Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another Amway/Blackwater Family Tradition: Sponging off the US Government

Eric Prince Dick Devos os amwaya/quixtar/alticor
I have previously noted that brothers-in-law, Rich DeVos of Amway and Erik Prince, who runs Blackwater USA, have a penchant for high mark-ups of their products and services as well as a dislike for paying their taxes.

Another DeVos/Prince family tradition is living off of the largess provided by the government. It's no secret that being a recipient of corporate welfare is good work if you can find it. Quick aside: David Cay Johnston, author of Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill), recently appeared on Bill Moyer's Journal.

It's well known that Prince makes a lot of his money from no-bid government contracts. What about DeVos and Amway? As the late Molly Ivins reported in 1997, being one of the top contributors to the GOP is not all give and no take: in fact, Amway was able to enjoy a $283 million tax break passed by the then-Republican Congress. More recently, DeVos and his wife received a windfall from the government for land they own. Although they rail against big government, DeVos and Prince like the government big enough for them to enrich billionaires--namely themselves.

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