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“Major Corporations Are Threatening Us”

Wolff just wrote the piece “The Threats of Business and the Business of Threats,” which states: “More and more we hear that nothing can be done to tax major corporations because of the threat of how they would respond. Likewise, we cannot stop their price gouging or even the government subsidies and tax loopholes they enjoy. For example, as the oil majors reap stunning profits from high oil and gas prices, we are told it is impossible to tax their windfall profits or stop the billions they get in government subsidies and tax loopholes. There appears to be no way for the government to secure lower energy prices or seriously impose and enforce environmental protection laws. Likewise, despite high and fast rising drug and medicine prices, we are told that it is impossible to raise taxes on pharmaceutical companies or have the government secure lower pharmaceutical prices. And so on.

“Such steps by ‘our’ government are said to be impossible or inadvisable. The reason: corporations would then relocate production abroad or reduce their activities in the U.S. or both. And that would deprive the U.S. of taxes and jobs. In plain English, MAJOR CORPORATIONS ARE THREATENING US. We are to knuckle under and cut social programs that benefit millions of people (college loan programs, Medicaid, Medicare, social security, nutrition programs, and so on). We are not to demand higher taxes or lower subsidies or fewer tax loopholes for corporations. We are not to demand government action to lower their soaring prices. And if we do, corporations will punish us. …”

Wolff is author of the book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He is professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and currently a visiting professor in the Graduate Program for International Affairs at the New School University in New York City. Video of his talk “Capitalism Hits the Fan” is available at:


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