From the ProPublica story, The Rise of Corporate Impunity,
“[Eric] Holder, who is now the U.S. attorney general, seemed to lament the position government enforcers had found themselves in. ‘I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them… If we do bring a criminal charge — it will have a negative impact on the …economy.”
This is an underlying cause for governments and senior civil servants turning blind eyes to economic wrongdoing. It also explains willingness to allow large corporations to exploit public resources with little return to the public.
Apart from favours and rewards owed to resource companies for funding the BC Liberal Party, political leaders are reluctant to make moves that might seem to inhibits the provincial economy. Arguing for their own interests, resource companies declare that taxation, regulation and oversight is restraint. As Enbridge is now proving, coroporations will apply heavy financial muscle and blanket the information marketplace with spin that deflects criticism or damages antagonists.
This was done in recent years to punish the NDP for efforts to tax and regulate natural resource producers. Comparing 2000 to 2010, the value of commodities produced in BC was 13.4% higher in the final year of BCNDP administration than ten years later, according to an inflation adjusted report from BC Stats.
The common assumption of BC voters is opposite, the result of a well executed campaign to advance industrial interests ahead of common good. Just as the international banking industry avoided prosecution for massive fraud, large industries create immunity from rules applied elsewhere in our society.
If you evade taxes, you’ll end up in jail. If you don’t pay your taxes, you’ll have your assets seized. If multinational corporations evade or avoid taxes, they’ll earn higher profits and pay bonuses to their executives. Politiians congratulate themselves for astute managment of the economy and Liberals have done that incessantly, assisted by loyalists in the BC Legislative Press Gallery who reading government talking points, not reports from BC Stats.
Categories: Natural Resources