Hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare doled out, and all I got was this stupid shirt.
Yesterday I started looking into bills introduced in the 109th Congress by Michael Castle of Delaware. Bills that benefit a very narrow constitiency. Bills like:H.R.2915 : To suspend temporarily the duty on Brodifacoum Technical. Sponsor: Rep Castle, Michael N. [DE] (introduced 6/15/2005) Cosponsors (None) Committees: House Ways and Means
There were 29 of these things that appeared to be tax breaks for big pharma.
Not being a chemist or an economist, I cross posted at DailyKos and the Kosacks came up huge.
It turns out that the chemicals listed in the 29 bills pushed by Castle benefit the agribusiness units of AstraZeneca, Dupont and Syngenta. They use chemicals such as benzenesulfonamide, brodifacoum, triasulfuron, and many others that are no longer produced in the United States as herbicides and pesticides.
Since these chemicals are not produced in the United State, they have to be imported. Companies that import things frequently have to pay a duty which is a tax on the item being imported. Duties can be set up to protect an industry from low priced imports or they can be revenue sources for the goverment. The duty on these chemicals that Syngeta wanted fell in the revenue generation category. ... they want to get the duty removed "temporarily", and are using the excuse that some multinational has decided to produce the chemicals in Switzerland.
On the other hand, tariffs at these levels are not primarily protective tariffs, they are primarily revenue tariffs (if they were protective tariffs, they would be fairly obvious flops, since there is no domestic production).
There is little rationale for cutting taxes on poisons imported into the US when there is a massive trade and budget deficit, except for the obvious rationale that Sygenta leased the Congressman so they could write these bills so they could on balance save from the reduced tariffs.
The most plausible reason that they are "temporary" rather than permanent would be that Sygenta has only paid enough to lease the Congressman ... buying him outright costs more.This all stands to reason.
As we all know Republicans and large corporations HATE
paying taxes [the fact that we are at war seems to be lost on these guys].
Anyway, Syngenta set about to remedy the duty/tax situation
. (check out the address on the letterhead)
PESTO! Michael Castle introduced 29 bills into the 109th Congress. However, this it is not a simple cash grab.
While Castle is probably not above simple graft, much more is going on. Syngeta took the lead but this is corporate welfare involves a web of companies pushing to make seeds into "intellectual property".
A Delawareliberal anon commenter explains:
AstraZeneca has 50% share in Syngenta.
It's not just about profiting from tax breaks on the sale of the chemicals. The herbicides support sales of the new genetically-modified croplines developed by AstraZeneca and Dupont, among others.
The herbicide is important to Dupont, even if they don't manufacture it themselves, because Dupont is still selling GM seed that is genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides like Triasulfuron.
They spray the whole field and the weeds die, but the Triasulfuron-resistant GM crops survive.
So Dupont, Syngenta, AZ, Castle, etc all want to make sure farmers can buy cheap subsidized Triasulfuron - because that also locks them in to buying the Triasulfuron-resistant seed.
Hell, all the pharma/chem companies have a division playing this game."
Again, no wonder the guy has a million bucks in his campagin going into re-election. He is delvering BIG TIME for the agribusiness interests - and what benefit do we get? .....That's righ, seeds that only work if you apply specific chemicals. SUPER!!! Thanks Mike!
More as this developes.