David Cay Johnston argues corporate gifts for Boeing only redistribute wealth in the upper tax brackets
On Friday the International Association of Machinists union in Washington state is expected to vote once again on a contract to build Boeing's new 777x Jetliner. The union rejected an earlier contract proposal to build the commercial jet which set off a multi-state competition to convince Boeing to move the construction out of Puget Sound.
Missouri is one of 22 states offering up billions in free land, tax breaks, and other assorted perks to land an estimated 8,500 high-paying jobs.
It's the kind of thing that makes author David Cay Johnston see red.
"This kind of conduct was unacceptable thirty and forty years ago," Johnston says. "And it's one of the major fundamental changes that just redistributes wealth upwards."
Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter who wrote the book "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You With The Bill".
"What we're seeing is government policies that take from the many to enrich the few. Most of the biggest companies in America now get a significant part of their profit, not from the competitive market place, but from taxpayers," Johnston argues.
"The average family of four is now being taxed $900 a year just to give state and local tax breaks to big companies. That's more money, $900 per week, than the average family of four makes in take home pay. So, think about it: Do you want to go to work for a week, on average, if you're a family of four, just to give money to Boeing and other big companies?"
Local economic development boosters disagree with Johnston.
The St. Louis Regional Chamber estimates the 8,500 Boeing jobs would create an additional 21,000 indirect jobs and more than $9 billion in revenue.
Johnston believes, in the long run, it's fools gold.
"Adam Smith warned us in 1776. Seldom do members of an occupation gather together, even for merriment, when the conversation quickly turns to a conspiracy against the public," Johnston said. "To raise prices and lower wages. That's what's going on here. This is not market economics. This is corporate socialism. It's the reason the economy is in so much trouble."