and Senate floor dissected all sides of this controversial, hitherto unheard-of special privilege. There was extensive coverage in the press.

The bill eventually passed but not without a strong fight and amendments by its opponents.

Fast forward to today where $250 million is chump change. Do you have any idea of the sum total of outstanding loan guarantees for private businesses passed or authorized by Congress? You don’t? Well, neither do any members of Congress. The data is not collected, though I’ll guess it is over a trillion dollars, including big chunks for unfinished or suspended nuclear power plants. Government guaranteed capitalism.

Congress hasn’t even compiled data on how many of these loan guarantees have been called in by failing or mismanaged corporations.

Besides loan guarantees, there are a blizzard of other forms of corporate welfare at the federal, state and local levels. (See, GoodJobsFirst.org). There are property tax abatements, direct cash subsidies as was extended to grossly mismanaged General Motors (GM) after it went bankrupt to get rid of its creditors and its wrongful injury lawsuits.

There are federal taxpayer-paid research and development (R&D) programs, such as new government medicine research given free to Big Pharma to sell without price restraints, and pioneering R&D breakthrough research for the computer, aerospace, biotech, nanotech and agribusiness industries, to name a few recipients of government giveaways.

Bear in mind that these handouts and bailouts rarely come with any payback conditions. The rare instances are when the feds take stock in companies they rescue. This partial reciprocity occurred in the form of stock from the GM and Chrysler bailout of 2008. When the Treasury Department eventually sold this stock, the revenue did not come close to paying for the bailout.

Now, handouts, bailouts, and other subsidies are given to companies as a matter of mindless routine. New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the other day that he was going to give the newly approved marijuana retailers about $4 million to help them get started. Hey, delicatessens, fresh fruit and vegetable markets, why not get in line? If there’s tax money for getting people “high,” surely Mayor Adams should have some of your taxpayer cash to advance “nutritional highs”, especially for people in need.

However, it was up to Kathy Hochul, the unelected Governor of New York (as Lt. Governor, she succeeded the resigned Andrew Cuomo last year) to raise the corporate tax break competition to unheard-of jackpot levels. The $10 BILLION tax break for chip-makers to locate in New York state, instead of any other state, was so brazen that the Governor resorted to secrecy and legislative darkness.

As reported in the Albany Times Union, with no prior public exposure, her bill was passed without any public hearing by the state Senate on the final day of its legislative session. The state Assembly whisked it through, also without hearings, at 8:00 am on its last day following 20 continuous hours of voting before adjourning.

The newspaper took note of “sleep-deprived lawmakers who were enduring the grueling schedule.” (Republicans went along in both chambers).

John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, told the Times Union: “This is like the ugliest of Albany. In this type of fog, the governor’s office can misinform the Legislature, and do it all at the last second.”

There is no reinventing the Governor. Marinated in avalanches of corporate campaign money for her election bid this November, Hochul is addicted to heavily obligating taxpayers for years, without their knowledge or the informed, open consent of their state representatives. This last point was raised by dissenting state senator Liz Krueger (who should be the state’s Governor).

Earlier this year, Hochul secretly negotiated an $850 million taxpayer subsidy for a new Buffalo Bills stadium. The owners of this NFL team, the Pegula family, is worth according to Forbes, $5.8 billion! She then rammed this entertainment giveaway through the legislature, again without public hearings, as part of the state’s budget.

Hochul is just getting started in her enormous giveaways to the super-rich and greedy. She is the plutocrats’ Governor. Public Defenders are leaving their crucial positions in the state because they are paid so little they can’t meet their living expenses. Kathy Hochul has no interest in raising their salaries and securing their constitutional mission of justice for indigent defendants.

There is something seriously out of control with this reckless corporate welfare-disbursing Governor. She even refuses to meet the press or return calls from civic leaders about her dictatorial giveaways to a very profitable semi-conductor industry.

It gets worse. Every day since 1982, according to corporate tax expert and reform advocate Jim Henry (Follow on Twitter @submergingmkt), the state is refunding electronically about $40 million every day collected from the financial transaction taxes on Wall Street trades in stocks, derivatives and bonds. This is a miniscule sales tax, (a fraction of one percent) in a state where consumers pay 8 percent sales tax on their purchases of essential goods.

With New York City’s budget shaky and the state budget relying heavily on a one-time burst of federal monies, Hochul is refusing requests by numerous informed state legislators, such as Assemblyman Phil Steck, to simply keep the daily collected transaction tax. No way! She’d rather collect campaign money from her Wall Street contributors.

It’s clearly time for a taxpayers’ revolt. For starters, call Governor Hochul to protest. Her office’s phone number is 518-474-8390 and you can email her via https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form. If you are not from New York state, her race-to-the-bottom to grab some factories will pressure your state to offer the same tax breaks, on your back.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform causes. The son of Lebanese immigrants to the United States, Nader attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

84 comments

  1. omg……so much corruption that gets swept under the table😏. We need more people like you to make us aware!!! and more people in govt who have a better moral compass . Is civics taught in high school anymore?

    1. Please send kids in high school body armor and M-wraps.
      Civics is considered Critical Race Theory/pornography.

    2. We also need economics taught in high school. We tax the economy but not the ecology to the detriment of both.

      1. To Ernest,
        You can’t be serious, but no, you’re not, you’re ernest …

      2. Tax the economy on the back of real economic growth that becomes sustainable with the addition of debt-free transactions.

      3. I think that with a $30 trillion national debt and $169 trillion in unfunded liabilities, it’s about time to teach the rudiments of economics in public schools.

      4. Why focus on a problem when we can focus on a solution with the use of debt-free market generated liquidity ?

      5. A solution is to shift taxes off labor and manmade capital to taxes on land, water, minerals. fossil fuels and other natural resources.
        Another solution is to end the Fed that allows us to live beyond our means.

      6. The tax approach is a can kicker because tax is NOT a problem. It may seem so but it’s a symptom of over-leveraged debt where someone has to pick up the bill. Strike the root. Inflation is a monetary issue, not a fiscal issue.

        Looking at the monetary model makes greater sense. Keep in mind that only the free market can introduce debt-free medium into circulation. This is off limits to central banks but the free market has the open door and has since Dec 31 , 1974 by Presidential Executive Order 11825.

        Americans simply fell asleep.

        https://www.usgoldbureau.com/gold-confiscation

        https://www.usgoldbureau.com/gold-confiscation

      7. All taxes are not the same. We tax labor and manmade capital to the detriment of the economy. We tax natural capital not at all or only nominally to the detriment of the envirnoment.

      8. You really didn’t hear a word I said, did you ?

        Tax is not a problem. It’s a symptom. Go back and review my post.
        If inflationary debt can be safely purged (and the cost of debt) on the back of real economic growth, taxes are easily reduced and some can be eliminated but the precursor for this condition is real growth in the economy.

        Real growth is the focal point here but it cannot be accomplished any longer as long as debt (legal tender) is the only form of liquidity that the free market chooses to use and circulate. We need some monetary “Yang with the Yin” in the way of debt-free medium being added into circulation and integrated into our spending habits.

        This MARKET DRIVEN process has begun.

      9. You are not listening to me when I say that taxes on labor and capital should be replaced by taxes on land and other natural resources. We don’t learn about that in government schools.

        We do learn to accept welfare and war without end.

      10. You’re still not listening. Taxes can be reduced and even eliminated in many cases but if you stick to the debt based currency script, that will never happen. The growing debt-to-GDP ratio is simply too damn expensive. Grease the economic wheels in a better and more efficient way because there is no greater generator of real wealth than the whole economy. The economy is the focal point here. Get with the reality of wealth creation.

        Real growth will bring record cash flow for government which will not only make debt servicing easier but will also fund tax RATE cuts. Strong social safely nets can also be enhanced.

        The goal posts can move now that we can apply real-time prices to debt-free transactions within eCommerce. A debt-free widget priced at $4.95 USD can trade for another debt-free widget also priced at $4.95 USD on the basis of price agreement. No debt used in the trade. This supports real-growth and God knows government will get their piece of the action.

        I tutor economists on the salient points of real economic growth and greater wealth creation on the back of debt-free transactions. These market driven transactions have begun and are slowly gaining market traction.

      11. You’re still not listening to me. We tax labor and manmade capital when we should be taxing natural capital. We have our taxing priorities backwards.

        As far as monetary theory goes. we don’t need a central bank to plan the economy. Central planning is not workable due to information deficits. Of course, insiders do well with central planning.

      12. You have your head on backwards. You cannot fix a debt problem with fiscal tinkering because debt, the causal issue of high taxation, is not a fiscal issue. It’s monetary. You’re chasing windmills.

        High taxation is a symptom of over-leveraged debt. Strike the root.

      13. … and trade how ?

        Whatever your answer to the above, the medium has to make its entrance into the economy BEFORE the Fed leaves the building. The Fed will then be more than pleased to leave the building with a wink and a smile and a skip in its step , having see the mission through. A fait accompli.

        The proper price model had to be engineered (45-71) before debt-free transactions could provide macro market balancing and mass appeal. Gold used to have a fixed and pegged price value, member ? That was an abomination of free market principles and the law of supply and demand. Bullion is limited and finite ! The price (trade value) of gold had to be made scalable to be monetized and circulated fairly by the INDIVIDUAL and thus required the application of free market pricing.

        The consumer now has the monetary stage and the door was opened to this on Dec 31, 1974 by Executive Order 11825.

        Americans simply fell sleep.

        https://www.usgoldbureau.com/gold-confiscation

      14. No… it’s debt. You cannot purge debt with more of the same. I tutor economists on the salient points of debt-free transactions within eCommerce.

        Interest free is not necessarily the same as debt-free. A debt based instrument can be interest free but still be inflationary.

      15. Modern monetary theory is another pipedream where we can live off a perpetual money machine and Santa Claus comes every day.

      16. If the liquidity was debt-free, bottom-up and market driven, we’d be fine.

      17. To Ernest,
        Guess what – the Fed/Treasury IS a “perpetual money machine”, in case you hadn’t noticed – where do you suppose all that money for our MIC and bank bailouts comes from? Not from our “taxes”. It is a matter of where we want to spend that money …

      18. End the Fed that was instituted in 1913 in time to fund Wilson’s 1917 entry into World War I.

      19. The process is underway as we speak, fully market driven. It’s all about what we circulate and the method of pricing. .

        The Fed will leave the building with a wink and a smile and skip in its step when the free market gravitates toward its own sovereign money.

        The Fed cannot issue debt-free money into circulation now that we price our global macro markets in real-time The process has to be market driven from the bottom-up where the consumer now has the monetary stage and has had it since Dec 31, 1974 when the POTUS signed Executive order 11825.

        Americans simply fell asleep.

        https://www.usgoldbureau.com/gold-confiscation

  2. I think this issue is of less concern than it used to be, before the Reagan/Clinton era. In a nutshell, US job losses long surpassed job gains, and the country overall has long been transitioning to low-wage, time-limited jobs. Low wage workers, of course, are paid too little to owe taxes. They qualify for tax refunds. While too complicated to address here, when Democrats ended welfare aid, they not only made poverty permanent for so many, but ensured a steady supply of people who are desperate for any job at any wage. A solid cheap replacement workforce. We know that if there were a significant tax hike at the top, not a penny would trickle down. Most would go into maintaining America’s wars and prisons, neither of which have outraged this generation of middle classers.

    1. Why don’t you just admit the country has an inflationary debt problem and deal with it as only the consumer can by spending debt-free money, legally and lawfully ?

      1. It would help if fiat money was not legal and we ended the Fed. Until that happens, debt and unfunded liabilities will continue to grow as we spend on welfare and war without end.

      2. When you understand monetary symbiosis, you come to realize that we don’t have a debt problem because debt exists and we use it. We have a problem , only because we use it too much.

        We need some “monetary “Yang with our Yin” so that balance and symbiosis can ensue and only the free market can legally and lawfully bring sovereign market gold into circulation from the bottom-up. The process has to be organic so as to not POP the humungous debt bubble which requires a safe and sane leak. No POP. No crash.

        When adding the “Yang to the Yin”, we cannot destroy the Yin in the process of introduction. We need both !

  3. It’s time to revolt against a system that creates cash cows to milk.
    Too many people have profit envy. But profits should not be taxed. Tax the subsidies instead. Better yet, stop the subsidies.

    1. Sheer idiocy and/or greed. Paying taxes is contributing to society, and those who benefit the most by making the most should pay the most taxes. If you don’t want to pay taxes on your profits, then you can build & maintain your own infrastructure like roads, and power, phone, and internet grids, and fund your own schools, just off the top of my head. And if you use any of ours, you pay a premium price to do so.

      1. What does it profit society to tax profits and not tax our earthly inheritance? For the love of Government, tax the earth and not the economy. That would be a win-win for the economy and the environment.

      2. Tax is unavoidable in a debt based system. Tax is not the problem, only a symptom of inflationary debt. Someone’s gotta pay the cost so why not the users of the debt ???

        Those users are also free to trade without the use of debt (legal tender)

      3. @Ernest Martinson
        What do you mean “tax the [E]arth”? Taxes are money, the Earth is not, makes no sense.

      4. To Ernest,
        I think the economy has been taxing the earth far too much already ..

      5. Tax the land, water, minerals, fossil fuels, and other natural resources.
        Don’t tax buildings, sales, income, and profits.
        Shift taxes from labor and manmade capital to taxes on natural capital which is a gift from nature to mankind.
        The economy and the environment would both benefit.
        We can begin with a carbon fee and dividend which can be extended to an earth fee and dividend.

      6. To Ernest,
        And when the earth doesn’t pay its taxes, what should we do? Mine it? some more …

      7. Taxing corporate profits destroys the incentive to produce goods and services that consumers desire.
        Taxing natural resource inputs of corporations will encourage conservation of our commonwealth.
        Taxes should be shifted from labor and manmade capital to natural capital which is a gift from nature to mankind.

      8. Natural capital is a gift to all mankind. If the gift is not taxed and shared, some will monopolize the gift.

      9. To Ernest,
        The earth is not “natural capital”, it is our, and all other life forms, life support system – to be shared, yes, to be taxed, no – we’ve done too much of that already

      10. Land, water, and other natural resources are natural capital to be shared through taxation and redistribution of the revenue.
        Labor and manmade capital are not to be taxed to support welfare and war.

        A carbon fee and dividend is a timely lead-in into the sharing economy.

      11. To Ernest,
        To be shared and fairly distributed, yes – to be taxed, no
        Profits made by corps – taxed, yes

      12. I detect profit envy.
        We share the value of the earth by first recovering the rent and then redistributing the revenue equally to each.

      13. There’s no capability to distribute wealth fairly without the use of real-time market prices.
        It’s always been a stumbling block in spite of the massive elephant in the room. —- >>> The economy is a real-time event. Congruence is vital.

        Without the use of real-time prices, debt-free transactions could never be sustained for sustainable real economic growth. Liquidity, price discovery and market balancing rely on the efficiency of real-time prices and real-time price comparisons.

        Congruence with this economic reality is indispensable. Economic law is unyielding. We follow it or we suffer.

      14. To Michael.

        “There’s no capability to distribute wealth fairly without the use of real-time market prices.”

        It’s market fundamentalism that got us into this mess in the first place – that old “invisible hand” has been slapping us silly (and i use the word advisedly) for decades …

      15. People circulate debt in their daily habits. Anyone who uses legal tender and legal tender, only, contributes to systemic inflation, higher prices and the cannibalization of the real economy.

        We’ve becomes a society of debt dealers.

        The free market is starting to address the issue which is based on the need to COMPLETE the monetary model.

      16. The market should not be taxed. Taxing labor and capital is legalized theft.
        The value of the earth should be taxed and shared.

      17. Debt is a symptom, not a problem. The underlying disease is highly levered inflationary debt. Someone has to pay the bill.

        I’ll wager you’re part of the problem by contributing to the circulation of legal tender (debt). Look in your wallet.

      18. I’ m trying to solve the debt problem by abolishing the Fed and fiat money.

      19. Wrong approach, Earnest.

        The Fed will gladly leave the building with a wink and a smile and skip in its step having completed its mission when the free market monetizes its own sovereign gold with real-time market prices.

        Who do you think engineered the global prince model that used to be fixed and pegged ???

        You’re missing a good story. Take the proactive approach. The law of weights and measures (usd/oz) could only come to fruition with real-time prices to be used in real-time transactions.

        The economy is a real-time event. Congruence with this economic reality is mandatory and unyielding

      20. To Ernest,
        “The market should not be taxed. Taxing labor and capital is legalized theft.
        The value of the earth should be taxed and shared.”
        Uh, I think you have it backwards – the only thing that should be taxed is capital – that makes its profits off exploiting labor and the earth – you have, i would like to say strange, but unfortunately it is not, perspective on what is valuable …

      21. The government makes its money to run the welfare-warfare state by taxing labor and capital. Since the taxes are not high enough, the national debt is $30 trillion not counting unfunded liabilities incurred by welfare entitlements.

      22. Real economic growth empowers government’s cash flow by lowering debt-to-GDP.

        Debt (legal tender) can no longer support real economic growth at this point because the debt is simply too larger and “pushing on a string”.

        Debt-free assets now have to be entered into circulation in support of real growth and the safe and sane purging of inflationary debt.

        Economic law rules.

      23. Those who take from the from the earth commonwealth should pay for the takings. That means pay the rent on land, water, minerals, and other natural resources.

        A carbon fee and dividend is a current example. No need to shed crocodile tears for the poor for they shall be compensated by the dividend.

      24. @Ernest Martinson
        I have a much better idea: How about just not taking? Traditional indigenous cultures have an absolute prohibition against digging into the Earth, let’s start with that. We need to live a lot more simply and naturally, not talk about taxing the destruction of the Earth and the needless and immoral killing of the life on it.

      25. Without taking materials from the earth, we would not be conversing on this computer.

      26. The economy can become far more service oriented for efficiency. It will take massive capital so before this can come to fruition, we have to take care on the monetary challenge first.

        Order.

      27. The monetary challenge is to stop printing fiat money to support welfare and war.

      28. … and trade how ? The debt has to be safely displaced from circulation before debt can safely leave circulation to avoid a total collapse.

        Think before you let you emotions get the best of you.

      29. Social Security and Medicare will soon be insolvent. Unfunded liabilities stand at $169 trillion.

        The national debt is $30 trillion. That will not be paid and would not have been incurred were it not for the Fed which should be ended along with fiat money.

        Real money is commodity money that is recognized by the market.

      30. Real money is commodity money that is recognized by the market.

        Indeed and now created better than ever because we can now monetize gold and silver from the marketplace and utilize real-time pricing to make them fully elastic and scalable in their debt-free economic reach.

        This market driven process has already begun

      31. To Ernest,
        As far as those “unfunded liabilities” – oh you mean the programs established to “promote the general Welfare”? Absolutely, providing for healthcare and old age, disability are “liabilities” to be sure – to be discarded in favor of “market dictates”
        These “unfunded liabilities” can be funded by, e.g. raising the limit on FICA taxable limits or increasing corp taxes, or raising the tax on “unearned income” to reach the level of that charged on “earned” (labor) income –

        You do realize that the entire “national debt” is, essentially an “unfunded mandate” – and that the majority of that debt is money we owe own institutions – to the Fed that we “borrowed” it from, and that Congress, with its ability, granted in the Const. could direct the Treasury to “coin” however much it chooses to pay that debt –
        And where is the funding coming from to bail out the banks and provide the “Def” Dept with billions to buy weapons to kill folks? Where is that “funding coming from – doesn’t that add to the “national debt”, indeed – so yeah, let’s cut those programs for the general Welfare, food, housing, medical care so we can “fund” weapons manufacturers and keep the very institutions, the banks, that insist on profiting from the “debts” we owe them, “in business” – we the people are apparently not considered “too big to fail,” they are – but we the people, the folks for whom the Const., as stated in the Preamble, was instituted to serve, are being allowed to fail …

        And I am being as earnest as you are claim you are ….

      32. Let’s end the welfare-warfare state. We can’t afford it.

      33. It’s affordable but simply not affordable on the basis of the current debt based monetary model.
        The model has to mature to the point of completion with the ADDITION of debt-free market based liquidity.

        Real economic growth then becomes the driver of affordability.

      34. Wars should not be acceptable just because we can afford them. For the love of Government, where is our sense of decency?

      35. Real economic growth supported by debt-free trade is a great support pillar for peace and prosperity.
        Did you think we could accomplish it with more debt ? The world is already swimming in it.

        Did you really understand my post or were you caught off guard and unprepared ?

      36. We can’t have peace and the national security state at the same time.

      37. Yes we can. Peace and national security dovetail with real economic global growth.
        Both of those issues become dysfunctional when liquidity is dysfunctional.

      38. You win. I lose. I admit that the peace of death can be had with the national security state with its 17 intelligence agencies, its state secrets privilege, its Pentagon, and its empire of military bases throughout the world.
        Thank Government for the Fed and the IRS which facilitates financing the national security state.
        Still i keep wondering whether we would be better off by remodeling the Pentagon into a shelter for homeless veterans and refugees from our dirty little wars which could become a big war with the first nuclear strike.

      39. Just grow the real economy with debt-free trades, as permitted by law and everything will fall into place, including higher government revenues , lower debt levels and a better living standard for the whole country.

        There is no greater generator of real wealth than the whole economy.

        You’re stuck in a debt paradigm and fooling yourself that tinkering with debt based distributions (like taxation) are somehow going to lower debt levels. That does nothing for the safe purging of debt levels.
        It only allows for distribution from one sector to another, while the debt clock ticks.

        Again, you cannot solve a problem created by inflationary debt with a fiscal approach. The problem is monetary. Don’t chase windmills. You’ll only become tired.

      40. The problem is not the fact that we have debt (fiat money). The problem is that we have two much. The evil is in the imbalance. The economy now requires the addition of market driven debt-free medium to enter circulation to grease the wheels of real economic growth. This market driven process has begun.

        As real economic growth gains traction, this will create the rationale for central banks to raise rates and have inflationary debt safely purged from circulation.

        The economy wins. The value of the debt-free market medium wins. The value of the fiat currency wins.
        Three amigos.

        We need some monetary “Yang with the Yin” so that balance and symbiosis can ensue.

      41. To Ernest,
        Wait – the Preamble to the Constitution that “We the People in Order to ….promote the general Welfare ….do ordain and establish this Constitution” so, along with some other stuff, the Const. was established to ” promote the general Welfare …

      42. Whose general welfare? The Constitution limited the federal government to enumerated powers.

      43. To Ernest,
        Whose general welfare – now that’s the question, now isn’t it …

      44. Too bad the dollar was deemed to be a fixed amount of silver though.
        A fixed price peg is an abomination of free market principles.

      45. @Ernest Martinson
        Really? I’d never have guessed!

        Seriously, we need to move away from technology to a much more natural lifestyle, but that will take time. We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we’re not getting out of it overnight either. Just because this society immorally destroys the natural world doesn’t mean that we can’t oppose and change that. We could get rid of industrial society in 150-200 years if we tried, but we have to try.

        FYI, I only got a computer because I needed it for my work as an environmental attorney. I have no cell phone, no car, and no kids.

      46. It doesn’t surprise me that you’re a lawyer. I consider myself an ecological economist. I grew up on a diversified farm, so I have a natural advantage over city boys.

  4. And this is just the tip of the iceberg …
    A few years ago Amazon wanted to build a big corp facility in one of the burrows of NYC – then Gov. Cuomo was wetting his pants over the prospect – saying he would change his name to Amazon Cuomo, but the residents put up such a stink that Amazon decided to withdraw. So Amazon came Upstate with a proposal to build a 5 story million (or more) sq.ft warehouse in the northern part of a small village (Liverpool) in my town – it had to get a zone change among other things. In NY we have a SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) that requires any Agency that takes an “action” with regard to a project to conduct an environmental review – it starts with an Environmental Assessment Form – Pt 1 consists of information about the project provided by the developer – Pt 2 consists of a series of boxes to be checked off as to whether, based on the info, the project is likely to have no, moderate, or significant impact on the environment in a number of areas, that is filled out by the agency taking the action – but where a number of agencies are involved, they have the option of designating a “lead agency” who decides how to check the boxes for them all – and then gives it a “Neg” or a “Pos” declaration, if neg, that ends the process and the agencies can proceed to consider whether variances to local or state ordinances are granted, if “pos’ then an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) must be done by the developer,which requires a deeper dive into the impacts – takes time, costs money

    Sorry for the long intro – but in the case of this project, the other agencies (remember these are small Town and Village agencies) faced with all the documents Amazon flooded them with decided to give the County IDA (Industrial Development Agency) lead agency status – can you now smell the rat – the IDA as a quasi governmental entity, has the ability to grant a lot of benefits, PILOTs, (payment in lieu of taxes) as well as waiving all sorts of fees etc, that any ordinary developer would have to pay – AND, if they “approve” the project they get a good chunk of money, more than they would have gotten if they did not. So, of course they gave it a “neg” dec – – I went through Pt 1 and Pt 2 and that “Neg dec” was patently absurd …

    They also managed to get a few other variances from local boards re setbacks, etc, But for me the “best” part was when they sought a variance from the State Board of Building Standards and Codes – the Code required that fire escapes be no more than 250 feet apart for a number of very good reasons – Amazon’s were 400 ft apart at each corner – first they argued that putting more in would decrease their storage space – and get in the way of their robots (I kid you not), which, btw, outnumbered the people workers at least 4 to 1. then when the Board recessed for a couple of weeks – they came back and said that it would be “financially prohibitive” for them to put additional ones in – in NYS, one of the reasons allowed for a code variance is if it would involve a prohibitive expense for the builder – Amazon said these additional escapes (4, I would guess) would cost ~$15 million – and the Board accepted that as “prohibitive” and gave them the variance – So NYS, on top of all the tax breaks allowed one of the richest companies on the planet to bypass safety codes because they said it cost too much …. In essence, safety codes for people were bypassed for the sake of storage space and robots …

    And btw – all through the proceedings, their reps threatened to pull the project if they didn’t get the variances they wanted from the Board …

    There is no doubt in my mind that the Board got read the riot act – from Amazon Cuomo and his minions, and apparently Hochul is cut from the same cloth

    This stuff goes on all the time – local pols go along so that they can tell their constituents – “look at all the jobs I brought to the County, Town, Village etc.”

    I hope for 2 things 1) that there is never a fire in that warehouse 2) that the workers unionize and squeeze the crap out of Amazon

  5. A fine leftist rant but there is a more practical solution that is market driven, peaceful and legal.
    We first have to understand the problem and the problem is not taxation but the underlying cause of taxation, which can be largely attributed to inflationary debt.

    The government does not create money. The monetary model is distinct. The only currency that government can operate on and spend is debt based legal tender.

    The free market doesn’t have that same limitation. The marketplace is free to support real economic growth with the use of its own sovereign, debt-free money, namely gold and silver. It’s the real economic growth that acts as the end-in-mind to enhance real wealth creation and government cash flows.

    The free market now has the monetary stage. Leftists need to get off their knees and look to their own sovereign power and their own sovereign money. We reap what we sew….. especially when all we tend to circulate is debt. When inflation comes calling, someone has to pay the bill. Why not the people who supported its creation ???

  6. The reference Ralph makes to the Stock Transfer Tax in NYS – it has been in existence for over a hundred years – it is a very small tax paid on the sale or transfer of stocks, In the beginning it didn’t amount to a whole lot when the stock market didn’t amount to all that much- in the 70’s when NYC was on the verge of bankruptcy it was used to help bail it out – when that crisis was over the proceeds were put into its own fund separate from the general fund and dedicated to – wait for it, refunding the money to the folks that paid it! – These days, with trades going fast and furiously, aided and abetted by high frequency trading “software” – it amounts to ~ $10 billion (yup, Billion with a B) a year, the last time I looked. On the bottom half of the page used to report/pay the tax is a form applying for a refund of that same tax – the same page, for Pete’s sake, no delay here, pay on the top, get it back on the bottom ,and it is supposed to be paid back in a pretty short time frame – no moss growing on that money tree ..

    This from a state that is always crying poor – that “can’t afford” to do so many things. So why, you ask, don’t they just eliminate the tax and cut all the paper work – because you never know when some “special need” might come along that could use a ready made “slush” fund to slosh around, better to have it handy – and 10 billion is a lot of slush .to slosh… but in over 100 years apparently NYC has been the only “special need” that warranted such largess

  7. Beyond Tax Payer Revolt, Ralph, because America is “We’re #1”, “We’re #1”, “We’re #1” — as the Highest/Worst GINI Coefficient of Wealth INEQUALITY in the world — the only serious corrective action is for a firm but fair program of “Wealth Reform” capped at $30 Million.

    Only ‘Wealth Reform’ will ever have any appreciable effect on this Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal Child-Killing & War-Starting EMPIRE, controlled by the ‘Ruling-Elite’, UHNWI, <0.003%ers, TCCers, arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe", and "Evil (not-so) Geniuses", which camouflages itself behind a dual-party Vichy-facade of faux-democracy!

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