As Americans retreat to cooler locales for the worst of the summer's heat, the Department of the Interior is on a listening tour about coal royalty reform. Interior manages coal on public lands for the public's best interest, which has been ill-served by the below-market prices attached to federal mineral leases for decades.
Through a myriad of tax avoidance schemes, the wealthy 1 percent continue to profit using public resources, subsidies and infrastructure while the 99 percent disproportionately pay the bills for it -- all while struggling to pay their own bills, mortgages, student loans, and more. Americans must ask why individual taxpayers are fronting the money for hugely profitable corporations.
American workers are facing significant challenges. Whether it's low pay, a system that favors corporations over citizens, a gender wage gap, the effects of unfair trade or a voting system that hampers the most disadvantaged among us, these problems are real. But will those affected the most bother to do something about it?
The function of Ex-Im is to subsidize businesses that export American products. The major problem with this agency comes from the fact that a big bulk of Ex-Im funds go to huge, wealthy companies, such as the Ex-Im's largest beneficiary Boeing, which in 2013 received 30 percent of its loans and guarantees.
In the passage of the current Farm Bill, Congress literally just took $9 billion in food stamps from hungry and poor families and gave it out to big agribusiness giants in the form of more corporate welfare. President Obama could send the bill back to Congress and refuse to sign it until Congress properly funds the food stamp program.
I don't expect very much from Santa Claus these days. I mean, he's been a disappointment over the years. My desires are few--power, money, and fame, that sort of thing--but he's yet to satisfy any of them. So I tried downgrading my requests to world peace and the end of international poverty. But that didn't work either. He still didn't deliver. This year I tried to be more realistic. I had just a few simple requests. It's been a difficult year so Santa, this would have been a good time to give me at least something that I wanted. But no! It's Christmas Day and I got up early to check under the tree, and nothing.