The Kings of Corporate Welfare

Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)February 5, 2013

The U.S Government and Corporations have teamed up to pick the pockets of U.S. Taxpayers.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats talk about the real welfare cheats: Corporate America, which profits from a little-talked-about, but extremely lucrative array of subsidies, tax breaks and other government handouts.

Big business even managed to come out ahead in the fiscal cliff deal, when the Obama administration worked with Congress to preserve more than $200 billion in so-called "tax extenders" for businesses of all kinds. And that's on top of a system in which some of the biggest corporations in the U.S.--the real takers--pay no taxes while making record profits, thanks to ruthlessly exploiting their workers, while raking in big money in subsidies.

Perhaps the most outrageous of the government subsidies is the vast amount of public money--tens of billions of dollars from the federal government alone--handed to the oil and gas industry.

The costs associated with climate change aren't borne by the oil and gas industry, but by ordinary people.

Beyond the government subsidies, the infrastructure of the U.S. is designed to force people to rely on fossil fuel-burning automobiles for transportation, guaranteeing the industry a massive market for their product. Yet instead of using tax revenue to build reliable, affordable green public transportation systems, these systems are starved of resources by budget cuts, forcing fares to increase and service to be cut--while billions of dollars continue to flow into the pockets of the oil and gas giants.

Another major recipient of subsidies puts our health and safety at even greater risk: nuclear power. This industry literally wouldn't exist if not for government largesse.

For one thing, the cost of the devastation caused by accidents at nuclear power plants is so great that purchasing private insurance would be prohibitively expensive. Instead, the nuclear industry is only responsible for the first $12.6 billion in damages in the case of a disaster. Taxpayers are on the hook for the rest--and the costs of a nuclear meltdown at a U.S. plant have been estimated at $720 billion in today's dollars. Of course, much of the damage to life, health and the environment from such a disaster would be irreversible.

Rather than subsidizing healthy foods, a much larger share of federal handouts go to commodities that are used to produce junk food. U.S. PIRG found that "only one of the top 20 federal [agricultural] subsidy programs directly supports a fresh fruit or vegetable: apples."

But the subsidies for agribusiness seem almost humane when contrasted to the vast sums of government money given away to the arms industry.

In 2010, world military spending was $1.63 trillion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, with the U.S. accounting for over 40 percent of the world's total. And a lot of this spending came in the form of government money given to private companies that produce weapons, airplanes, drones, trucks, personnel (mercenaries) and military equipment and related services.

Of the top 10 recipients of federal government contracts in 2011, all were corporations in the "defense" industry. The top 10 alone received nearly $150 billion in 2011. Lockheed Martin, the top recipient of federal contracts, received over $42 billion in 2011, which accounted for more than three-fourths of its revenue.

And while politicians today, especially Democrats, talk about gun control, governments are subsidizing corporations that produce the same type of weapons being used in the mass shootings that led to demands for gun control. For example, New York state has subsidized Remington Arms to the tune of $5.5 million since 2007, supporting the production of semiautomatic rifles that are illegal in the state.

There's more if you wish to continue.

Feeling betrayed yet?

Here is a link that might be useful: Welfare Cheats Assisted by U.S. Government

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marquest(z5 PA)

We have discussed this many times. The single mom and her child receiving food stamps, a senior receiving meals on wheels, the veteran returning from serving his country is not the problem and should not be targeted for cuts. They are 12% of the budget for entitlements. But they are the ones that are vilified as draining the tax dollars.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:11AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

True. But weren't we promised a change in Washington?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Circus Peanut

We are always promised change in Washington. Real change has to begin with us, I fear.

I have always assumed that the reason the federal gov't won't touch these handouts is the tacit understanding that our military-industrial complex has become a (if not THE) major source of employment in many regions, even many states. To make these cuts would drastically increase unemployment in this country, a move no politician wants to make.

It's what burns me most about the Republican opposition to Democrat stimulus packages -- all the while ardently supporting the vastly larger federal stimulants this nation provides. Year after year.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:36AM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

Do tell us how you would change human nature.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

I've learned one thing these past four years. When you bring up change here at HT, some folks get defensive.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:23AM
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esh_ga

when the Obama administration worked with Congress to preserve more than $200 billion in so-called "tax extenders" for businesses of all kinds.

But, but, but ... they can't create jobs if they don't get these breaks! That's what people keep telling us.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:25AM
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grapeleaves

Doesn't seem defensive to me Brush.
I see it as realistic.
You post things like this or things about our military adventurism frequently, however if you've ever posted what you would do about everything you're so critical about, I guess I've missed it.
What is your solution?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:30AM
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jodik_gw

What Marquest said.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:42AM
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chase_gw

You get more of what you subsidize......

It will be interesting to see if there are any changes to this government spending should sequestration kick in......or will things like education, transportation , infrastructure and vetran's benefits take the hits?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:54AM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

I've learned one thing these past four years. When you bring up change here at HT, some folks get defensive.

I know, right? You ask them for an example and they change the subject and blame you for making them change the subject!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11one!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:16AM
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mylab123(z5NW)

Its a good topic Brushworks, but Chloe made an obvious point.

Chloe! STAY! :)

Like Jodi, I also thought Marquest made an excellent post, reflects my thoughts on the subject.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:03PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

My solution is quite simple. We need more than two political parties to straighten this out.

Chloe. What is your solution? Like what you have and shut up?

Did you vote for status quo last election? Yes or no?

Perhaps your solutions are better than mine, but I haven't heard one from you.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:16PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

My solution is quite simple. We need more than two political parties to straighten this out.

A magical third party will break the hold of big money and MNCs on our political economy?!

Will they give me a pony too? They have my vote if I get a pony!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:20PM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

And what is your solution? Vote the ticket?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:26PM
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mylab123(z5NW)

We have two political parties brushworks.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Ralph Nader wrote a big thick book about how the money men have taken over the government and how the rest of us need to take it back. I haven't read it, don't know what it says about making this happen.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:47PM
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jillinnj

Unfortunately, we often have to vote for the lesser of 2 evils (or don't vote or vote for someone that has no chance). In the last 2 elections, the difference in the degree of evil was vast. Thankfully, the evilest of the evils did not win.

I also agree with marquest's post. The same people continually talk about the ones they've deemed to be lazy and irresponsible, but never address this.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:54PM
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heri_cles

The Faux criticism of President Obama for not foisting change on rabid Obama hating Republicans is laughable. We have seen an unprecedented degree of obstruction and opposition from GOPers in Washington and even a gross lack of respect for this President over the past four years. And now this just continues with birther skeeter gate, an absurd distraction amplified by irresponsible media types like Erin Burnett.

So let's talk about the claim in the article cited. President Obama has voiced opposition to government subsidies for big oil on numerous occasions.
In order to minimize our reliance on burning fossil fuel the President tried to funnel money from the Economic Recovery/Stimulus into the Smart Grid. He also tried to focus money on automobile electric battery R&D, solar and wind energy, all of which would make much more sense if they could be incorporated into a decentralized digital power grid.

And what has been the response from hypocrite Republicans and Obama haters to Obama's efforts? Well as we have seen, as soon as President Blackenstein is in favor of something, even if it was previously supported by the Right (Romney care, universal background checks for gun purchases) that makes it Socialism foisted on them by a tyrannical black man from Kenya by way of Chicago.

There is no hope for change as long as we have blind hatred and obstruction from the Right masquerading as fiscal conservatism. They are indeed the stupid party as well as angry old party, a dieing breed wedded to the status quo and to the conservation of wealth for the wealthy. That is their prerogative but please, no complaints about lack of change from the recalcitrant Right. It's beyond sarcasm - it's a bad joke at this point.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:18PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Criticizing the so-called job creators? That means you're jealous of their success according to HT logic.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:21PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

And what is your solution? Vote the ticket?

Words. Not meant to convey information or ideas.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:36PM
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grapeleaves

Chloe. What is your solution? Like what you have and shut up?

Did you vote for status quo last election? Yes or no?

Perhaps your solutions are better than mine, but I haven't heard one from you.

Brush,I'm not the one posting these sorts of things. You are. A little defensive aren't you?

I get the distinct impression that a lot of your posts have more to do with the fact that there is a Democrat in the WH than what you're actually posting about.

We can have 5 different parties if you want. It will make no difference.
What will make the difference is to get the money out of politics. Fat chance of that happening.

I vote for the lesser of two evils and these days that is Democratic. Don't expect my vote to change in my lifetime.
The Republican party has been taken over by insane people.
Makes no difference in my state. It's RED.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:04PM
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citywoman2012

Let me slide this right into this slot .
Fits perfect.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:17PM
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Factotem

citywoman2012 wrote,

Let me slide this right into this slot .
Fits perfect.

Have you seen "Capitalism: A Love Story" in its entirety?

What's on your list of Republicans intolerances? You seem to have a very deep fear of revealing your true positions. I hope you can find the courage to stand behind your feelings.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:36PM
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jmc01

factotem, Do you mean the " Capitalism, a Love Story" movie that was financed by a subsidiary of Viacom and a division of Liberty Capital? Is that the movie that was distributed by The Weinstein Company, a company that received a huge chunk of funding through the efforts of Goldman Sachs? I just want to be clear on which "Capitalism a Love Story" you are talking about. Can you clarify please?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:19PM
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Factotem

jmc01 wrote,

factotem, Do you mean the " Capitalism, a Love Story" movie that was financed by a subsidiary of Viacom and a division of Liberty Capital? Is that the movie that was distributed by The Weinstein Company, a company that received a huge chunk of funding through the efforts of Goldman Sachs? I just want to be clear on which "Capitalism a Love Story" you are talking about. Can you clarify please?

Are there several movies with that title? I was referring to the one made by Michael Moore, who citywoman2012 was referring to with her post.

citywoman2012, have you seen the movie in its entirety?

What's on your list of Republican intolerances? Please have the courage to post it.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:33PM
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october17(5chgo)

"President Blackenstein"

Love that one heri. Mind if I use it? Did you make it up?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:30PM
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jmc01

I know exactly what movie you're talking about. It's a movie by a capitalist who is slamming capitalism, it's a movie that wouldn't exist without capitalists and capitalism.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:34PM
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Factotem

jmc01 wrote,

I know exactly what movie you're talking about. It's a movie by a capitalist who is slamming capitalism, it's a movie that wouldn't exist without capitalists and capitalism.

Ok, thanks.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:50PM
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heri_cles

octo:
No I heard Maher use it.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:23PM
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labrea_gw

I hate subsidizing more than one mortgage deduction!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:21PM
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