We paid for the technology that is reducing us to low-wage workers.
Corporations Owe $5,000 Per Household for the Public Research Bill
According to the National Science Foundation (Table 4-3), public money pays for about 30 percent of all U.S. research, including basic, applied, and development. 30 percent of over $2 trillion in corporate profits comes to about $5,000 per U.S. household.
Add $2,000 for Pollution and Disaster Relief Costs
A quarter of the fossil fuels produced in the U.S. in 2014 came from public land, much of it by the two biggest oil producers, Exxon and Chevron, neither of which pay much in U.S. taxes, and both of which claim mostly foreign profits despite using mostly U.S. resources.
It is estimated that pollution costs run anywhere from $71 billion to $277 billion per year. The midpoint of $174 billion comes to about $1,500 per U.S. household. It is further estimated that federal and state disaster relief payouts cost every person in the US more than $300, which translates to well over $500 per household.
Add Another $3,000 Per Household for Unpaid Taxes and Corporate Welfare
Tax avoidance and federal tax subsidies add up to about $3,000 per household, per year. A lot more could be added if the industry-specific costs of excessive bank fees and overpriced medications were factored in.
That’s a total of at least $10,000 per household, per year. If the corporations plead poverty, they might be reminded about the 95 percent of S&P 500 profits spent on stock buybacks (which enrich stockowners) and dividend payouts, and the $2 trillion hoarded overseas in tax havens.
The America Permanent Fund
With an America Permanent Fund (APF), based on Alaska’s successful program and further developed by Peter Barnes, all of us — rich and poor alike — would receive a share of our national productivity, as indeed we deserve.
Not only is the APF fair, but it is also good business. Money earned by average Americans stimulates economic activity. A stronger consumer class will generate even more profits for the nation’s corporations, if those big profit-makers will support the people who provided most of the labor and resources.