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Corporate welfare
by Jeff Blanck
Oct 13, 2008 | 540 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Several major financial corporations made some bad business decisions and are going out of business. Not what I would expect to be headline news. Businesses come and go all the time. It is part of the “free market” and the nature of capitalism. Those businesses that do a better job will survive and those that don’t will fail. I am sure all of us have seen restaurants come and go in the Reno-Sparks area and occasionally a few make it in the long run. The ones that don’t make it don’t get bailed out by our local governments. But it appears that if you are big enough, you get special favors from the government and an unfair competitive advantage.

I am not just talking about the government’s bailout of Wall Street. That is really nothing new, but now it is happening on a much larger scale. The government has, in the past, bailed out General Motors, Chrysler and numerous savings and loans. Somehow, our leaders have accepted a philosophy that the corporate giants are worth saving no matter how badly they perform but small businesses can fail without a care.

More than 100 years ago large corporations were considered the problem, not the solution. Back then, it was the railroads and the steel industry running wild. Now it is oil and banks. But the problems are the same. We have given corporations too much power over our economy and our political system.

You don’t have to go to Washington, D.C. to see it. It happens right here in Sparks. In Sparks, the city council gave huge tax breaks to Scheels and waived numerous fees. What that means is that the taxpayers picked up the tab for the megastore. The theory is that this large store will benefit the entire city if it is allowed to make huge profits. Well, we have just seen on Wall Street that large corporate profits don’t necessarily translate into a public good.

So with all the tax breaks, what guarantees did we get from Scheels that we would get a return on our investment? None! Scheels can’t guarantee that they will make a profit or that they will even stay in business. I saw an article in the Tribune about a local sporting goods store that didn’t get any tax breaks or governmental favors and now is competing against Scheels and the city. His tax dollars are being used to fund his competition. What is wrong with this picture?

We should not allow our elected officials to give our money away to large corporations. This is nothing more than corporate welfare. So many people have complained about “welfare” when we support families but there isn’t a peep about subsidizing corporations. I’d prefer to give the money to families and let them spend it in the community rather than give it to huge corporations who pay outrageous salaries to their executives and pack up and leave as soon as the profit margin drops.

Corporations care only about profits; they don’t have a pulse or a heart. They don’t deserve our compassion or our charity.

Jeff Blanck is an attorney in private practice in Reno. He can be reached at: jblanck@jeffreyblancklaw.com.
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Corporate welfare by Jeff Blanck


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