Corporate greed. Just what is corporate greed? At what point does a corporation cross the line from a healthy profit into excessive profit and greed? Corporate critics have no answer for you. No percentage or dollar amount. Of course, this is true of all of the claims of the OWS. They don’t want to be held to account for any specifics.

What is very clear is that certain things that are done by relatively unprofitable or failing corporations are viewed as acceptable, yet when the very same things are done by profitable corporations, they are considered greed. This has always been a subject that the dependency nation won’t address. Why is it considered good when failed corporations are bailed out by taxpayers, yet when successful corporations take advantage of legal tax loopholes that is considered greed? Apparently it’s OK to spend billions in taxpayer money to prop up a failure despite the reason they failed. Could be risky investments or just a failed business model, it doesn’t matter. Bad behavior rewarded by bailouts of course just breeds even more bad behavior.

However, if you haven’t been a failure and you take advantage of existing legal U.S. tax code to minimize your tax burden, that is considered greed? For example, a new report is out from the liberal Citizens for Tax Justice website that highlights exactly that. It examined the 280 most profitable, keyword profitable, U.S. corporations over a 3 year period from 2008-2010. Read the report here. The report summarizes with this statement.

Washington, DC – A comprehensive new study that profiles 280 of America’s most profitable companies finds that 78 of them paid no federal income tax in at least one of the last three years. Thirty companies enjoyed a negative income tax rate over the three year period, despite combined pre-tax profits of $160 billion. These are among the findings in “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010,” released today by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

“These 280 corporations received a total of nearly $223 billion in tax subsidies,” said Robert McIntyre, Director at Citizens for Tax Justice and the report’s lead author. “This is wasted money that could have gone to protect Medicare, create jobs and cut the deficit.”

This is, of course, more fuel for the OWS fire. They will use it to highlight their cause and show that the evil, greedy capitalist corporations are killing the common man. Yet, how many will look past the headline and ask what should be the obvious question? Answer, none. The question should be ‘Why do we have a tax code that permits these companies to exempt their profits’? After all, no one is claiming what these corporations are doing is illegal. Instead, the claim is that there should be some sort of ‘morality code’ in existence that corporations won’t utilize tax loopholes when they are profitable.

Once again, more misdirected anger. If tax loopholes anger you, your issue is with the IRS and subsequently, those who put those tax codes in place. How about the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States? That’s where tax reform has to come from. Yet, you won’t see any OWS protest at the Capitol building or the White House. Instead, they are at corporate CEO front lawns protesting the greed.

The bigger problem is the proposed solution. Empower the same government that put that tax code in place to somehow further regulate and punish the corporations. The call for Marxism is growing. Unions are openly embracing it. Protesting citizens are asking for it. They expect the same government that through a policy of intervention and manipulation has created the avenues for risk-taking and tax dodging to somehow make it better.

Sorry, but your argument has no merit when your anger is managed merely by where a company falls on the profit and loss scale. If you have a principled opposition to a policy, corporate profits shouldn’t even come into play.

You may be opposed to payouts to CEO’s and other execs, particularly in bailed out companies. Most people are. Now were getting into corporate governance policies. Why is a corporation even created? To protect, or shield, shareholders and employees from corporate creditors. Incorporation laws vary by the individual states that set those laws. Board structure is regulated by these laws. Once again, if you don’t approve of corporations taking advantage of existing law by rewarding certain individuals, you need to talk to the lawmakers.

I’m certainly not in favor of any more government regulation than is necessary. Yet, in the case of a corporation, it is merely a legal entity. It is no ones right to form or join one. Lawmakers created the provisions for incorporating and thus can regulate those laws. This is where those changes must occur which would certainly require stricter regulation. So be it. If lawmakers go overboard with regulations, companies will vote with their feet and go incorporate in another state or country.

The point is, those mega bonuses are allowed under law. Don’t like them, then get the law changed. But keep in mind who is at fault for tax loopholes or corporate board bonus structures. Your legislators, both state and federal. This is where your outrage should be targeted. You can protest to them in a wide variety of measures, all legal and non-violent.

Instead, the anger is targeted at some mythical moral code that successful companies are supposed to invoke. It’s interesting that when you look at the housing industry, that standard doesn’t apply. Government created the conditions to inflate the housing bubble through policy. Homeowners took advantage of unsound policies to buy more house than they could afford. Yet, where is the anger? Is it at the homeowners who got too good of a deal but signed on the dotted line anyway without any critical thinking? No. Is it at the government that created the conditions for the meltdown? No. Rather, it is at the banks who merely worked within the framework provided by the government to issue the loans. Sometimes issuing loans they didn’t want due to government mandate. They are the evil ones.

This is the core issue. These attacks are all centered on capitalism in general. The very system that allowed the United States to develop the best standard of living the world has ever seen. However, it is now the threat to the dependency nation. Those that feed at the trough. Those who believe they have an inherent right to other people’s property merely for the fact of their existence. Politicians who need the dependency nation to stay in power.

Worse yet, what is the result of a successful attack on capitalism? Loss of your liberty. The one thing you can’t place a value on. Keep that in mind when you decide where to aim your anger at greed.

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5 thoughts on “What is corporate greed?

  1. Great post. I would just add that while most of the (non-violent) young people protesting are simply ill-informed, most of those orchastrating OWS behind the scenes were anti-capitalism (and thereby anti-freedom) long before the financial crisis of 2008. There are simply “not letting this crisis go to waste.”

  2. Nicely written. You are correct in every way. The question that begs answering should always be, who are the authors of corrupt legislation and then of course the action to take is to follow the money. Unfortunately, this means asking the government to eventually arrest and punish itself.

    The truth is that our society is corrupt… how can we expect our elected politicians to be anything but mirror images of ourselves? Remember the first GOP debate? Bachman made the accusation that Perry tried to mandate an inoculation program in Texas for female teens against cervical cancer because he had a buddy in a pharmaceutical company that would be selling the shots… (pay back for campaign contributions). Perry responded that he has raised millions for his campaign and was insulted that anyone would insinuate he could be bought for a lousy $5,000 donation. Why wasn’t he insulted that anyone would insinuate that he could be bought at any price on any subject? Why, when Perry made his arrogant remark, wasn’t there a single guffaw from anyone else on stage? Why wasn’t there a single guffaw from anyone in the audience? It seems we have accepted crony capitalism as the American Way. We’re so used to it…. so numb to it…. so personally involved in it that we don’t recognize our own failing. We are in serious trouble. It’s not been what you know but who you know for too long. I don’t believe this country has the ability to right itself. When the “middle class” baby boomers die off, the rich will have no-one left worth stealing from and the poor will become untenable. Revolution is coming to what end I don’t know but liberty and freedom are dying. Glad I won’t be around.

  3. Great points. In a way, it’s nice to see there are others out there that are as cynical as I about our chances, not that it makes things any better. I guess I still hold out hope that if enough people start to realize the true gravity of the mess were in, maybe somehow we will get through to enough of the masses to make a difference yet. Rearranging Titanic deck chairs with establishment politicians will never get it done. Thanks for commenting.

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