by Tiger Tom
Editor’s Note: Tiger Tom posted this article to the Pure Water Gazette’s former site during the period of post-911 patriotic madness when homeland-loving corporations were scrambling for a choice place at the feeding trough. –Hardly Waite.
It makes you proud to be an American when you see how our corporations answer the call in time of crisis. I mean, individuals are certainly doing their share. Many people have put up a big heavy flag on their home, or at least a small one on their car, or both. Some, like the guy below, even have big bloody or weepy signs and pictures. But, as important as individual patriots are, it’s our corporations that have really come through for us.
Here are some examples of what they’re doing for the good of the nation.
The big round numbers I’ll put behind the names of the corporations and trade associations are the amount they’ve given from 1999 to the present (late 2001) in campaign contributions. I, Tiger Tom, did not go to a lot of trouble looking these numbers up. Instead, I copied them from some research done by Public Campaign (http://www.publicampaign.org), a non-profit group that pushes hard for campaign finance reform. I do not include these numbers to suggest that the obscenely rich companies mentioned are attempting to buy favors from the government. I would never think that about these patriotic corporate friends that keep America strong.
California date growers ($25,000) patriotically asked the Pentagon to buy dates for the food packages being dropped in Afghanistan. Getting dates rather than peanut butter would show the Afghans we care and make them feel much better about being bombed. I, Tiger Tom, say that this is a good idea, and I suggest that the U.S. would not have been so steamed about Pearl Harbor if the Japanese had had the good manners to make an extra pass or two after the bombing to drop the survivors some sodas and potato chips.
American Traffic Safety Services Association ($26,000) made the patriotic suggestion that much more federal cash is needed for road signs to prevent traffic snarls after terrorist attacks. Nothing ruins your day like driving off into a bomb crater because the feds scrimped on detour signs.
Telecom services and equipment makers ($21.3 million) suggested that the answer to terrorism is to re-establish telecommunications monopolies. Big, powerful companies, they say, unencumbered by the nuisance of competition, can better keep us safe.
The oil and gas megaglomerates ($38.8 million) suggest we meet the challenge of terrorism by drilling for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.
I, Tiger Tom ($4.75), wrote my senator to suggest conserving energy by asking patriots to drive their flagmobiles a little slower, say at a voluntary 55 mph or so, but so far I’ve had no answer.
The travel industry ($9.3 million) came up with the patriotic notion of a $1,000 per family tax credit to help offset vacation expenses. Think of it. You could patriotically fly to Acapulco and get a tax credit for your trouble. That’s not much harder than putting a flag on your car.
Farm lobbies ($69.9 million) are proposing a Farm Security Act that would serve as a “bulwark against disruptions in food supplies” and, incidentally, provide millions in subsidies for corporate “farmers” in the process.
I, Tiger Tom ($4.75), wrote the president suggesting reestablishment of Victory Gardens but have not yet had an answer.
Verizon Communications ($3.7 million) is patriotically asking the federal government to remove rules that give smaller competitors access to its network. This would be good for the fight against terrorism, the company says, because big companies can get things done in time of crisis.
Boeing (a paltry $500,000), with the Marine Corps’ help, is begging Congress to bring back the hapless V-22 Osprey, its unique experimental aircraft that crashes now and then and kills a few Marines. 20% of the Ospreys that have been built have crashed. Nothing’s perfect. As an airplane, it’s a flop, but it has the advantage of costing a lot and will get Boeing back to work and be good for the old economy. Congress has apparently already caved in on this one and is giving Boeing a billion (that’s a thousand million) to keep working on it. The big, weird plane on the right is an Osprey.
The airline industry ($8.3 million), which has had many patriotic suggestions including direct government dole, now suggests a patriotic repeal of the federal tax on jet fuel to save the country.
And finally, everyone surely has heard that our sixteen biggest corporations ($46 million in the last ten years) have patriotically whined and pleaded until congress is handing them back $7 billion (that’s billion with a “b”). Even Enron, now bankrupt, will get around $250 million under this plan . That will certainly get the economy rolling. The big guys are no doubt begging for this handout so they can help the economy by giving big raises to their workers and hiring back their laid-off employees whether they need them or not.
I, Tiger Tom ($4.75), patriotically wrote to my representatives suggesting that they further help these struggling nice-guy companies to make ends meet by putting at least a temporary salary cap of, say, $50 million per year, on corporate CEOs. I know that this will not be popular with the CEOs, but, as I suggested in my letter to the Vice President (sent to “Address Unknown”): “These slimy greedheads need to make some sacrifices, too, and it they don’t like it, I, Tiger Tom, say tell them to put it in their think tank and smoke it.”