According to the analysis by de Blasio's office, ExxonMobil, Bank of America, General Electric (GE), Chevron and Boeing had combined profits of $77.16 billion in 2010 but paid $0 in current federal income taxes in 2009. [...] At the same time, these companies gave a combined $7.86 million in political contributions during the 2010 election cycle -- a 7 percent jump over their 2008 political spending.
This is like the flip side of that conservative caveat which says that the day when the citizens of a democracy realize they can vote themselves a trough to feed from, that democracy is dead. Except that hasn't happened yet in any democracy, unless you want to argue that "citizens" includes only soldiers and senior citizens. Indeed, America's spending problem is really an old people and guns problem: Defense, Medicare and Social Security.
In fact, in a bought-and-paid-for political representative democracy like ours, this flip side is a much greater danger, since folks on "welfare" either don't vote or can't afford big political contributions.
Namely, that danger is that corporations, realizing they can lobby themselves nearly unlimited tax breaks, incentives, and subsidies from the public trough that only their shareholders' heirs will have to pay for partially while current shareholders enjoy the benefits completely, and further realizing that they can spread the cost of all their economic externalities and fuck-ups to you and me and perpetuity (Exhibit A: Wall Street bailouts. Exhibit B: BP oil spill) -- anywhere but to their income statements -- and in return throw back a pittance of the proceeds to politicians' campaigns and families, thereby bankrupt our treasury and pillage our public goods.
By Amanda Terkel
May 3, 2011 | Huffington Post