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Ten Examples of Welfare for Corporations and the Ultra-Rich - Moyers and Company

Business  (tags: abuse, americans, business, consumers, corporate, cover-up, corruption, dishonesty, economy, ethics, finance, government, labor, law, lies, money, politics, society, wealth )

- 1581 days ago -
There are thousands of tax breaks and subsidies for the rich and corporations provided by federal, state and local governments, but these 10 will give a taste.

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Kit B (276)
Friday January 24, 2014, 8:15 am
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

There are thousands of tax breaks and subsidies for the rich and corporations provided by federal, state and local governments, but these 10 will give a taste.

1. State and local subsidies to corporations: An excellent New York Times study by Louise Story calculated that state and local government provide at least $80 billion in subsidies to corporations. Over 48 big corporations received over $100 million each. GM was the biggest, at a total of $1.7 billion extracted from 16 different states, but Shell, Ford and Chrysler all received over $1 billion each. Amazon, Microsoft, Prudential, Boeing and casino companies in Colorado and New Jersey received well over $200 million each.

2. Direct federal subsidies to corporations: The Cato Institute estimates that federal subsidies to corporations cost taxpayers almost $100 billion every year.

3. Federal tax breaks for corporations: The tax code gives corporations special tax breaks that have reduced what is supposed to be a 35-percent tax rate to an actual tax rate of 13 percent, saving these corporations an additional $200 billion annually, according to the US Government Accountability Office.

4. Federal tax breaks for wealthy hedge fund managers: Special tax breaks for hedge fund managers allow them to pay only a 15-percent rate while the people they earned the money for usually pay a 35-percent rate. This is the break where the multimillionaire manager pays less of a percentage in taxes than her secretary. The National Priorities Project estimates this costs taxpayers $83 billion annually, and 68 percent of those who receive this special tax break earn more than $462,500 per year (the top 1 percent of earners).

5. Subsidies to the fast food industry: Research by the University of Illinois and UC Berkeley documents that taxpayers pay about $243 billion each year in indirect subsidies to the fast food industry because they pay wages so low that taxpayers must put up $243 billion to pay for public benefits for their workers.

6. Mortgage deduction: The home mortgage deduction, which costs taxpayers $70 billion per year, is a huge subsidy to the real estate, banking and construction industries. The Center of Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that 77 percent of the benefit goes to homeowners with incomes over $100,000 per year.

7. The billions above do not even count the government bailout of Wall Street, while all parties have done their utmost to tell the public that they did not need it, that they paid it back or that it was a great investment. The Atlantic Monthly estimates that $7.6 trillion was made available by the Federal Reserve to banks, financial firms and investors. The Cato Institute estimates (using government figures) the final costs at $32 to $68 billion, not including the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which alone cost more than $180 billion.

8. Each major piece of legislation contains new welfare for the rich and corporations. The Boston Globe analyzed the emergency tax legislation passed by Congress in early 2013 and found it contained 43 business and energy tax breaks, together worth $67 billion.

9. Huge corporations that engage in criminal or other wrongful activities protect their leaders from being prosecuted by paying huge fees or fines to the government. You and I would be prosecuted. These corporations protect their bosses by paying off the government. For example, Reuters reported that JPMorgan Chase, which made a preliminary $13-billion mortgage settlement with the US government, is allowed to write off a majority of the deal as tax deductible, saving the corporation $4 billion.

10. There are thousands of smaller special breaks for corporations and businesses out there. There is a special subsidy for corporate jets, which cost taxpayers $3 billion a year. The tax deduction for second homes costs $8 billion a year. Fifty billionaires received taxpayer-funded farm subsidies in the past 20 years.

If you want to look at the welfare for the rich and corporations, start with the federal Internal Revenue Code. That is the King James Bible of welfare for the rich and corporations. Special breaks in the tax code are the reason that there are thousands of lobbyists in the halls of Congress, hundreds of lobbyists around each state legislature and tens of thousands of tax lawyers all over the country.

By: Bill Quigley | Huffington Post | Bill Moyers and Company |

Bill Quigley is a law professor and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans.

****This post first appeared on The Huffington Post.

Brad H (21)
Friday January 24, 2014, 9:11 am

Sue H (7)
Friday January 24, 2014, 10:00 am
Truly disheartening.

Kamia T (89)
Friday January 24, 2014, 10:59 am
I watched the states of Idaho and Washington bid huge tax subsidies to get corporations to move from one to the other in the quest for jobs & tax income. There's some reasonableness in doing so, if the income earned is more than it costs the taxpayers. But allowing businesses to WRITE OFF the fines for criminal act settlements, and the illegal lobbying efforts, as well as having to fund millions of employees with welfare, etc. while the business makes a profit by not paying them is just egregious!

Bonnie Tar (0)
Friday January 24, 2014, 11:20 am
my roomate's step-aunt makes $69 /hour on the internet . She has been without work for five months but last month her pay was $20637 just working on the internet for a few hours. you could look here.......


Mike M (40)
Friday January 24, 2014, 12:09 pm
It boils down to suppression of the masses by government and elites

JL A (281)
Friday January 24, 2014, 12:22 pm
spam flagged

I know in my neck of the woods the companies that were enticed by such breaks to locate in the area left before the local communities hit the break even point in the deals.

Barbara K (60)
Friday January 24, 2014, 2:11 pm
Think how many people could be fed and housed with the money that is going to make the fat cats richer. It is totally disgusting. They already make Billions and they certainly don't need our money.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Friday January 24, 2014, 7:32 pm
I flagged the scam.

Thank you for sharing this article! It makes my blood boil to think that our lawmakers cut Food Stamps from the hungry while giving welfare from our tax dollars to corporations and the ultra-rich.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Friday January 24, 2014, 7:33 pm
I posted and tweeted it in an effort to spread the information around.

Susanne R (235)
Friday January 24, 2014, 9:47 pm
And the GOP has the nerve to refer to families who need temporary assistance from the SNAP program or an extension of unemployment benefits as "losers" or "takers"! Personally, I see the examples of corporate welfare described above as greed and thievery. These corporation don't need the money because they don't hire more people and, in many cases, don't pay their employees a living wage or provide them with health benefits or a defined pension. They take all they can grab, but they give nothing back. And the people affected by their actions --those who can't find jobs and employees who don't earn a living wage-- are looked down upon as "lazy" or "greedy." The hypocrisy is outrageous to people with a conscience, but simply "business as usual" for the GOP.

Athena F (131)
Saturday January 25, 2014, 1:35 am
The evils of greed grow. Thank you for educating about this issue.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday January 26, 2014, 6:05 pm
Noted. As Susanne R. mentioned above, it's really "corporate welfare" that's killing the rest of us, and it just makes me sick the way 99% of us are "attacked" and made to think we are "losers." The arguments presented by the so-called "job-makers" are totally false. They are afflicted with the "greed disease."
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