Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Corporate Welfare

Corporate Welfare
Large corporations pollute our air, water, and soil. They pay CEO's millions and distribute billions in profits to stockholders. Who gets the bill for cleaning up the environmental mess left behind? American taxpayers. This is tantamount to a government subsidy for big business. Panderbear thinks this corporate welfare should stop. It's only fair that polluters be required to clean up after themselves.

The cap-and-trade system proposed by President Obama was designed to do just that. The proposal was shot down by pandering anti-tax Republicans and their Big Oil allies even though it did not represent a net new tax. It would have shifted taxes from the middle class to companies that pollute. Those who create these problems must be held responsible for fixing them. Any company that cannot turn a profit without being forever subsidized by taxpayers should be incentivized to look for a new business model.

Opponents of reform say it would cause energy and other prices to increase. They are only partly correct. Prices on items whose production and use pollute the environment, contribute to global warming, and ultimately threaten our economic security, would and should increase. Creating economic incentives that encourage cleaner technologies and industries is the whole point of cap-and-trade and carbon tax proposals. However, these market-based approaches to pollution control would reduce pollution requiring public-funded remediation. We would, in effect, get a tax break offsetting price increases. By reducing our dependence on foreign oil, pollution control measures would also increase our national and economic security, have a salutary effect on global warming, and just might save our planet.

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