Our Tax Money Pays for Much of the Research (03/30/15)

There's virtually no end to the public resources used at little or no cost by corporations. All the technology in our phones and computers started with government research at the Defense Department, the National Science Foundation, the Census Bureau, and public universities. The Internet made possible the quadrillion-dollar trading capacity of the financial industry. Pharmaceutical companies wouldn't exist without the National Institutes of Health.

There's more, much more. The wealthiest individuals and corporations are the main beneficiaries of tax laws, tax breaks, property rights, zoning rules, patent and copyright provisions, trade pacts, antitrust legislation, and contract regulations. The largest companies benefit, despite their publicly voiced objections to regulatory agencies, from SBA and SEC guidelines that generally favor business, and from FDA and USDA quality control measures that minimize consumer complaints and product recalls.

Businesses rely on roads and seaports and airports to ship their products, the FAA and TSA and Coast Guard and Department of Transportation to safeguard them, a nationwide energy grid to power their factories, communications towers and satellites to conduct online business, the Department of Commerce to promote and safeguard global markets, the U.S. Navy to monitor shipping lanes, and FEMA to clean up after them. Thanks to the taxpayer-funded National Highway System, corporations like Fedex and United Parcel have access to markets across the country. Along with road construction come the water, electric, and telephone facilities needed to sustain big business.

The richest individuals and corporations are the primary beneficiaries of the $60 billion spent on Homeland Security.

For international business, more advantages are enjoyed by multinational corporations through trade agreements like NAFTA, with international disputes resolved by the business-friendly World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization. Federal judicial law protects our biggest companies from foreign infringement. The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership would put governments around the world at the mercy of corporate decision-makers.