Thursday March 20, 2014, 7:18 pm
Image of bank logos: gocouponz.com
Military contractors, oil companies and banks are the biggest 'welfare queens' around.
Most of us are aware that the government gives mountains of cash to powerful corporations in the form of tax breaks, grants, loans and subsidies--what some have called "corporate welfare." However, little has been revealed about exactly how much money Washington is forking over to mega businesses.
A new venture called Open the Books, based in Illinois, was founded with a mission to bring transparency to how the federal budget is spent. And what they found is shocking: between 2000 and 2012, the top Fortune 100 companies received $1.2 trillion from the government. That doesn't include all the billions of dollars doled out to housing, auto and banking enterprises in 2008-2009, nor does it include ethanol subsidies to agribusiness or tax breaks for wind turbine makers.
What Open the Book's forthcoming report does reveal is that the most valuable contracts between the government and private firms were for military procrument deals, including Lockheed Martin ($392 billion), General Dynamics ($170 billion), and United Technologies ($73 billion).
After military contractors, $21.8 billion was granted out to corporate recipients in the form of direct subsidies; literally transfers of cash from the pockets of Americans to major corporations. The biggest winners were General Electric (GE) ($380 million), followed by General Motors (GM) ($370 million), Boeing (BA) ($264 million), ADM ($174 million) and United Technologies ($160 million).
$8.5 billion in federally subsidized loans were also doled out to giant oil companies Chevron and Exxon Mobile, and $1 billion went directly to massive agri-business Archer Daniels Midland.
Of course, the banks also got their piece of the pie: $10 billion in federal insurance went to Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, not including any of the 2008 bailout money. Walmart enjoyed its share of federal insurance backing as well.
Thanks to Open the Books, the curtain has been lifted and the whole country can now witness the great suckling of corporate America. As Open the Books founder Adam Andrzejewski put it: "Mitt Romney had it wrong: When it comes to the Fortune 100, it's 99%, not 47%, on some form of the government's gravy train."
By: Aaron Cantu | Truth Out | Alternet | Report |
Aaron Cantú is an independent journalist and an investigator for the Marijuana Arrest Research Project. He is based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter: @aaronmiguel_
Thursday March 20, 2014, 7:46 pm
Remember, this excludes state and local subsidies, use of infrastructure like roads, bridges for transporting goods, education to prepare their workforce, etc.--this is just the federal tax dollars documented to have been transferred thus far.
Are they the Fortune 100 or Fortune 500 because they are most successful at getting the fortunes taken from the poorest 70% of the population?
Thursday March 20, 2014, 10:41 pm
Thanks for the info Kit but I assumed this was an open secret by now, especially with the media coverage on increasing minimum wages. McDonalds, who barely pays their employees a decent living wage but does provide them with a McResource Hotline. Dito Walmart.
Even Senator Bernie Sanders has a petitionsite to end the 10 billion that's awarded each year to the fossil fuel industry alone. (http://other98.com/join-bernie-sanders-kill-big-oils-welfare-check/)
But then, I'm so cynical these days about politicians & their buddy lobbyists for corporations (and Citizen's United makes it even worse) that I wonder who's paying him.
Friday March 21, 2014, 3:02 am
I believe in a strong military today more than ever. If that means military contractors receive tax breaks, grants, loans, etc then that translates into more jobs for Americans. The taxpayers fund nearly $100 billion a year in fraud and abuse in our social programs....totally wasted money going out to people who have misrepresented themselves to bilk the taxpayers. Where is the outrage?
Friday March 21, 2014, 4:41 am
Really Kit, energy subsidies are measures that keep prices for consumers below market levels that reduce costs for consumers. And while many will think of these subsidies as direct cash transfers to producers, many are aimed at consumers. Those to the producers are normally composed of things such as tax exemptions, price controls, trade restrictions, and limits on market access. And they also include energy conservation subsidies. it even includes the cost of defending shipping lanes!
Thanks to federal protection of the domestic sugar industry, ethanol subsidies, subsidized grain exports, and various other programs and I would have to say nothing symbolizes Archer Daniels Midland political exploitation of Americans better than ethanol - but most people support that. And don't forget $370 million to General Motors (GM).
Friday March 21, 2014, 5:23 am
So really these subsidies amount to a thriving form of socialism. If an industry is paid a subsidy with the concept in mind of providing consumers with lower prices then why not demand in return for the taxpayer money given to the corporations, a limit on profits earned or on the monies paid to CEOs and directors. Profits are expanding and exponential rates while jobs continue to disappear and wage gaps between employees and CEOs continue to widen. Something really wrong with the dynamics at work here. Thanks for the story kit.
Friday March 21, 2014, 6:20 am
The cost of doing business in the USA is in the top 5 in the world. If we, as a country, are concerned about job growth then why would we shoot these companies in the foot? Taxpayers throw billions to fraud and abuse and don't blink an eye but when it comes to corporations and small businesses and taxpayer funded subsidies the liberals blow a gasket. We've lost companies to other countries because their cost to produce a product make them more profitable. Do we want to keep feeding that trend or do we want to keep our jobs on American soil?
Friday March 21, 2014, 8:42 am
"Of course, the banks also got their piece of the pie: $10 billion in federal insurance went to Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, not including any of the 2008 bailout money. Walmart enjoyed its share of federal insurance backing as well. "
Of course, and meanwhile look at what has happened to our banks. Interst of less than 1%. Remember when it used to be 5.25% on savings?
Friday March 21, 2014, 8:44 am
FactCheck: US ranks among the BEST not worst in the cost of doing business.
"WHO NARROWED THE
REGULATORY GAP IN 2011/12?
ected in the ranking on the ease of
doing business, the 10 economies with
the most business-friendly regulation are
Singapore; Hong Kong SAR, China; New
Zealand; the United States; Denmark;
Norway; the United Kingdom; the
Republic of Korea; Georgia; and Australia
(table 1.1). Singapore tops the global rank-
ing for the seventh consecutive year. "
Friday March 21, 2014, 8:45 am
ANd we hear the argument about jobs. that labor costs are too high. Can't afford to pay more, can't afford insurance. That is a giant scam. Just look at Kit's other article.
Friday March 21, 2014, 11:21 am
The majority of Americans are in a deep slumber and only will awaken when there is a severe crisis that is brought to their attention by the major media outlets. Ignorance is bliss!
Friday March 21, 2014, 4:29 pm
I find it appalling that the government has take it upon themselves to take away people's only source of buying food and laying their bills, when these companies enjoy such largess at the expense of the American taxpayer! Some even get a tax RETURN instead of paying taxes.
The poor in this country will only get poorer while the rich get richer and richer! It's abominable that the people that can afford it most are the ones that get the biggest tax breaks!
Let freedom ring! Hmmmm.
Saturday March 22, 2014, 12:03 am
Thanks for the link to the petition, JL A! I wonder what Boeing CEO W. James McNerney does to earn his $27 million per year salary. I think we have a right to know because as taxpayers, we subsidize his outrageous salary while Boeing, unlike the rest of us, has mastered the art of tax evasion.
According to Citizens for Tax Justice:
"On November 12th, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the largest state business tax break package in history for Boeing. The new law will give Boeing and its suppliers an estimated $8.7 billion in tax breaks between now and 2040. Even before this giant new subsidy, Boeing has already been staggeringly successful in avoiding state taxes. Over the past decade, Boeing has managed to avoid paying even a dime of state income taxes nationwide on $35 billion in pretax U.S. profits.
Nationwide, Boeing reported $96 million in net state income tax rebates over the 2003-2012 period. 
Boeing also has aggressively pursued sales and property tax breaks in states around the country. It employs an army of site location and tax consultants, whose job has been to blackmail states into giving Boeing lavish tax breaks.
Things are not any better at the federal level. From 2003 to 2012, Boeing received $1.8 billion in federal income tax rebates on its $35 billion in U.S. profits.
Perhaps Washington State’s new $8.7 billion tax subsidy will be a wake-up call to state lawmakers about how damaging their competition with other states has become and that they need to reject the policy of creating special corporate subsidies."
This is one of many companies that actually deserves to be "shot in the foot." It never ceases to amaze me that some individuals think that CEO's from companies like Boeing actually deserve their outrageous salaries and that their highly-profitable companies deserve to receive unneeded and undeserved tax breaks and subsidies on the taxpayer's dime while accusing the working poor, the elderly, the homeless, the sick or anyone who needs some form of public assistance to be a leech on society. What are we to do with citizens who can't make a go of it? Let them starve to death? Die from the elements? Go without medical care? And what about their children? Shouldn't we be concerned about their welfare? Not everyone who experiences hard times is lazy or dishonest., as some would have us believe. And what kind of people would we be if we preferred to let our tax dollars be spent on the W. James McNerney's of this world and not the people who really need them just to stay alive. As a woman, a mother, and a grandmother, I'll never understand how anyone can turn their backs on the unfortunate while kissing up to the real takers --the powerful corporations whose greed is dividing this country.
Saturday March 22, 2014, 6:34 am
Boeing decided to go into South Carolina and can you imagine the hundreds of jobs they brought with them? As a state desperate for jobs, as a governor, I would be offering Boeing all sorts of incentives to build their plant there. People who are working are providing for themselves and their families. They are also paying taxes. Looks like a win/win situation from where I sit.
Saturday March 22, 2014, 7:55 am
What Boeing may be bringing South Carolina is toxic waste:
Yes, a loss for Washington state, but if South Carolina wants that toxic waste they will get that and more. Not as many jobs as expected, but toxic waste in unlimited amounts. It's very sad that people can not or will not think beyond the superficial to see the dangers lying ahead.
It seems we are still waiting for any of these companies to clean up their mess. Of course, like the Gulf of Mexico some waste can not be cleaned up, it will take hundreds of years and, for some toxins thousands of years. Jobs for clean up might come from a government if our government is allowed to function for the people and not just an extension of more corruption by these corporate entities.
Saturday March 22, 2014, 9:10 am
I have to laugh at the misinformed and hypocritical misuse of facts in certain comments. First of all we spend more on the Military than the next 10 countries combined, resulting in the enrichment of arms dealers and the oldboy network while shafting our soldiers by not giving them the SUPPORT (medically, emotionally, and financially) when they come back from the illegal wars we tend to wage. Sorry Diane O., that may create a few jobs but it is bankrupting us and damaging our soldiers and their families.
As for companies like Boeing who get massive monetary incentives to come into a fraudulent "RIGHT to Work" state, THAT'S A JOKE! A fraudluent joke. Boeing and other companies are anti worker, anti benefit, anti union and only come to states like SC because there you can pay the least and give the least to workers while some fat assholes at the top live fraudulent lives of excess wealth. GIVE ME A BREAK!
Here in NC Dell came in and got taxpayer funded breaks to open a plant and provide over one hundred jobs. GUESS WHAT??? They took their money, stayed open a short while and LEFT!!!! No more jobs. NC is also one of those fraudulent "right to work" states. It's a con game! Wake up and smell the coffee!
Saturday March 22, 2014, 9:13 am
Thanks for syaing that Robert. I have been aware of this for some time. In addition, I think of all the resources that go into building also those plants and other building that turn out to be just an out right waste. It's a waste- of time, money, and natural and man-made resources. THAT is another joke. very sad one indeed.
Sunday March 23, 2014, 6:35 pm
Excellent article; thanks, Kit. Hard to add anything to the wonderful comments (mostly). So, since "P.S. Gravemaker" (above) mentioned lobbyists, I will recommend an article in The Nation: "The Shadow Lobbying Complex" (March 10/17, 2014) written by Lee Fang. Very thorough & well written. Sorry I don't have the link.
Friday April 17, 2015, 7:08 pm
I wrote a sci-fi eBook. On an authorâ€™s site I wrote a multiple - choice quiz. The answers were
---- three people have the combined wealth of the forty-eight least developed countries.
----eighty-five people have the combined wealth of one half our planetâ€™s population
----one in seven children in the world go to bed hungry
I made the mistake of comparing the dysfunction of our present to some dystopian novels of some vague future. Speaking of the movie Divergent got me in the most trouble. In that movie people are assigned to factions based on personality traits assigned to them whether they fit, or not.
I started off by reminding people that one of our recent presidential candidates labeled forty-seven percent of the American people as having the personality type of â€śtakers.â€ť I didnâ€™t ask whether he would have characterized the other half as â€śgiversâ€ť or â€śkeepers.â€ť My question was how could it be that a hypothetical dysfunctional society of the future could give more choices for personality types than our present society.
The first thing I heard was, â€śThere is a ninety-nine percent liberal bias.â€ť
When I asked where they got that idea I got no answer. But I think the lack of a need for an answer started in 1978 when the fairness doctrine in broadcasting was killed. Before that the doctrine said that anything over the air needed to be â€śfair, honest, and balanced.â€ť Now right wing radio controls well over ninety percent of airtime. Many people hearing that there is a ninety-nine percent liberal bias repeated over and over and over without ever hearing any counterpoint think that it must be true. You would think that they would notice that that assertion is never treated with doubt, but they donâ€™t. Big Brother would be proud.
George Will wrote in a recent op-ed that income inequality â€śbenefits everybodyâ€ť and many will take what he says as gospel.
For those that think there is a ninety-nine percent liberal bias it is only a one percent leap of faith to think that income inequality is one hundred percent beneficial.
And that one percent is a leap of faith â€“ not fact.
Mr. Willâ€™s op-ed includes the idea that the rich have gotten their wealth from â€śskillâ€ť and it would be best for everyone if they kept it because they could put it to best use. Maybe we should label them â€śskillers.â€ť
He goes on to talk about people in China making two fifty an hour and billionaires, but doesnâ€™t talk about Americaâ€™s middle class that has been a big loser in relative income inequality in recent years at the same time Chinaâ€™s middle class has seen gains.
When I mentioned Chinaâ€™s middle class right away I was attacked for saying America wasnâ€™t â€śgreat.â€ť Of course Americaâ€™s middle class is great and much better off in income and number than Chinaâ€™s. But it is also true Americaâ€™s middle class income has flat lined or gone backwards in recent years while Americaâ€™s top one percent of wage earners have had their incomes increase by leaps and bounds.
Pointing out in the op-ed that advances in science, medicine, and farming is making the world a better place is true enough but that makes the fact that children are still left hungry or starving even less excusable.
Putting in the piece that billionaires come and go and economies ebb and flow is neither clever nor a free-get-out-of-thinking-about-what-is-really-happening-card.
Itâ€™s true enough globalization in the long run might benefit everybody, but how itâ€™s being done in the here-and-now has resulted in a sixty percent increase in wealth for the top one percent of the world at the same time many are struggling to meet expenses, or worse, feed their children.
Maybe Mr. Will really is thinking of some hypothetical future but the way he states it comes out now as â€śDonâ€™t worry. Be Happy.â€ť In earlier times it might have been â€śLet them eat cake.â€ť
Hungry children really canâ€™t eat a trickle down theory. They need those who value people over profit to speak up for them.
Sunday April 19, 2015, 7:38 am
Right-wingers harp about "welfare queens," and the media turns "Octomom" into a circus as if to say "This is what a typical welfare recipient does - have tons of babies at YOUR expense." They ignore the struggling mothers making minimum wage and having to choose between giving their kid(s) maternal attention and paying the bills. What we spend on public assistance is a tiny sliver compared to what we spend on corporate welfare, or what we lose from giving highly profitable businesses big tax breaks. And this is to say nothing of what we spend on "defense."
Friday May 15, 2015, 4:59 pm
This is good to know that Big Business is taken advantage of Welfare and is addicted. The only thing that I have a problem with is that Smaller Business have a hard time getting these same Benefits and I don't think Repayment of Welfare once you start doing better is a Priority... The Real Welfare Kings And Queens...
Sunday May 31, 2015, 2:13 am
Where it all begins. The majority in congress are millionaires and many disregard who they were voted in to support. .
Two examples you might find interesting. Liberal George Soros keeps saying the rich need to be taxed more and sends the right wing into orbit hating him and his number of charities world-wide with a passion.
Conservative Koch brother's hoarders of money are peddling politics through philanthropy -- -their toxic empire distorts science for the sake of profits. Funding the group Americans for Prosperity (group for the already rich) and funding rallies against healthcare reform comparing it to the holocaust.
Saturday July 25, 2015, 8:06 am
How interesting, welfare benefits to the super rich, cuts for the homeless, hungry, needy, height of the true face of Freedom or democracy, perhaps only for the super rich.
Saturday September 26, 2015, 10:27 am
Beyond outrageous. The bank subsidies irritate me beyond words, as does the fraud and waste in military spending. Anyone recall the $600.00 toilet seat? Military spending is a self-corrupting system, an old-boy network that can sell anything to the government, inclusive of planes that don't fly. As to the banks, if instead of bailouts, rewards for egregious misconduct, in 2008, what should have been done is to reduce the size of bank charters. This isn't a new idea; Roosevelt did it 1933 and created FDIC and other regulations subsequently arbitrarily discarded by Reagan in 1981, which led directly to the outright criminal behavior that lead to the crash. There isn't a Republican in Congress who would not benefit from a remedial class in grade school history.