Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Corporate Tax Cuts: From DC to Augusta


By Bruce K. Gagnon 

The news that Sen. Susan Collins had ignored the wishes of the majority of Mainers on the recent Senate tax cut bill underscored just how far the greed and lack of care for the working people of this nation has gone.

The overwhelming evidence that the gap between the rich and poor is growing (about as fast as the Arctic ice is melting) indicates just how little our corporate ‘masters’ care about the country. The fact is they don’t.

Here in Maine we face a less well known corporate grab for the public purse. The recent news that General Dynamics is requesting a $60 million tax subsidy from Augusta is but one more shock to the system of a nation that is in decline as our human and physical infrastructure collapses due to neglect and outright abuse.

Thanks to an article printed in the Providence Journal on Nov. 3, we have learned that General Dynamics does not need another gift from the already broke State of Maine. Entitled Defense firms spend big on lucrative stock buybacks, the Journal reported that between 2009-2016 General Dynamics spent $12.9 billion buying back its own stock. (They can only do that when they have a bundle of excess cash sitting around.)

This was during the same period that General Dynamics was hitting up Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut for more money — implying that they might have to close up shop if they didn’t get the requested taxpayer subsides.


“I think, as taxpayers, we’re being taken for fools,” said William Lazonick, an economist at UMass Lowell and an expert on stock buybacks told the Providence Journal. “At a minimum, I would have a rule saying, ‘You’re not getting any subsidies if you’re doing buybacks. You’re showing us you don’t need the money.’ “

It should be remembered that when General Dynamics signs contracts with the federal government to build warships they write into the agreement all their costs (worker training, equipment, utilities, materials, profits and more). So, for the company to keep coming back saying they need even more money means they are double dipping the taxpayers.

Rep. Jennifer DeChant from Bath is now formulating the bill in Augusta that will give General Dynamics even more corporate welfare. Since 1997 the company has received $200 million in tax breaks from the State of Maine and the city of Bath.

The public outcry, not yet as sharp and loud as the one we’ve recently heard opposing the Senate tax bill in Washington, should now pick up as we head toward the January special legislative session in Augusta where the tax subsidy bill by Rep. DeChant will be considered.

Let’s just imagine for a moment what $60 million could be used for here in our already fiscally strapped state. Fixing roads and bridges, repairing rundown schools, hiring more teachers, helping those who can’t afford healthcare, beginning to do more about our own dependence on fossil fuels as climate change worsens by the day and lobsters head north seeking colder ocean waters.

Should we just surrender to the corporate agenda and turn over the public treasure chest to the already well-endowed mega-companies that now appear to be in full control of Washington and Augusta? Are people to expect few, if any, life supporting services from our national and state governments because we must first make sure that the fifth biggest weapons corporation on the planet, General Dynamics, has enough profits so they can buy back their own stocks?

General Dynamics last year paid CEO Phebe Novakovic $21 million — which included a $5 million bonus. Let General Dynamics take back some of the extravagant pay increases and bonuses from its top executives before it comes poormouthing to our already financially barren state treasury.

We have the right, and the responsibility, to speak out and demand this nonsense stops now. We are handing a collapsing nation, facing the ravages of global warming, to the future generations. The least we can do is call upon our state legislators to go to Augusta and say no to General Dynamics.

Before General Dynamics gets any more state taxpayer dollars it should be required to begin a transition process to build commuter rail systems, tidal power and offshore wind turbines to help us deal with our real problem — global warming.

~ Bruce K. Gagnon is a member of PeaceWorks. He lives in Bath.  

1 Comments:

Anonymous Brother Jonah said...

...when the rich are very rich and the poor are very poor... Maybe they know the consequences of their ripoff. According to my spell checker ripoff is a valid english word. But not English spelled with a lower case e. The starting point of this often ends out in a really violent warning. Or warning of real violence. I bet if I took a tour of duckduckgo using it as the keywords search I'd see some very angry comments.

Historically the thieves don't heed the warnings. And since they manipulate history, tailor it to fit their agenda, they're no longer in touch with real history. It's worse than any drug.(they might be taking drugs, alcohol at least, to help them believe their own crap) GD had a complex of plants surrounding Carswell AFB in Ft Worth for the longest time. Also had their corporate offices in Lake Worth because they wouldn't pay municipal taxes that way. The best way I know to counter their bill shut is to remember and recall exact facts from my own experiences.

The base hospital was in the flight pattern for one of the runways, it was a B52 base and they had one landing or taking off every 5 minutes. It was the single largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the country therefore the world, most of it in the air at any one time. Those birds flying over really low is a huge noise shock. The Pentagon repurposed it as a medical facility for the Bureau of Prisons. It all comes together, Halliburton has a contract with every slave-labor prison industries, and they also have the fattest contracts for the military.

Who are tasked to secure resources in countries who don't want to just GIVE them to Halliburton and their Oily Accomplices...
And they think nobody notices... Like a silent fart in church... round and round it goes and it's like digging a hole in the sea.

12/21/17, 1:50 PM  

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