Post-September 11 Corporate Stance

The following article from OneWorld.net appeared in Yahoo World News, on November 6, 2001, and has been reposted here. It is an article looking at corportations using the war on terrorism to push for various benefits. You can see the original article at http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/oneworld/20011106/wl/groups_protest_post-september_11_corporate_stance_1.html

Groups Protest Post-September 11 Corporate Stance
Tuesday November 06
By Jim Lobe, OneWorld US

Big corporations are using the "war against terrorism" to push billions of dollars in tax breaks and other benefits through the United States Congress, according to a growing number of civic, environmental and consumer groups.

In addition to a US$15 billion bailout of the airline industry and a pending "economic stimulus" bill that would cost the U.S. Treasury more than US$200 billion over the next three years, Congress has approved a major increase in the defense budget and is being pushed hard to adopt an energy program that threatens sensitive ecosystems and would expand nuclear power, the groups say.

"For corporations to loot the U.S. Treasury and prey on the environment while wrapping themselves in the flag is an act of sheer treachery, one Americans will not soon forget," declared John Passacantando, director of Greenpeace USA, at a press conference in Washington D.C. Monday.

"Under the guise of 'national security,' our federal treasury is being raided," added Ralph Nader (news - web sites), the Green Party's candidate in last year's presidential campaign and founder of a new citizens' group, Citizen Works. "Our democratic rights are being taken away while Congress feeds sympathetic campaign contributors at taxpayer expense, sends working people to fight, and leaves the unemployed, the disenfranchised, and American families to suffer."

Half a dozen groups, including Citizen Works and Greenpeace, have released a "Citizen Coalition Statement" about what they called "shameful profiteering and opportunism" by corporations in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon (news - web sites).

They charged that the administration of President George W. Bush (news - web sites) and legions of corporate lobbyists are capitalizing on the fear and patriotic fervor unleashed by the attacks and the anthrax scare that followed by pushing through radical legislation that will do little or nothing to protect either the national security or the economic security of the country's middle- and low-income citizens.

At the same time as airlines are getting US$15 billion in federal assistance, the aviation industry is laying off an estimated 150,000 workers without any provision for extended unemployment benefits, retraining, or health insurance.

The House of Representatives late last month passed an "economic stimulus" program consisting mostly of tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy individuals, according to the coalition's statement.

"Regular Americans are being told to go out and spend more to do their part to stimulate the economy [while] big campaign donors...are being told 'the check's in the mail'," said Common Cause, a long-standing national organization for campaign finance reform.

The pharmaceutical industry, which made almost 200 million dollars in political contributions during the last election cycle, has thrived by dealing directly with the administration.

Instead of authorizing manufacturers of generic drugs to produce anthrax-fighting antibiotic Cipro, the administration cut a deal to lower Cipro prices at the supposedly cut-rate price of 95 cents a pill, twice the price the federal government pays for the drug in another program, according to Robert Weissman, co-director of Essential Action, a health group.

"Confronted with the prospect of bioterrorism on a massive scale, the Bush administration and the pharmaceutical industry have colluded to protect patent monopolies rather than the public health," said Weissman.

Similarly, Bush has pushed Congress to quickly approve his energy program which includes controversial provisions for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling and expanding nuclear power despite increased concerns that pipelines in Alaska and nuclear power plants would be particularly vulnerable to terrorist attack.

"The administration and many in Congress are pushing energy legislation that will actually weaken national security," noted Brent Blackwelder, president of the U.S. branch of Friends of the Earth

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  • Posted: Tuesday, November 06, 2001

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