Posted on Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston says it's no accident that the middle class has been shrinking.
In fact, in a recent conversation with Aaron Task and Daniel Gross on Yahoo's Tech Ticker, Johnston argues that the middle class is a direct result of a maze of subsidies and sweetheart deals that states and cities have doled out to big companies. (Johnston is the author of "Free Lunch: How The Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves At Government Expense (And Stick You With The Bill.")
"We've changed the government rule book in tremendous ways this enormous growth of incomes at the top is not the result of market forces," Johnston says, "it's the result of all these rules nobody knows about."
Among the questionable benefits that Johnston identifies are the deals received by teams in America's biggest four sports which, he says, get subsidies that are worth more than their combined profit. Cabelas, a sporting goods store, got $1.37 in subsidies for every dollar of profit it brought in, he notes.
States are spending approximately $70 billion on these type of corporate subsidies, but that may be understating the case. "Is that capitalism?," Johnston argues. "Go compete in a competitive arena. Don't go to Washington and say 'Give me money' either by saying 'I don't have to pay taxes' or forcing other people to pay taxes that go to me. Go earn your money in the marketplace."
He added: "Every community is doing this Every state is doing this... the net effect is wealth destruction and concentrating money in the hands of those who are politically connected.