Category Archives: Obtaining income through the government – rent seeking – corruption

Various terms have been used to describe obtaining income through the government that does not provide a good or service.  One of them is corruption.  This typically refers to acts that people consider corrupt, such as government officials taking government money that is not theirs.  People or firms not in the government can also obtain favorable treatment from the government.  Taxes can be avoided, for example.  This is sometimes called corruption and sometimes not.  Rent-seeking is a more neutral term used by standard economics.

Cover of The Triumph of Doubt by David Michaels

The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception by David Michaels

A government insider exposes the industry playbook for undermining evidence-based policy Sheril Kirshenbaum Science February 10, 2020
His book offers account after account of unethical bad actors working against the public good on issues ranging from asbestos to climate change. Powerful firms and individuals seeking personal gain repeat the tactics of a well-worn playbook of denial and misdirection proven effective by Big Tobacco more than 50 years ago. Michaels pulls no punches, naming the corporations and people responsible for fraud, deception, and even what he terms “climate terrorism.” He reveals the dirty ways that industries have succeeded at shaping their own narratives regarding safety and health by producing articles and diversions designed to deny and distort science while confusing the public.

Cover of The Triumph of Doubt by David Michaels Credit: Oxford University Press

Harm through the government 2020

  DC Water tunnels constructed thus far helped save the Anacostia River from 4.5 billion gallons of sewage overflow in 2018, according to DC Water.  Credit: DC Water
DC Water tunnels constructed thus far helped save the Anacostia River from 4.5 billion gallons of sewage overflow in 2018, according to DC Water. Credit: DC Water

EPA is letting cities dump more raw sewage into rivers for years to come Christopher Flavelle New York Times January 24, 2020

Trump removes pollution controls on streams and wetlands Coral Davenport New York Times January 22, 2020

Harm through the government 2019

Column: Trump’s tax cut was a mammoth fraud Steve Chapman Chicago Tribune December 21, 2019

95 environmental rules being rolled back under Trump Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka and Kendra Pierre-Louis New York Times December 21, 2019

How a Trump tax break to help poor communities became a windfall for the rich Jesse Drucker and Eric Lipton New York Times August 31, 2019
A multibillion-dollar tax break that is supposed to help low-income areas has fueled a wave of developments financed by and built for the wealthiest Americans.

An editorial in the New York Times sets out important ways in which worker’s rights have been reduced in the Trump administration. These include: easing the ability of firms to classify workers as temporary workers, thus eliminating the protections that full time workers have in law, restricting collective bargaining in various ways, limiting the ability of workers at franchised businesses to pursue claims against the franchiser, and failing to adequately enforce existing laws, such as OSHA.
Trump’s war on worker rights Editorial Board New York Times June 3, 2019 (opinion).

Robert Reich points out that about 25 percent of American workers are now temporary workers, eliminating protections that ordinary jobs have including “a minimum wage, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation for injuries, employer-provided Social Security, overtime, family and medical leave, disability insurance, or the right to form unions and collectively bargain.”
The jig is up on the gig economy Robert Reich Truthdig June 5, 2019 (opinion)

California to ban controversial pesticide, citing effects on child brain development Reed Anderson and Juliet Eilpern Washington Post May 8, 2019

Why both major political parties have failed to curb dangerous pesticides Elena Conis Washington Post April 9, 2019

How regulators, Republicans and big banks fought for a big increase in lucrative but risky corporate loans Damian Paletta Washington Post April 9, 2019

Oppression and Exploitation News December 12 – 18

Conflict

The Infinity War. We say we’re a peaceful nation. Why do our nation’s leaders always keep us at war? Samuel Moyn and Stephen Wertheim Washington Post December 12, 2019

What did the United States get for $2 trillion in Afghanistan? Sarah Almukhtar and Rod Nordland New York Times December 9, 2019

The secret history of the war in Afghanistan Craig Whitlock Washington Post December 9, 2019 A six-part series.
Part 1 At war with the truth–U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress in Afghanistan. They were not, confidential documents show, and they knew it.
Part 2 Stranded without a strategy. Bush and Obama had polar-opposite plans to win the war. Both were destined to fail.
Part 3 Built to fail. Despite vows the U.S. wouldn’t get mired in “nation-building,” it has wasted billions doing just that.
Part 4 Consumed by corruption The U.S. flooded the country with money — then turned a blind eye to the graft it fueled.
Part 5 Unguarded nation. Afghan security forces, despite years of training, were dogged by incompetence and corruption.
Part 6 Overwhelmed by opium. The U.S. war on drugs in Afghanistan has imploded at nearly every turn.

Obtaining income through the government 2019

How FedEx cut its tax bill to 0 Jim Tankersley, Peter Eavis, and Ben Casselman New York Times November 17, 2019
The company, like much of corporate America, has not made good on its promised investment surge from President Trump’s 2017 tax cuts.

Discrimination 2019

Indian parliament passes divisive citizenship bill, moving It closer to law Jeffrey Gettleman and Sushasini Raj New York Times December 11, 2019 Updated December 16, 2019

The Jim Crow South? No Long Island today The Editorial Board New York Times November 21, 2019
An investigation reveals widespread housing discrimination against blacks and other minorities in New York’s suburbs, more than 50 years after the Fair Housing Act.