Friday, May 1, 2015

Corporate Taxes

As he did with regards to the convergence of socialism and capitalism, Captain Capitalism will be helping out with corporate tax issues. In the aforelinked article, the Captain criticizes critiques of corporate welfare and corporate tax breaks, so it's pretty easy to fit him into a slot of what he feels he represents, and what machine against which he feels he's raging.

(Yes, I'm aware he's just an internet marketing persona; nonetheless, like Tom Clancy or RL Stine, the nature of his essays/advertisements is a conglomeration of marketing data which fairly accurately portrays the viewpoints of a lot of people.)

Getting started:
Unfortunately, [corporate welfare] isn't a matter of facts or statistics, as much as it is the left's complete ignorance of basic accounting. Because there is no such thing as "corporate welfare" UNLESS you want to consider the bank bailouts and grant money to solar companies welfare. In that case, yes, that IS corporate welfare and it is wrong. But sadly most leftists confuse merely giving corporations a TAX BREAK with a HANDOUT like welfare.
Let's define "welfare" as the direct provisioning of benefits to corporations. This can take the form of:

1) Corporate welfare checks, equivalent to direct cash payments sent to individual welfare queens;

2) Corporate real estate benefits, equivalent to Section 8 vouchers to worthless delinquents who can't pay their own rent;

3) Corporate sustenance and maintenance, equivalent to handing out EBT cards to single moms who use them to buy People and cigarettes;

4) Guaranteed corporate employment, equivalent to make-work jobs created to redirect salaries to skill-less, non-competitive workers in a marketplace in which they would otherwise not survive.

Corporate welfare checks do actually come in the form of cash sent directly to corporations. While America's socio-capitalist government does give far more away in the form of "tax breaks," there are some checks written directly from the Treasury to the corporation(s) in question. Here, the bleeding heart liberals at Cato put out an old (2002) report breaking down some of these payments by industry. Here, the Bolshevik fiends at Forbes magazine discuss 2013 tax-year welfare checks.

Captain Capitalism's distinction between "tax breaks" and "welfare checks" is cute, but in error. The corporations in question may choose to accept tax breaks in lieu of checks, but if they paid their taxes fully anyway, they would receive their kickbacks in the form of direct welfare checks from the Treasury. It is by their own choice that they receive their welfare even faster via accounting than by waiting 'til the 1st of tha Month.

Corporate Section 8 Vouchers are easy--the Amerikremlin regularly seizes property from Party outsiders, sometimes with a token "purchase price" involved, but increasingly often, without even that. When we're naive, we believe that "eminent domain" is about Grandma refusing to leave her stick-frame home which is in the path of a necessary freeway, and the government stepping in to relocate her; in actuality, Grandma is always willing to sell for the right price, and eminent domain is a way of subverting market forces to force Grandma to accept much less than the house is worth.

And this isn't just kicking some low-income nobody out of her home so a developer can put a minimart in the perfect spot: guys like Captain Sociocapitalism can totally get behind the meritocratic wealthy demolishing the valueless poor. Instead, these situations come up between profitable businesses and individuals themselves, with the Amerikremlin serving as corrupt overseer to invalidate private contract and ownership where necessary. Check out this 2004 case:
After Bart Didden and his business partner, Domenick Bologna, struck a deal to build a CVS pharmacy on a piece of land they owned in Port Chester, they thought their prospects looked pretty good. Unfortunately for them, so did Gregg Wasser, the developer in charge of Port Chester’s redevelopment project—and he wanted a piece of the action.

In 2004, Wasser approached the pair with an offer they could not refuse: they could either pay him $800,000 or give him a 50 percent stake in their planned CVS. If they refused, Wasser would have the village condemn their property and turn it over to him so he could build a Walgreens. Less than 24 hours after they rejected this attempted extortion, their property was condemned.
Didden and Bologna would've been willing to sell--the price for Wasser's Walgreens was probably around a million--but Wasser and Walgreens used their Party post to seize the land without having to pay. Like any lazy welfare queen, Walgreens could've worked hard, saved, and paid for what it wanted, but it took the welfare route instead. This isn't incidental, but epidemic--American corporations are weak, cowardly, elite Party apparatchik, unable to survive in a free marketplace, and utterly dependent upon corporate welfare to build locations and collect rents.

Corporate make work is easy to see. Where would America's construction companies be without DoE offices, classrooms, football stadiums, and computer learning centers? Without DoT roads and overpasses, or DoC prisons? How would the stuttering morons be able to "earn a living" without regularly ramping and railing requirements, or the necessity of each and every government agency buying massive fleets of Ford sedans for their human resources employees to use "for official use only"?

Here's a cute little example of a clever asshole who got a $20.5 million no-bid contract from Chicago Public Schools to train principals. Sic. Remaining in Chicago, here's the same set of racketeers giving almost a hundred million dollar contract--again, sic--to a company for consolidated janitorial services at CPS facilities.

What if all governmental agencies switched to Linux and OpenOffice tomorrow? What if the military paid a hundred of its own IT guys to design a more reliable intelligence tracking system that didn't require disclosing access parameters to outside developers? Suddenly, Microsoft's make-work vanishes. No longer does the overgrown autistic boy with the propeller beanie get paid a billion dollars a month to bag groceries as part of a special program to make Bill and Melinda feel like contributing members of society. The great 20th and 21st century Computer Trust breaks apart, once the government's communist software wing stops standardizing all professional operating systems under the Microsoft method.

The Amerikremlin's Office of Personnel Management is a hilarious, albeit necessarily tragic, aspect of this. It's hilarious because of the old "OPM" company, and how the acronym jives so well with the still-existing governmental OPM. For those who don't know, OPM stands for "Other People's Money," and the acronym was part of a financial fraud that failed to bribe its way to success. The so-called Office of Personnel Management, which is really just another version of OPM, uses tax dollars to fund Section A non-competitive hiring of disabled people into "jobs." It works out great, because the government can spend billions of taxpayer dollars invading a country on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell, and then when 10,000 maimed veterans need care, Shell gets a "tax break" check for a few billion more, while non-special taxpayers pay to employ the maimed veterans processing redundant paperwork at some drab little $14 million facility in Topeka. Here's the website for Other People's Money: OPM.gov, which is currently hiring for "policy data oversight." Here's a private site where the disabled can hire resume writers to get them some of these "jobs."

Check out the links, ppl. PTSD, Prozac, and general hopelessness have already worked together to make this happen. For whatever it's worth, the Amerikremlin is no different from the other empires that "won" the Great War--right down to the torture dungeons, forced labor, crony capitalism, and dozens of millions of deaths during the latter half of the twentieth century. In exchange for changing our Stalin every few years, the United States is completely different. And it's communist morons like the Captain's marks who think that, by redirecting another seventy billion dollars from some taxpayers to others, we're being so transcendently socialist that it works out to a fair market.

Corporate EBT cards can be easily analogized to any number of other handouts, such as the taxpayer-funded opening of foreign markets, but a more direct comparison to EBT cards (which are theoretically used for food) is found in the direct taxpayer provisioning of raw materials for corporate products. The Amerikremlin spends ungodly amounts of money on Africomm, then hands over rubber, tin, copper, oil, and lives to its corporate "partners," who just get to show up and harvest everything they need to design more products. The heavy metals used by Ford, General Motors, Apple, et. al. come in large part from lands conquered by little enlisted dunces making $18,423 a year off the taxpayer dole, and who lose their theoretical Social Security benefits whenever they're not around to collect them a few decades later. And oil, duh, but you don't even need to get there.

Equally necessary, but almost invisible, is the court system. Without a massive network of municipal, county, state, federal, circuit, and supreme courts, companies can't do business. Their constant squabblings with each other play out against the backdrop of the always-available court system courtesy of the (held-at-gunpoint) taxpayers. Companies filing civil lawsuits against each other pay tiny-tiny court fees (a few hundred dollars) and big-big legal fees to private firms staffed by their relatives, and in return, they get reliable short- and long-term access to:

1) Secured document storage for all of their filed paperwork;

2) Security;

3) Wood-paneled rooms to assemble in for their disagreements;

4) Legions of court staffers to record, script, and analyze their disagreements;

5) The application of external police forces to enforce resolution of their disagreements;

6) Bathrooms and furniture to use during their disagreements; and, amongst many other goodies,

7) Nightly and weekly cleaning for their disagreement facilities.

The overarching network of contract enforcement that makes anything possible is welfare from taxpayer to corporation. In a closer approximation of a free market, corporations would have to pay not only astounding police insurance to protect their property, but massive contract enforcement fees to the civil court network. The court costs of an IP spat between Oracle and Google, for example, would no longer be limited to a $348 filing fee, a $150 process server's fee, and a few sub-$100 certified document fees, but would instead increase to reflect the real costs of provisioning civil contract dispute courts. To whit, per case:

1) Six months' salaries and benefits for a judge, a judicial administrative assistant, a couple of law clerks, a court reporter, a bailiff, two janitors, ten downstairs security guards, two filing desk clerks, one filing systems manager, two archivists with MLS degrees, and four archive assistants pursuing said degrees.

2) Six months' fair market value for a lease on 1/20 of the facilities in a $10-80 million high-rise built on a third of an acre of prime downtown real estate, along with a quarter acre of adjoining parking and associated vehicle security staff.

3) A proportionate share of salaries, benefits, and facilities costs for overseeing appellate and supreme courts, plus a multimillion-dollar legislative fee for statutory rewrites in contemplation of future litigation potential raised by the desired dispute.

In North America and the E.U., wealthy families bribe marketer-politicians who can fool the taxpayers into believing that provisioning these courts benefits everyone--moreso than, say, provisioning free cafeterias, apartments, or hospitals. Oh no; apparently, keeping spacious wood-paneled rooms in giant postmodern court complexes, in which Samsung and Apple can hash out the particulars of accessing Angry Birds, and where someone can sue Hobby Lobby over hurt feelings, is far more important than food, shelter, or medical care.

Something tells me, she said sarcastically, that Killary will not be advocating for the Affordable Courtrooms Act, where corporations are required to maintain litigation insurance, so that every time they have a new argument between themselves, they can build their own buildings, pay their own judges, and not bring costs up for everyone else by just running sobbing into the emergency room every time they breach without a helmet.

3 comments:

  1. Oh god... I stopped reading for now, as soon as I got to his profestation that there is a difference between a handout and a tax break.

    Jesus christ, and this guy teaches economics? There is absolutely no difference in the impact on public finances between a handout/subsidy or a tax break/cut. None whatsoever.

    Say you want to 'incentivize' murder by say, rewarding each murder by $100. You can either give murderers $100 for each kill. Or you can also institute a "murder tax break", e.g. by cutting their tax bill by $100 for each reported murder.

    Fuck this guy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He did a terrible job explaining it, but if he were able to express himself better, he wouldn't have claimed there was a difference between "tax break" and "welfare check." Rather, he'd've said, "Those who generate a profit are so worthy that they should receive a welfare check, as opposed to those who don't generate a profit and should not receive any assistance." E.g., sort of a "God helps those who help themselves" argument. Because he doesn't quite realize what he's saying (that might makes right), he's forced to construct illusory distinctions (such as a big difference between a tax credit and a check in the mail) that break down upon examination.

      ...which makes him loathe examination itself. Ahh, dissonance.

      Delete
  2. No, it doesn't work even if he had tried this more honestly and rigorously.

    He is right that the term "welfare" is largely meaningless, since it includes everybody on medicaid, SNAP, TANF, unemployment insurance, and god knows what other indadequate programs.

    However, behind this diversity, there is a huge commonality: these payments are best understood as the socialized portion of the wage, since they are financed mainly with payroll taxes.

    In other words, there is no difference between a worker stashing some bills in a cigar box for the inevitable unemployment, or paying taxes to get something when something happens.

    I.e. it is ignorant to even argue that welfare recipients are "given" anything.

    Was this the case, I would expect to see far more worker opposition to cutting welfare spending than i see now. All the opposition comes from those who call themselves makers.

    ReplyDelete