by Lawrence J. McNamee
Review of: Take the Rich Off Welfare (New Expanded Edition) by Mark Zepezauer; Consortium, 160 pages, 2004
Charles Dickens? memorable character Mr. Bumble, from the novel Oliver Twist, was an ironic spokesman for Victorian England?s parish welfare system. He had a simple rule for administering aid to the destitute: ?Give ?em plenty of what they don’t want.? Theresa Funacello?s 1980?s nonfiction book A Tyranny of Kindness alerted modern America to the reality that New York City?s welfare system was so maladministered and bureaucratic that few would want to remain on it long. But what about the USA’s other welfare program? That is the program that offers economic assistance to corporate citizens and grease for the squeaky wheels of American business.
Mark Zepezauer?s book Take the Rich Off Welfare informs the reader that the government of the United States gives corporations and wealthy entrepreneurs in excess of $815 billion a year in tax relief and subsidies. This amount, we are told, represents 47% of the cost of operating the federal government for a year (less the costs of social security and Medicare). This amount, if applied to the national debt every year for eight years, would erase it. $815 billion is more than four times the amount spent on welfare for America’s poor in a year!