May 182012

The phrase “corporate welfare” conjures a variety images. With our “Free Market” system, one might believe that corporate welfare wouldn’t be an issue. After all, a true free market economy should be based strictly on a sink or swim mentality. Supposedly, the market place will enrich the businesses that are strong enough to make it and will weed out the ones that are not.

The tax breaks, loopholes, and direct subsidies given to the fossil fuel industry fly in the face of the Free Market belief system. Below is a ticker that is keeping track of the money that we would have been able to spend elsewhere had Congress voted differently earlier in May. The $113 billion is what’s projected to be the welfare over the next 10 years that taxpayers will subsidize some of the most profitable companies in the history of the world. Wow, way to put the us in magnanimous!

To the faithful adherents of the Beneficent Order of the Free Market Economy (BOFME), the “Market” is believed to be infallible with divine god-like powers. The Market is never wrong. When it doesn’t work out,

it can only be that the implementation of Free Market principles was flawed. According to their prophet, Milton Friedman, purity of adherence to the principles is considered key to achieving economic nirvana that the believers seek.

Unfortunately, high unemployment is a hallmark of the transition to a Free Market Economy. Societal unrest follows the double digit unemployment (with manufacturing being hardest hit) so governments/military/juntas need to be heavy handed to maintain order. Follows is what many consider hell on earth. Just ask people from the numerous South American countries that have direct experience. Well, that could be tough since so many have yet to be located. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that around 1% of the affected populations consider this period akin to heaven on earth.

The high priests of BOFME are hard at work in the United States and have been for some time. Many if not most members of Congress and the President himself are converts. And you thought they were Christians! The results are precisely what one would expect: unemployment in the double digits (8% plus the workers that have given up and hence are not counted), privatization of many institutions such as schools, prisons, and to the extent possible, the military. To quell dissent, the police have become increasingly militarized both in tactics and equipment, e.g., flash grenades, rubber bullets, and sound canons. And around 1% couldn’t be more pleased with how things are going.

Another hallmark of the transition to an unfettered Free Market Economy is the exponential growth of the Surveillance State and the government intelligence apparatus. You didn’t really think that it was all to protect us from terrorists? That’s just a side benefit. It’s to protect the government and the 1% from us.

Welcome to shock therapy… do we feel better yet?

If you have not read The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein, I highly recommend it. 

Thanks to for permission to use the subsidies ticker. Here’s what they say about it: If you think it’s time we stopped giving billions of dollars to the companies that are polluting our air, super-heating our planet, and distorting our democracy, the most important thing you can do is sign on today and spread the word.