The Federal Communications Commission issued a press release last month accusing Sprint Corp. (S on the NYSE) of improperly retaining government subsidies from the Lifeline low-income assistance program, instead of passing them along to 885,000 cash-strapped customers as was their obligation. In a statement, FCC chairman Ajit Pai didn’t mince words:
"It’s outrageous that a company would claim millions of taxpayer dollars for doing nothing. This shows a careless disregard for program rules and American taxpayers. I have asked our Enforcement Bureau to investigate this matter to determine the full extent of the problem and to propose an appropriate remedy."
Similar white-collar theft happens all the time. I would wager that we could rein in the debt to a manageable level simply by proper audits of the fed, the pentagon, and with a focus on white collar crime.
There is so much evidence to support the idea that the government should not be picking winners or losers in business dealings. Safety and fairness should be the focus if anything. A mixture of corporate and state power is called fascism. We must restore our republic to destroy fascism. It appears that the people of Hong Kong may start a domino effect that takes down communism in one of its few remaining strongholds. We live in truly amazing times.
As for the local front, the city and state has been atrocious at simply allowing innovation to compete. We should neither prohibit nor support with tax payer money things like Tesla's business model, access to the cannabis and hemp markets, online poker, online marketplaces like Air BNB, transportation networks like uber or lyft, urban gardens, music venues, sports arenas, safe businesses via outdated or impractical occupational licensing. Reforms and the ending of government interference in these areas could bring fantastic amounts of revenue that many would see as more ethical than an income, sales, or property tax.
In the internet age the public is not going to allow these individuals and companies to get away with unsafe products/services or sub-par output. They will likely fail within a year if they are inferior to their competition or harmful to our citizenry. The city should get out of the way to maximize commerce while reducing the sales tax burden.
In fact, the city can and should take a page from these innovative models and individuals when it comes to city sales and revenue collection. Imagine the air bnb model being tested when it comes to infrastructure, waste management, energy....and so on. Look for yourself at the good paying jobs, revenue, and property enhancements that these models have brought the city. Nicer houses, nicer cars, raised property values and more charitable giving. A minimum wage will never work as originally intended but we can support the companies that are allowing for the highest wages and the companies that offer amazing benefits. Some even have started paying fully for their employees’ insurance. Constructive capitalism is the best path I see to a country where the most people possible have access to more than fair wages and to a safety net. Fascism and communism will continue to fail while causing much suffering and pain.