How can it be that the richest nation in the history of the Earth has a deficit crisis? In “The Story of Broke,” Annie Leonard, the maker of the viral video “The Story of Stuff” explains that the taxes we pay to “invest in a better future” are instead diverted to “corporate tax loopholes and unprecedented tax breaks for the richest 1 percent,” and to pay for wars and the “dinosaur economy“:
Then hundreds of billions more go to propping up the dinosaur economy. You know, the obsolete system we talked about in The Story of Stuff — the one that produces more pollution, greenhouse gases and garbage than any other on Earth — and doesn’t even make us happy. In so many ways, it’s just not working, but we’re keeping it in on life support instead of building something better. A lot of that life support comes in the form of subsidies. A subsidy is a giveaway that gives some companies a lift over others. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — we should help companies that are building a better future. The problem is the government keeps lifting up companies that are actually dragging us down. Everywhere you look along the dinosaur economy, you’ll find these subsidies.
“So next time you have an idea for a better future and someone tells you, ‘that’s nice, but there’s no money for that,’ you tell them we’re not broke,” Leonard concludes. “There is money, it’s ours, and it’s time to invest it right.”