Skip to comments.Whose profits are they anyway?
Posted on 11/03/2005 8:48:11 AM PST by libertarianPA
It is my considered opinion, backed by 37 years of radio yammering, that 98.4% of the people in this country who use the word fascist have no idea what the word actually means. Ditto for Nazi. Being in a helpful mood I embark here on an educational effort so that some of us might actually recognize fascism when it truly does rear its ugly head, as it did this week from the mouth of Senator Charles Grassley (R- IA), the chairman of Senate Finance Committee.
Grassley has apparently decided that free enterprise no longer works for America. (The truth here is that Grassley discovered that free enterprise doesnt serve the goal of empowering politicians.) It is Grassleys view that American businesses must now seek the favor of the imperial federal government of the United States as to just how business profits must be disbursed. No longer, in Grassleys economic world, will corporate boards decide on the distribution of profits. No longer will the private businessman be the captain of his entrepreneurial ship. Grassley apparently wants the government to have a de facto seat on every corporate board and a share of control in the spending decisions of every private business.
Lets get back to the fascism word. Sheldon Richman writes in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics that fascist thought acknowledge(s) the roles of private property and the profit motive as legitimate incentives for productivityprovided that they did not conflict with the interests of the state. In other words, state approval must be sought before important business decisions can be implemented. I think I can simplify Richmans definition of fascism so that even Americans educated in state schools can understand: Free enterprise (capitalism) is private ownership and control of the means of production. Socialism is government ownership and control of the means of production. Fascism is private ownership of the means of production, with government control. Private ownership with government control? Theres a somewhat familiar ring to that, isnt there?
Charles Grassley would have admired World War II era Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. During Mussolinis fascist reign he moved to virtually eliminate the ability of businesses to make independent decisions, including decisions pertaining to prices and wages. The government became the not-so-friendly business partner a partner with a gun and the legal authority to use force to accomplish its goals.
So, how does this apply to this fine Republican senator? Grassley, it seems, feels that there is a role to be played by the federal government in decisions relating to how corporate profits must be spent, invested or disbursed. Grassley is now on record as wanting (the rhetorical equivalent of demanding) that oil companies donate 10 percent of their profits to help poor Americans pay their heating bills. Grassley sent letters to oil companies outlining his request; letters he claims to have sent to embarrass the oil companies into contributing to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Embarrass? I dont think so. The right word here would be intimidate. Grassley says Its not unreasonable to expect corporations with 50, 75 or 100 percent growth in earnings this quarter to contribute a mere 10 percent of those profits to fund programs that supplement LIHEAP. In those letters Grassley also asked that these oil companies report to him on their recent charitable contributions.
Lets try to get on the reality train of thought here for a moment. Grassley isnt asking these corporations to fork over the money. Hes telling them. It doesnt take much of a businessman to know that when the chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee starts writing letters about donations and contributions the implied threat of government force and/or retribution literally oozes from the envelope.
While some may be surprised to hear such anti-free enterprise mutterings from the person of a senior Republican U.S. Senator, Im not. Just chalk this up to another reason why I stopped paying dues to the Republican Party years ago, and started writing those checks instead to the Libertarian Party. No economic system in the history of civilization has done so much to lift so many people out of abject poverty as has free enterprise, the dynamic of a free people working together under a system that protects economic liberty. The Republicans now seem to be less than content with merely taxing the living (insert expletive here) out of the corporations and businesses who fuel our economy, now they want to dictate just how the profits that are left after the taxman leaveth are disbursed! Today its a demand for donations to heat poor folks homes. Tomorrow well be demanding that Americas homebuilders donate a portion of their profits to build low-income (soon to be trashed) housing. Next automakers will be told to contribute some profits to public transportation initiatives.
It doesnt seem to be enough to political power players like Grassley that they have billions of dollars in corporate taxes to spend on their vote-buying schemes. The new nirvana will be to control the disbursement of corporate profits as well.
Did anybody hear someone say the f word?
Pretty soon we're going to start saying, "Sieg Heil" (sp?) to our government officials.
That's more accurate I think.
Yes, it's a boneheaded idea, but what I read about Grassley was that he was attempting to "shame" the oil companies into contributing more to some "fuel oil for the poor" fund, not actually trying to take the profits.
Call 'em Drainos - Democrats & Republicans - Americans In Name Only...
When you're a U.S. Senator, what's the difference between shaming, inferring, or outright stating? This man is trying to extort money earned honestly in order to pander to people who don't know the first thing about economics!
And that's really not the point anyway! This man has no right to do this in a "free" society. In Nazi Germany, this would be perfectly acceptable.
I did, and suggested that he drop the R; and use T, for THIEF !
There's no pesky party line to pretend to toe, and it's more accurate, too!
When George Bush (not considered a RINO) goes on TV after Katrina and says that poverty in America is rooted in racism and basically gives poverty pimps and race hustlers ammunition to blame the white man for the situation in New Orleans...
I'm sorry. The Reps are just as bad as the Dems.
Well, agree with you there.
It was the most idiotic thing I have ever heard anyone say....what about TV stars..Basketball players..Movie stars..concert tickets....homes in Florida...art work...who is to say what is "to much"...really....gas is cheaper than bottled water....Pandering...Pandering.....pandering..and it really is stupid
Good one. Can I use it?
Sounds like (stinks like) a typical organized crime 'protection' racket to me...
....contributing more to some "fuel oil for the poor" fund, not actually trying to take the profits.
Of course it is. As a small business owner, if the government demands that I contribute a portion of my profits to one of their pet projects, then that government is "taking" my profits.
According to Exxon Mobil's financial statements, their "obscene" profit is only about 10% of sales. That is not extreme at all. Why isn't anyone looking at it from this angle?
That's right. If companies like Exxon-Mobil were nearly as profitable as people make them out to be, then even people as marginal as U.S. Senators would quit their jobs and go to work in the oil industry.
Grassley is generally ok, but he does go looney tunes once in a while.
I agree. I had a phone conversation with him also that left me refreshed in his understanding. Was in regard to the farm program and him admitting what we were doing now wasn't working.
We all say stupid things every once in awhile but never here on FR.
"We all say stupid things every once in awhile but never here on FR."
I am living proof that that is not entirely accurate! 8^}
Translation: Do so voluntarily now, or we will force you to do it later.
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