Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giving It Away

Silly me. I thought my employer paid me because I enhanced their profitability. By providing a skill, I enabled them to bring a product or service to market better or faster or more-efficiently.

Now I find that business is actually performing a public service by employing me. Who knew employment was a charitable act, done to protect America's labor force from the horrors of daytime TV?

What else to think after seeing so many of Illinois’ corporate citizens approach our bankrupt state government and request tax relief and deferments and subsidies? To hear them tell it, the employment they offer is a radiant act of selflessness equal to anything Mother Teresa ever did in India.

Employees aren’t the drop of oil or bit of grease that expedites the profit-making machinery. No. Employees are the ungrateful beneficiaries of really nice guys just trying to do the right thing.

According to our newly emboldened business class, they should be subsidized because they employ people. And pay them. And because they pay people, they themselves should be paid—even though they already are.

Confused? Me, too. But not to worry. This makes perfect sense in executive suites and in the GOP national headquarters.

If gigantic multi-national corporations aren’t our biggest parasites, who is? Is there anyone who finds something even a little objectionable about billion-dollar corporations extorting bankrupt state governments for whatever spare change might be lying around?

Do the words entitlement or leech spring to mind? Rape? How about necrophilia?

They should.

Struggling telecommunications giant Motorola got $100 million from the state of Illinois for not leaving. Struggling retail giant Sears yesterday received $150 million in tax credits and will receive another $125 million in property tax relief for, again, not leaving.

The CME Group, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Board of Trade has also received welfare, the exact nature of which is unknown. CME also threatened to leave.


And those are just the most-recent cases. My manners would be showing if I neglected to mention Navistar, Chrysler, Continental Tire and U.S. Cellular.

As consumers, our options are limited. The governor is also in a spot. Call the guilty parties out in public and you risk ruffling their feathers and having these Vito Corleone wanna-bes make good on their threats.

Pay the scumbags and you outrage the public, especially when cuts to public transit, health care and education are deep and widespread. And don't forget, the public still votes.

The best response is a public boycott. Let consumer-dependent companies like Motorola and Sears know how the tax-paying public feels about extortion. Especially for entities that have received the bounty of government largesse these corporations have.

While we’re sensitive to the fact it costs a lot of money to make a lot of money, it’s not all gravy, all the time. In other words, the one-hundred percent profit margin will remain a fantasy—at least until the next Republican president signs the slave labor mandate.

Besides, whatever happened to the small government ideal, anyway? Oh that’s right—that’s unless it can shovel a mountain of public cash into your sweaty, clutching hands. Got it.

It’s Christmas, folks. Companies like Motorola and Sears are never more vulnerable than now. We should strenuously and obstreperously not be okay with this.



  1. I wish more people could read this.

  2. Socialism for the rich, capitalism for everyone else. What a joke.

  3. @sd10521: Ditto.

    @OtagoPaul: I'm confident most Americans are aware of this. However, they refuse to be inconvenienced by caring.