7 Candidates for Corporate Rip-Off of the Year
7 Candidates for Corporate Rip-Off of the Year
By Paul Buchheit / commondreams.org

There are so many to choose from. Every one of these selections is an act of corporate treachery that takes billions of dollars from the American people. 

1. Selling Medication For Up To 100 Times More Than It's Worth 

Pharmaceutical companies reap billions of dollars in subsidies for research and development, but they've successfully lobbied Congress to keep Medicare from bargaining for lower drug prices. An extreme example is Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of the drug Sovaldi, which charges about $10 a pill to its customers in Egypt, then comes home to charge $1,000 a pill to its American customers. Other outrageous examples are noted by Ralph Nader. 

As a further insult, Americans are cheated when corporations pay off generic drug manufacturers to delay entry of their products into the market, thereby forcing consumers to pay the highest prices for medicine. 

2. Paying Their Employees With Our Tax Money 

Walmart made $19 billion in U.S. profits last year, and the four Walton siblings together made about $29 billion from their personal investments. That's about $33,000 per U.S. employee in profits and family stock gains. Yet they pay their 1.4 million American employees so little that the average Walmart worker depends on about $4,000 per year in taxpayer assistance, for food stamps and other safety net programs. 

3. Giving Money to Executives Rather Than Investing in the Future 

Corporations are spending trillions of dollars on stock buybacks, which use potential research and development money to pump up the prices of executive stock options. Apple alone is spending $90 billion to repurchase its own stock through 2015. Walmart doesn't provide a living wage for its workers, but its company management spent $7.6 billion, or about $5,000 per U.S. employee, on stock buybacks, in order to further boost the value of their stock holdings. 

The buyback surge is dramatic. In 1981, major corporations were spending less than 3 percent of their combined net income on buybacks, but by 2008-9 they were spending 75 percent of their profits on this greed-driven process

4. Making Money on Dirty Air and Water 

Charles Koch once said, "I want my legacy to be...a better way of life for...all Americans." 

Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into rivers and streams than General Electric and International Paper combined. One of Koch's products is petcoke, which Rolling Stone notes is "denser, dirtier and cheaper than coal." Too toxic to burn in U.S. coal plants, it's sold instead to countries with weaker environmental regulations, like Mexico and China. But storage facilities are needed. So the besieged city of Detroit became the dumping ground for a three-story pile ofpetroleum coke covering an entire city block near the Detroit River. The mound of toxic matter spewed thick black "fugitive dust" over the homes of nearby residents. The ugliness was later repeated in Chicago

5. Making the Highest Profit Margin in the Corporate World -- And Demanding a Tax Cut 

The trading volume on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) reached $1 quadrillion in notional value last year. That's a thousand trillion dollars, about ten times greater than the world economy

With the collection of transfer fees, contract fees, brokerage fees, Globex fees, clearing fees, and surcharges, the company achieved a profit margin (54%) higher than any of the top 100 companies in the nation from 2008 to 2010, and in the past three years it's risen to nearly 60%

Despite being the most profitable big firm, CME complained that its taxes were too high, and they demanded and received an $85 million tax break from the State of Illinois. 

6. Skipping Out on the Country that Made Their Business Possible 

Walgreens (which later backed down), Burger King, and Medtronic are the biggest names in the so-called inversions that allow companies to desert the country that made them successful. They don't want to pay for decades of publicly funded research in technology and medicine; a legal system that protects patents and intellectual property; infrastructure, including roads and seaports and airports to ship their products; unprecedented amounts of local and nationalsecurity, and a nationwide energy grid to power factories. 

7. Group Ripoff: $74 Billion in Profits...and a Tax Refund 

It seems incomprehensible that Boeing, Ford, Chevron, Citigroup, Verizon, JP Morgan, and General Motors, with a combined income last year of $74 billion, would pay no taxes, and in fact receive a combined refund of nearly $2 billion. The data comes from a new study called Fleecing Uncle Sam, which goes on to note that the unpaid taxes of almost $26 billion could pay for Pre-K education for every 4-year old in America. 

Is there an answer to all this? Only if we victims work together toward the singular goal of stemming corporate power, especially in the financial industry. To do this, as Les Leopold says, "we will need something like an Occupy 2.0." 

Otherwise the ripoffs will continue.

4.4 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 10,887 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Donald Trump Is the Mirror and Hillary Clinton Is the Mask
Chris Agnos · 8,406 views today · Disclaimer: I do not support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. I think the scope of the political debate is far too narrow for the kinds of actions that need to...
Gil Scott-Heron Deconstructs Colonialism and Black History in His Own Unique Style
3 min · 4,404 views today · His-Story: I was wondering about our yesterdays, and starting searching through the rubble and to say the very least, somebody went to a hell of a lot of trouble to make sure...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 3,910 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,405 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Mark Corske's Engines of Domination (2014)
60 min · 1,761 views today · Political power -- armed central authority, with states and war -- is it part of human nature? Is it necessary for human communities? Or is it a tool that ruling elites use to...
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 1,605 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 1,578 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,299 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Anarchists - What We Stand For
unknown · 1,096 views today · Anarchism : The word “anarchy” comes from Greek and means “no rulers”. As a political philosophy, anarchism is based on the idea that organization does not require rulers—that...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 1,082 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
For Those Who Don't Want to Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils
Peter White · 1,048 views today · Ranked-choice voting is catching on, and Maine might become the first state to help citizens vote for candidates they actually want.
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 1,006 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 764 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Planet Earth II Could Be Best Nature Doc Ever Made
3 min · 643 views today · 10 years ago Planet Earth changed our view of the world. Now we take you closer than ever before. This is life in all its wonder. This is Planet Earth II. A decade ago, the...
Lessons in the Calais Jungle: Teaching Life Stories and Learning About Humanity
Aura Lounasmaa · 512 views today · I am part of a team of academics teaching a course to residents in the Calais Jungle, a camp for migrants and refugees outside the French city. Life Stories in the Jungle has...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 403 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 367 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
The Untold History of Palestine & Israel
22 min · 335 views today · Previewing Abby Martin’s on-the-ground investigation in Palestine, The Empire Files looks at the long history of Zionist colonization, expansion and expulsion of Palestine’s...
Eckhart Tolle: Your Facebook Ego, That's Not Who You Are
2 min · 304 views today · “Identification with thoughts and the emotions that go with those thoughts creates a false mind-made sense of self, conditioned by the past: the "little me" and its story. This...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
7 Candidates for Corporate Rip-Off of the Year