"I come from the right wing of the political spectrum and I think Conservative policies help the poor even more than they help the rich."
The same people who are telling you and drilling into your head that the federal government is your enemy are also saying we have to strengthen it, but we have to strengthen that part of it that pours money into the pockets of Newt Gingrich's rich constituents. So the Heritage Foundation, the right wing foundation that, more or less, sets the kind of budget and that sort of thing for the right wing, they, and Newt Gingrich, and the rest, also want to increase the Pentagon budget against the will of the population. The population is opposed to that by about six to one, but they want it because they know a little secret that you're not supposed to know, but that the business world knows very well. And that that system is primarily functioning, and has been for 50 years, to transfer funds from the general public to advance sectors in industry, high-tech industry. That's how Newt Gingrich ends up getting more federal subsidies for his rich constituents than any suburban county in the country outside the federal government itself.
JB: Probably a lot more from any inner-city poverty district, as well.
NC: Yea, I mean this is ... People talk about corporate welfare, which is a serious thing, but the whole Pentagon system, which is a much broader system than the Pentagon itself, that's a huge welfare system, which keeps the wealthy wealthy.http://www.wtp.org/archive/transcripts/chomsky_two.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_welfare
Britain is a long way behind America in military spending, but still one of the five biggest military spenders:
Annual military budget (US$ billions)
• USA: 399
• Russia: 65
• China: 47
• Japan: 42
• UK: 38
• France: 29
The development cost for just one fighter jet (the US F-22) was $63 billion, more than enough to eliminate global starvation, according to WGI figures quoted by Unesco.
(Source: Center for Defense Information, 2003).
The annual cost of welfare in Britain is about £100 billion. The tabloid media blame this high cost on the "workshy", but most of it goes on pensions:
Annual cost (£ billions)
• Job Seekers Allowance: 2.3
• Housing benefit: 4.1
• Income Support: 6.5
• Child benefit: 8.8
• Benefits for disabled: 10.8
• Contribution-based pensions: 42.1
(Smaller costs include winter fuel payments for the elderly, at £1.7bn, etc. Source: Department for Work and Pensions, 2003)
America spends $175 billion per year on corporate welfare. Much of it takes the form of tax breaks:
Corporate tax welfare 1996-2000
• Microsoft: 12
• General Electric: 12
• Ford: 9.1
• Worldcom: 5.3
• IBM: 4.7
• General Motors: 3.6
• Enron: 1
(British businesses also receive billions in welfare handouts – from the Department for Trade and Industry. The DTI is basically a corporate dole office. Source for tax welfare figures: Citizens for Tax Justice)
Tax avoidance & fraud
When it comes to swindling, "dole cheats" aren't the biggest drain on the UK economy:
Estimated annual cost (£ billions):
• Corporate tax avoidance: 85
• Business fraud: 14
• Government fraud in Whitehall: 5
• Tobacco smuggling: 3.5
• VAT fraud on mobile phones: 2.5
• Total welfare fraud: 2
• Jobseekers Allowance fraud: 0.19
• Bulldozer smuggling: 0.15
(Sources, respectively: Guardian, 12/4/02; BBC Radio 4, 'Today', 23/8/01; BBC Radio 4 News, 1996; Guardian 17/12/99; BBC Radio 4, 'Today', 3/7/03; DWP, 2003; The Informal Economy, by Lord Grabiner, March 2000; Guardian, 25/8/01)
Long Working hours
• Working hours have risen in the last 20 years, on average, for UK full-time workers. This reverses a 150-year trend of declining working hours.
• UK government research shows 1 in 6 people working more than 60 hours per week.
• Each year workers are giving £23 billion in free labour to their bosses, due to unpaid overtime.
(Sources: UK Labour Force Survey, 1999; Guardian, 30 Aug 2002; Press Association, Feb 26 2004)
Death by Work
• People with stressful jobs are twice as likely to die from heart disease, according to a 2002 study in the British Medical Journal.
• Long-term job strain is worse for your heart than gaining 40lbs in weight or ageing 30 years, according to a 2003 US study.
• Going into work when you feel ill (taking no sick leave) doubles the risk of heart disease for 35%-40% of the population.
• Work kills more than war. Approximately two million workers die annually due to occupational injuries and illnesses, according to a United Nations report. This is more than double the figure for deaths from warfare (650,000 deaths per year). Work kills more people than alcohol and drugs together.
(Sources: British Medical Journal, 19 Oct 2002; American Journal of Epidemiology, 2003; BBC2, The Money Programme, 1 Dec 2004; UN ILO SafeWork programme, April 2002)
Work is no cure for poverty
• The number of people in work is at "record levels" according to the UK government. Meanwhile, official UK figures show 22% of people living in poverty, compared to 13% in 1979.
• 47% of employees have wages that, on their own, are insufficient to avoid poverty. 42% of employees rely on means other than their own wages to avoid poverty.
• In the 1970s and 1980s, around 4% of low-paid employees lived in poverty. Currently, 14% of low-paid employees live in poverty. (5% of all employees now live in poverty).
• Since the early 1970s GDP (national income) has doubled, but in real terms (ie allowing for inflation) the bottom 10% of jobs pay less now than in 1970. The minimum wage would have to be around £6.50 per hour to bring low-pay up to the 1970 level.
(Sources: Government DWP press release, Nov 2004; poverty.org.uk;
Corporate welfare is often used to bail out business failures. Examples include: (in Britain) the £46 billion of public money required to clean up the nuclear industry;
(in America) the $15 billion bailout of airlines and the Savings and Loan scandal which is likely to cost US taxpayers over $1 trillion.
• • •
According to Gore Vidal, the ongoing US Savings and Loan bailout will cost more than the whole of US spending on social welfare from 1789 to the present. (Source: Vidal, On the State of the Union, 1994.)http://www.anxietyculture.com/stats.htm