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The Tax Break Industrial Complex

Ralph talks about how ending corporate tax giveaways and enacting a stock transfer tax can help the country recover from the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic with first Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First and then New York State Assemblyman, Phil Steck. Plus, we pay tribute to a number of progressive activists and thinkers we’ve lost recently, including one of our favorite and frequent guests, the Green Cowboy, David Freeman.

Greg LeRoy is the Executive Director of Good Jobs First, a leading watchdog of state and local economic development subsidies. Mr. LeRoy founded Good Jobs First in 1998. This organization created Covid Stimulus Watch, which monitors where CARES Act assistance is going. Mr. LeRoy authored the book “The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation”.

“There’s hundreds of [data centers] around the country. Basically, once they’re built, they’re big rooms full of computer servers. Very very few permanent jobs… Maybe three quarters of their operating budget is electricity. They use about 2% of all the electricity in the United States. And yet states are enacting subsidies to not tax their utilities to give them big tax breaks. It’s a very profitable part of [Amazon]. Why should we pay them to do this?”

Greg LeRoy, Director of Good Jobs First

Phil Steck is a democratic member of the New York State Assembly. Since graduating from law school Mr. Steck has focused on civil rights and employment law in order to make sure big business and special interests couldn’t take away working people’s rights.  His main legislative interests include single-payer health insurance, rebuilding Upstate New York infrastructure and increasing funding for public education.

“The way I like to say it, because I’m an ordinary middle class guy. Like most Americans who are fortunate to have decent jobs I have a 401(k) plan. I buy about 20,000 dollars of shares a year in my 401(k) plan. And my tax would be $50. Meanwhile I’m paying all kinds of asset management fees, brokerage fees, financial advisor fees, and those fees which make the industry as wealthy as it is. The stock transfer tax pales in comparison to the fees collected by the industry.”

Phil Steck, member of the New York State Assembly

“I can’t believe this one is going to be anything other than a winner in the next few months. ‘Cause when these budget cuts hit home in New York State, upstate, downstate, Long Island, New York City, there’s gonna be an uproar. The moment they hear about 16 billion dollars being rebated back to the fat cats of Wall Street, who are not being asked to sacrifice anything compared to the frontline workers; the healthcare workers, the grocery workers, the sanitation workers, the public transit workers, who are risking their health and safety, I think the polls are gonna come in over 90%. “

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 324 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    In my experience Indivisible has been little more than a Democratic Party front. I actually put together non-partisan citizens’ town hall meetings in my area of elected Republican officials on Ralph’s advice and any time Indivisible people were involved in these meetings it gave those office holders an excuse to tar the meetings as nothing more than an Democratic Party operation. Indivisible is too partisan to serve the function of holding elected officials accountable to broad citizen demands.

    • Rod Silvers says:

      Well in my experience, Indivisible has been targeting the right issues and people time and time again. I think they’re great and hope more people will get involved with them.

  2. Mark Hughes says:

    My condolences on the loss of Mr. Freeman. I didn’t know he was 94, he certainly didn’t sound like it in the interviews here. Still sounded like he had tons of energy and go-getem still in the tank. Indeed his views on climate were different than what we hear today. I’m certainly glad I had the opportunity to hear him and his historical perspective to weigh today’s narrative against.

  3. Dale West says:

    As Phil Steck stated, relentless corporate propaganda (Milton Friedman economics) for 40 years has been ingrained in the baby boomer generation. This is not just an American fallacy but a pan global myth that was widely embraced by other leaders like Thatcher, Kohl, Mitterrand & Mulroney. Trickle down (Chicago School of Economics) theory has led to the corporatization of governments all over the globe and across multiple generations.

  4. Mr. Ralph Nader why do you suppose even Progressive media ignores the huge subsidies for American factories in all these slave labor countries? I’m talking about the American taxpayers are subsidizing all of the shipping costs for goods coming from Communist China and all the other slave labor countries on all goods under six pounds.
    I sell, or try to sell my own graphic T-shirts and I can’t compete with my corporate Socialist competitors that don’t have to pay shipping costs from surf labor countries.
    I noticed that Forbes is one of the few financial magazines that speak truth about matters like this

  5. Gabe says:

    Another show with some fantastic information and resources, thank you guys. I really don’t know where else one would find this kind of reporting without really digging for it or being in the network. The media, which of course largely operates on public airwaves, really needs to do a better job of reporting on issues in the public interest and public good. I recently found an article chronicling the woes of an inland port recently built in Elwood, IL:
    I presently have the dubious distinction of residing in Utah, where they are trying the same thing, under, according to my understanding, an even more “interesting” scheme.

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