The REAL Welfare Queens: The Overbearing, Election-Buying, Congress-Owning, Almighty Money Changers of the Temple of Greed

Note: I first published this post almost two years ago. We’re coming to the end of the legislative session here in Oklahoma, plus I have quite a few personal and family issues to deal with. I’m going to re-blog a few posts from the past this week, along with a few others that will be short, but more timely. I hope you enjoy them.

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Let’s talk for a moment about people who feel “entitled” to government hand-outs.

I don’t mean those sad souls who come to the legislature in their wheelchairs begging pathetically not to be put out of their group homes. I also don’t mean the sprightly retirees who want to be able to buy food and pay their utilities, both in the same month.

No. I mean the overbearing, election-buying, Congress-owning, almighty money changers who hire the lobbyists, pay for the campaigns and control the think tanks and Chambers of Commerce. I mean those folks who send their lobbyists (who make more money in a year than most of the people reading this will make in a lifetime) to elected officials with already drafted legislation that they want the legislator to “author.”

This special interest legislation has been crafted by well-paid “public policy experts” to give the moneyed class unfair advantage over their business competitors, control of vast parts of the government treasury and tax cuts that will protect their ever-increasing wealth on a generational basis.

That’s who I mean: The REAL welfare queens; the ultimate parasites who are draining the life blood out of the American economy so they can add it to their hoard.

These are the people who make money out of the wars in which our children fight and die. They are the ones who benefit when American jobs and American industry are shipped overseas. They buy almost every election. They control the majority of the elected officials in both parties. Our government functions for them. It has become government of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation.

No one tracks the amount of money that goes to corporate welfare. It’s like pouring water into sand. We pass laws with a strategic sentence here or there, or in some cases whole bills, that are designed to benefit the people who paid for the expensive political campaigns that got these office holders where they are in the first place. The money we just spent on crony capitalism vanishes into the pockets of our pals and no one but the recipients knows how much it was or where it ultimately went.

Consider that while we have an admitted national debt in excess of $1 trillion, the Cato Institute says that we are shelling out an annual $100 billion on corporate welfare this year. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal hikes the estimate to $200 billion. That’s a $100 billion dollar mystery. For all we know, it might be many times more. In fact, considering how most of this money is hidden inside other pieces of legislation, and that no one keeps track of it, it almost certainly is many times higher.

The figures we have, outrageous as they seem, are just a nip out of the bottle of what actual corporate welfare costs. But their very nebulousness indicates quite clearly how little we really know about what we’re spending as a people to keep the real welfare queens of this nation fat, fatter and fatter still.

Has this money we’re spending on corporate welfare benefited you and me? If it has, where are our jobs? Where is our industrial base? Why is America increasingly becoming a country that can not manufacture its own goods? What are we the people getting for this $100 billion dollar or $200 billion dollar or whatever it is check we keep signing over?

This is why, when I hear some pious pundit go on about people who feel “entitled” and then proceed to point their finger at the elderly, disabled and the vulnerable, I feel a wave of cynicism building off shore and then pouring over me.

I remember the lobby days for the disabled at the Oklahoma State Capitol when we are inundated by people in wheelchairs, many of whom who are so disabled they cannot hold their heads up straight or carry on a conversation or eat without drooling. I’ve seen their faces, looking up at me, begging me to do something to keep them from losing the funding that lets them live their lives with at least a little bit of dignity.

Then, I remember the corporate lobbyists in their expensive suits. I’ve seen them sitting in legislator’s offices, telling — not asking, but telling – committee chairmen, who were supposedly elected by the people, which bills to kill.

I think about the bill after bill after bill that we vote on that rips the people off in first one way and then the other, all on behalf of some moneyed interest. It goes on like that all day where I work. Bill, after bill, after bill; until you get bored and numb with the repetitiveness of them, all written by special interests, pushed by special interests and passed into law for special interests. These bills are designed to give a competitive advantage over smaller businesses, limit consumer redress, allow favorable contract terms against individual citizens or create government transfer of tax-payer money to corporate coffers.

These laws have nothing to do with the free enterprise system. They are the opposite of free enterprise. They allow big business to rip off everybody, including the small business owner whose dues go to the Chambers of Commerce that the big business controls.

I’ve been living with this … this corruption … for years. I see it every day. I hear it all day. I vote no. I debate against it. But my small voice and my one vote can not change the tide of corporatism that is drowning our Republic.

That’s why I’m talking about it here. Because all our votes together might do something. But that can never happen so long as we continue buying into the nonsense and lies that corporate talking heads keep feeding us. If we want to survive as a free people, we’ve got to start doing some of our own thinking.

  • george-a

    Your photo image uses the word “capitalism.” Capitalism is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, referring to many different things. It is a flag word that, really, no longer has any real or any one meaning except to stir up raw emotions of deprivation and victimization.

    What you discuss in the post, however, is properly termed “cronyism.” Cronyism is a ubiquitous feature of all tyrannies of all flavors, socialism, fascism, communism, statisms of all kinds. Where the rule of law languishes, cronies and their kept politicians flourish.

    You used the term “crony capitalism.” I don’t think this is a good term. It confuses two different things. A better term would be “crony corporatism.” After all, one of your main points is that it is the big wealthy corporations that are the cronies of the politicians.

    Just to be clear.

    ETA: I like the term “free enterprise.” It seems to ring the right note of liberty for the little guy also …

  • Mrshopey

    Yes. You have described the corruption very well. It is doubly insulting when the Church is there to help the poor, and the help you receive is to go check out this govt assistance program which they supported. Or it is to me. Like being fed to the wolves because that funding could disappear in the blink of the eye where we, the Church, used to do it because we knew the dignity of the person.

  • Nick_from_Detroit

    Mrs. Hamilton,
    While I very much agree with your condemnation of the cronyism practiced by some corporations, I couldn’t help but notice that you failed to mention a few other special interests.
    Such as the trial lawyers, the unions (especially the public sector unions), the farmers (milk price supports, corn/ethanol, subsidies not to grow, etc.), the green lobby, Hollywood, etc.
    And, don’t forget how President Obama made that deal with the big medical insurance companies for their support of ObamaCare.
    Yes, both parties have members that are bought and paid for by special interests. But, corporations are not the only special interests out there.

    • hamiltonr

      True. But the corporatists are running things in most of the country these days, and have been for quite a while. Blind party loyalty only creates a nation of sheep, standing in line for the shearing. I don’t know how to get people to recognize this, but it is essential to our future as a nation that they do.

  • captcrisis

    Amen to this. I hope this post is not related to you leaving the Legislature though.

  • JustaCatholicMom

    Please please please speak more about this topic in the future. I’ve only become aware in the last year of how our government is a Corporatariat. Both political parties are beholden to big corporate interests. Public policy is dictated by one maxim: Profits over People. More people are becoming aware of this and are speaking out and trying to come up with solutions. In the meantime, the corporate media does its best to obscure what’s happening by whipping up hatred along a left v. right, liberal v. conservative divide so people fight each other and vote against their own interests.

    Looking forward to your future posts on this. God bless you for speaking the truth.

  • JustaCatholicMom

    (Trying again b/c Disqus deleted my comment since I forgot to verify my email.)

    Please please please speak more about this topic in the future. I’ve only become aware in the last year of how our government is a corporatariat. Both political parties are beholden to big corporate interests. Public policy is dictated by one maxim: Profits over People. More people are becoming aware of this and are speaking out and trying to come up with solutions. In the meantime, the corporate media does its best to obscure what’s happening by whipping up hatred along a left v. right, liberal v. conservative divide so people fight each other and vote against their own interests.

    Looking forward to your future posts on this. God bless you for speaking the truth.


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