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Letters: Subsidies and profits

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  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 12:09 a.m.

    In our economy we privatize profits and socialize losses. Corporate America wins, taxpayers and consumers lose. Since half of all political "donations" come from the top 1/10th of the 1%, the people who fund our politicians are the winners. The other 99-9/10th of us are the losers.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 12:23 a.m.

    The writer asks: are subsidies to private enterprise a kind of backdoor socialism? I hope I understand his question. If I understand it, the answer would be no. Subsidies to private enterprise are nothing new. Such occurred during colonial times. Mainstream economics justifies them with externality arguments, i.e. the product or service being subsidized has a benefit to greater society which the manufacturer or provider cannot charge. This is a long standing argument in economics and is definitely not socialism.

    I can tell you Marx had a very different view of profits. There isn't room her to get into that, but Marx asked a question as interesting as yours: in a system such as ours where transactions involve the exchange of things of equivalent value, where do profits come from?

    The writer raises interesting issues.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 6:32 a.m.

    The new "American Way". Take from the poor and give to the rich.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Sept. 23, 2013 6:39 a.m.

    So stop giving welfare checks to farmers and make employers pay a living wage.

    All this can be done by bringing back unions.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 6:44 a.m.

    I think we do a disservice to proclaim that America's economy is simply capitalist or socialist. Believing America is supposed to be totally capitalist, for example, encourages people to think of government programs in black-and-white terms (e.g., support for schools, bad. De-regulation good), and it biases people to not recognize how incentives and subsidies have benefitted America's economic prosperity.

    The Internet, for example, was a government initiative, built and paid for by the government that in 1992, thanks to a bill sponsored by Senator Al Gore, congress allowed businesses to leverage for profit. Without the government's development of the Internet -- a massive subsidy -- Google and Facebook wouldn't exist today. Even the revival of Apple wouldn't have happened if Apple didn't pursue iTunes and leveraged the Internet for its music and entertainment businesses.

    The same could be said of American government's construction of railroads, the national highway system, the Louisiana Purchase, or wars in the Middle East to protect 'our' oil sources (though this last subsidy may not be seen so positively).

    Do subsides and incentives distort the market? Yes. And some distortions can often be good for America's economy.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 7:35 a.m.

    The writer has stumbled upon the definition of "crony capitalism." It's a system where government, and not consumers, decide the economic winners. These winners then subsidize the political careers of the politicians who made them. It's a corruption of capitalism that too many confuse with real capitalism. This is what's destroying our economy, not "unfettered" capitalism. Nothing will revive our economy until crony capitalism (such as "too big to fail") is dismantled and replaced by a market system free of favoritism and subsidies. To do that, corrupt politicians will have to be sent packing. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    "If government contributes to the profit by subsidizing the costs through tax deals, wage supplements, or consumer incentives or in any other way, the government is taking money from the taxpayer to give to the business operation." This is called farming.

  • KDave Moab, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    There is a system that lies between capitalism and socialism, it is called fascism. Fascism destroys capitalism and leads to socialism. Obamacare is a great example of this process.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    Mr. Neale, you nailed it.

    That's the new American version of capitalistic socialism: Socialize the expenses; Privatize the Profits.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    The multi-national corporations have lots of profits and lost of cash. They operate in many countys that do have socialized medicine and still profit.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    Geez KDave, you and I subsidize 60% of the nations healthcare now, don't you think we should ask those being subsidized to participate? You talk about individual responsibility. Until the ACA is fully implemented you won't know one way or the other how it will work but one thing is for sure, for the majority of Americans the previous system was unacceptable. Stand down and let democracy work, unlike your Congressman.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    Unregulated Capitalism does not work. It cannot survive without competition. Competition cannot happen without free enterprise. Free enterprise is dead with monopolies. We have returned to gilded age. Where o where is Teddy?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 23, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    @marxist – “Marx asked a question as interesting as yours: in a system such as ours where transactions involve the exchange of things of equivalent value, where do profits come from?”

    They come from all the added entrepreneurial talents (e.g., vision, risk taking, management, business knowledge, coordination, etc…) that brings a product to market.
    This is something Marx never understood (along with human nature in general) and is why like so many other “isms” he has some insights into half of reality (e.g., labor theory of value) but is as ignorant as a schoolboy regarding the other half.

    And this is not to just pick on Marx – same is true (as one example from the other end of the spectrum) of someone like Ayn Rand and her Objectivism.

    @KDave – “Fascism destroys capitalism and leads to socialism. Obamacare is a great example of this process.”

    I think DN could post an article on the mating habits of dung beetles and someone would find a connection to, and reason to criticize, Obamacare.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Sept. 23, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    Exxon made $9 billion profit last quarter. The Republican House just voted them $4 billion subsidy. Why do Republicans feel the need to subsidize Exxon?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 23, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    Those with their hands out don't understand the concept of "risk". They want a guaranteed wage. They want the government to force "others" to buy the product of service that they provide. They want the government to "force" those who have taken a risk to give away their profits to those who will not take any risk.

    In other words, they want FORCE to rule in their lives. Are they so ignorant of history that they don't know what happens when force becomes the governing factor? Have they no empathy for the millions of destroyed lives when government redistributed wealth to themselves, with a very small amount trickling down to the pawns who spilled their blood so that the dictators could rule and reign?

    Take a long hard look at the many wealthy Democrats in Congress. How did they make their money? What did Harry Reid do to make his millions? What did any of them do? They passed laws that made them rich and then they have the gall to point their finger at those who actually took risk to make a profit.

    Shame on the freeloaders who covet the wealth of the risktakers.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    Conservative will whine all day long about people welfare,
    let them starve, let them die,
    yet;
    will fight tooth and nail for Corporate Welfare.

    When Republicans promote "Free Market Capitalism" by taking away Corporate Welfare and special tax incentives --

    For:
    the vast Military Industrial Complex,
    the Oil industry,
    Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Insurance companies,
    America's Farmers,
    Food Stamps for minimum wage workers and let the WalMart and FastFood Billionaires run their own stores without them,

    Let them compete on a free market, unbiased, and may the best product for the best price win...

    Until then --
    Republicans are the biggest Corporate "Socialists" on the planet.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Sept. 23, 2013 1:12 p.m.

    To "SEY" the term croney-capitalism is just a distraction. You should call it what it truely is. Fascism. Remember that the government doesn't give people money without attaching strings to it. The government then can use those strings to control your business. Just look at the banking and health insurance industry. They are being controlled by socialist leaning policies, but are still privately owned, that makes those industries fall under a fascist control.

    To "ugottabkidn" there is no such thing as "unregulated capitalism", that would be anarchy. Capitalism requires that there is a government entity to enforce regulations, contracts, and property rights. Government should not be involved with ensuring a business remain open.

    To "LDS Liberal" we should go back to a capitalist sytem. As U2's Bono recently pointed out. Capitalism is a highly effective way of helping poor people climb out of poverty. Socialism doesn't work. As Brigham Young said, socialism will just turn people into beggars asking others to give them food. That is what your ilk have turned corporate America into, beggars asking for government handouts. If you want to know why, it is because liberals/progressives give government money to their cronies.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 23, 2013 3:06 p.m.

    @Mike Richards – “Take a long hard look at the many wealthy Democrats in Congress. How did they make their money? They passed laws that made them rich…”

    @Redshirt1701 – “That is what your ilk have turned corporate America into, beggars asking for government handouts.”

    What country are you guys living in? If you’re going to bash Democrats at least do it for the right reasons (giving away free stuff to the little guy).

    For what you two are talking about we need look no farther than the Elephant Party. Republicans are THE party of corporate welfare and crony capitalism. Does anyone not remember the no-bid Halliburton contracts?

    And if that’s too far in the past (perhaps you think now with Tea Partiers in charge things are different) all we have to do is look at the 2013 Farm Bill. If that is not giant farming conglomerates and corporate food companies getting billions of dollars of “free stuff” from the government, not to mention legal protection for wrong doing (hello Monsanto), I don’t know what is.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Sept. 23, 2013 3:43 p.m.

    To "Tyler D" you need to look beyond the political parties. The Democrats are just as guilty as Republicans are for marching us towards socialism. The Democrats and Republicans that are doing this to us are all Progressives, and the only difference between the two is the rate of travel.

    As far as the Democrats are go, you forget Solindra, GM, GE, and other companies that get free money from the government just because somebody is either well connected or because a politician is afraid of what happens if a company closes shop.

    The Tea Party Republicans are not in charge of much of anything. They are slowly growing in numbers, but they have to fight the Progressive R&Ds. If you look at the 2013 farm bill, the Tea Party was opposing it or thowing ammendments into it that the establishment hated.

    The question is do you want to continue the march towards socialism or do you want freedom?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 23, 2013 4:41 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701 – “The question is do you want to continue the march towards socialism or do you want freedom?”

    I try not to get hung up on labels, especially single word ones so vague & loaded they are virtually meaningless.

    I would like to live in a country where the game is not rigged in anyone’s favor – a meritocracy where everyone has an equal shot. But I also want to live in a country where we are not blinded to the fact that many people don’t start out on equal footing and one that has enough compassion to try and help those (e.g., education) with no-fault-of-their-own disadvantages.

    Conversely, there are too many people in this country who are “born on third” and then think through their own brilliance & hard work, they hit a triple (and ridicule those are not standing on third base).

    I want to live in a country that that protects our environment and promotes fair justice and protection from the worst of human nature (which is often the most pernicious in the amoral corporate setting).

    What kind of country is that?

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Sept. 23, 2013 7:19 p.m.

    Redshirt1701: I don't call it fascism because it's not...yet. Under fascism, corporations are captives of the state. Under crony capitalism, the state is captured by corporations. We live in an economy where politicians are bought and paid for by lobbyists of large corporations. These politicians are entirely dependent on their corporate cronies for campaign money that funds their reelection and careers.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 23, 2013 8:19 p.m.

    "They passed laws that made them rich and then they have the gall to point their finger at those who actually took risk to make a profit."

    Hey, I agree with Mike Richards.

    But probably see the fix differently.

    Congress passes laws that benefit corporations for sizable donations. And along the way, our congressmen always seem to get rich in the process.

    My solution is get all big money out of politics, both corporate and union.

    What is sad to me is the most on the right fight tooth and nail against removing the financial incentives to rig the game. (and lots on the left also.

    Get the money out. Then see how much better our congress is at passing laws. It would be amazing.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 23, 2013 8:21 p.m.

    I should add that unfortunately, Mr Richards only sees how the Democrats are seduced by the power and money. I assume that he is unaware of those in the GOP who managed to get very rich while in congress.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 2:40 a.m.

    Farm subsidies are redistributing income on large scale.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Sept. 24, 2013 7:48 a.m.

    To "Tyler D" actually the words Socialism and Freedom are not vague. Yes the question is loaded because it will expose you and what you desire.

    I don't want a country that "promotes fair justice and protection from the worst of human nature". Fair is just a way of saying that those in charge and their supporters get what they want. I don't want protection from human nature, I want protection from criminals and from oppression. I want a country with equal justice and protections.

    To "SEY" look at health insurance and banking. Those industries are micromanaged by the government. Those businesses are being torn down by politicians for their own political gain. Even GM is following those lines. They changed CEOs because the government wanted somebody mor sympathetic to their oversight.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    @Redshirt1701
    Deep Space 9, Ut

    ..actually the words Socialism and Freedom are not vague.

    ============

    I lived in England, Germany and Japan.
    I have worked in and visited France, Israel, Canada and Australia.
    Socialist countries them all.

    I felt just as free there, as I have here.
    I felt MORE protected there than here.

    How do explain that RedShirt?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Sept. 24, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    Tyler, I like your 4:41 response to Redshirt. I especially like the baseball analogy. I give you credit here for it because I'll probably use myself some time . Thanks.

    I do disagree however a little bit with your response to Marxist. Obviously the answer to Marxist's question is the value comes from the labor of the workers. I would take a broader view and include the work, vision, and risk of the entrepreneur as part of that labor. Which then begs the question of profit sharing. This of course is all contrary to misinformation of ideologues like Redshirt who profess that liberals don't respect the risk and vision of the entrepreneur. We absolutely do respect it, we just don't worship it to the point that it trumps all other labor.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    Oh, if we could just get posters to tell us their definitions of the words they use like Socialism, Communism, fascism, freedom etc.

    Government itself is neither good nor bad; it is the men who operate the government functions that result in being good or bad. Even Communism would be a good government if the men running the government were good people and dedicated to the job that government should do.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 24, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    @Redshirt1701 – “Fair is just a way of saying that those in charge and their supporters get what they want. I don't want protection from human nature, I want protection from criminals and from oppression.”

    You have a strange idea of “fair” – fair is simply what every kindergartener understands and what many adults get confused about, often due to being blinded by “isms” and ideology.

    As to your second part, we are essentially saying the same thing (go back and read my comment). I wonder if what bothers you about how I phrased it is that I don’t use all the typical right-wing code words and talking point memo speak.

    @pragmatistferlife

    I agree – but I didn’t think Marxists look at entrepreneurial talents as “labor”… I could be wrong. And those talents are relatively rare (why they command a higher premium) whereas the labor involved in, say, digging a ditch or running a cash register at Walmart is commonplace (and thus pays a much lower wage).

    And I can’t take credit for the baseball analogy… that would go to Eddie Vedder (a Pearl Jam song from the Bush years).

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Sept. 24, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" you were more comfortable because you are a socialist. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure that out.

    You are not "more protected" there. You are more coddled in those countries. If you fail in any aspect of your life, you never have to fully feel the consequences of your mistakes, the government has so many safety nets in place that you never suffer. Think of those governments as "helicopter parents". It isn't good for kids, and it isn't good for nations.

    To "Tyler D" if having something be "fair" is something more than a kindergartener concept, then explain it. Also, can you quantify it. I can quantify equal, I can't quantify "fair".

    You should find the parenting article titled "That’s not Fair". It used to be on MSN, but is available at other websites now too. You sound just like the kids they describe. The author says "Whose kids haven’t at one point hollered, "That’s not FAIR!" when they felt cheated out of their supposed share of something?" That sounds like you and others like you.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 11:15 p.m.

    Is this about Senator Lee's s family subsidy?

  • CLM Draper, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 12:41 a.m.

    SEY, I have a broader name for "crony capitalism": inverted totalitarianism, as coined by Sheldon Wolin, in his book, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.

    Inverted totalitarianism is different from the classical forms of totalitarianism in that it does not have at its center a charismatic leader but finds its formulation in the anonymity of the corporate state. The corporate powers behind inverted totalitarianism do not look to replace degenerated constructs with a new and revolutionary architecture as in classical totalitarianism, but instead aim to replace crumbling constructs with a new and revolutionary framework. They claim to honor electoral politics, freedom, and the Constitution. But they so corrupt and manipulate the machinery of of power as to render democracy impossible.