Corporations are the real welfare queens, according to a report by The Thom Hartmann Program. Every year, the average American family gives an average of $6,000 to big business corporations in the form of taxpayer subsidies. According to the report,
Republicans on Capitol Hill love to argue that welfare programs are costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year, and that welfare recipients are able to live lavish lifestyles thanks to the government.
But in reality, all of the welfare that the U.S. government provides to real, live human beings is just a drop in the ocean, compared to the billions and billions that the government hands out to corporations and big-business.
The US government spends about $100 billion a year on corporate welfare, according to the Cato Institute, which averages to $870 in direct grants and subsidies to corporations from each US family. This $870 includes fossil fuel subsidies to oil, gas, and coal companies – the same entities that persist in destroying the environment, pushing for limited government and regulations, and manipulating lawmakers to gain more power with less interference.
Other forms of corporate welfare include large retail chains such as Walmart who make massive profits while compensating employees very little in the form of pay or benefits. Though the company makes nearly $35,000 in profit every minute, Walmart employees earn an average wage of $9 per hour. Low wages combined with feeble benefits force many employees to seek government assistance for food, housing, and healthcare costs.
Earlier this month, the airline Boeing received $9 billion in corporate tax breaks because the state of Washington wanted to land the company’s new 777X. Boeing sought the tax benefits as part of a broad contract for a long-term deal to build the 777X in the Puget Sound, the Contributor reports.
According to Common Dreams, “Corporate benefits include items such as Graduated Corporate Income, Inventory Property Sales, Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, Accelerated Depreciation, and Deferred taxes.” With tax avoidance and tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy, the Tax Foundation concluded that “special tax provisions” cost American taxpayers over $100 billion per year.
Yet, conservatives continually push for cuts to governmental assistance programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP). In September, Republicans proposed to cut SNAP funding by $40 billion, doubling the $20.5 billion Republicans proposed in June.
Meanwhile, corporations like big oil companies receive billions in government assistance each year. Oil Change International estimates that Congress provides anywhere between $14 and $52 billion in subsidies to the oil, gas, and coal industries. And it’s no surprise, given the amount of campaign contributions members of Congress receive from the dirty energy industries.
Last week, two Congress members, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced a bill to eliminate tax loopholes and subsidies that support the oil, gas, and coal industries. Sander noted that, “At a time when fossil fuel companies are racking up record profit, it is time to end the absurdity of American taxpayers providing massive subsidies to these hugely profitable fuel corporations.”
The 5 most profitable oil companies – ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips – have collaboratively made more than $1 trillion in profit over the past decade. All 5 are also among the top 20 biggest polluters of the 90 companies responsible for two-thirds of global warming pollution from 1854 to 2010.
“We should invest in the American people by creating good jobs and ending cuts to food assistance instead of throwing tens of billions of taxpayer dollars at one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world,” Ellison added.