Welfare bad, wasteful corporate handouts good

If you are an individual seeking government assistance of any kind, you represent all that is wrong with this great country. If, on the other hand, you are a corporation seeking government welfare, you are what makes America great. Let's see how that works.

Along with most of my fellow Republicans, I deplore government waste of taxpayer money. For example, the fleet of 2,000 M-1 Abrams tanks currently corroding in the California desert, unwanted by the U.S. Army, continues to grow thanks to funding from Congress. Ignoring the $8.5 million purchase price for each useless tank, Congress has earmarked another $3.8 billion to refurbish these endless rows of rotting steel. Since this expenditure is, according to Army generals, unrelated to national security, we can only stare wide-eyed at General Dynamics' ability to manipulate Congress by placing so many factories in so many Congressional districts. Hiring hordes of cum laude lobbyists and contributing to campaign coffers testifies to their mastery of the intricate mechanics of corporate welfare in America.

But the beneficiaries of the decade-late trillion-dollar corporate welfare program known as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter make the Abrams welfare dads look like pikers. Even hawks like John McCain argue that there is no place for this plane in America's defense arsenal. The Air Force wants nothing to do with it. But of course that has little weight when so many Congressmen are getting such prodigious campaign contributions from squadrons of defense contractors. Some, obviously not true patriots like you and me, even have the temerity to ask why the U.S. taxpayer must pick up hundreds of billions in research and development costs so General Dynamics can sell this plane to 12 international customers who have declined the opportunity to get suckered into paying for development costs. The government's cut of the profits is the same as yours and mine — zero. Long live corporate welfare on a grand scale.

Do you seek great wealth? No problem. Build your factories in at least 26 states, and a majority of U.S. Senators — both Democrats and Republicans — will back you. If it's the right 26 states, you will have the votes of the U.S. House of Representatives as well. Wealth formulas don't get any simpler than that. If we used some of that money to feed hungry children and educate those who need it most, activities that might actually be in the national interest, Congressmen might be compelled to find support among real voters and not just corporations seeking government handouts.

We fiscal conservatives have got to do something about all this government waste. After all, none of us like welfare. If you find these policies annoying, just go out and hire yourself a team of lobbyists and contribute massively to Congressional campaigns. Problem solved!

Terry Munson, Pawleys Island, S.C.

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