Let’s cut off those corporate welfare queens

Think By Numbers says:

There’s so much suffering in the world. It can all get pretty overwhelming sometimes. Consider, for a moment the sorrow in the eyes of a CEO who’s just found out that his end-of-year bonus is only going to be a paltry $2.3 million.

“It felt like a slap in the face. Imagine what it would feel like just before Christmas to find out that you’re going to be forced to scrape by on your standard $8.4 million compensation package alone. Imagine what is was like to have to look into my daughter’s face and tell her that I couldn’t afford to both buy her a dollar sign shaped island and hire someone to chew her food from now on, too. To put her in that situation of having to choose… She’s only a child for God’s sake.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to federal subsidies from taxpayers like you, CEO’s like G. Allen Andreas of Archer Daniels Midland was able to take home almost $14 million in executive compensation last year. But he’s one of the lucky ones. There are still corporations out there that actually have to provide goods and services to their consumers in order to survive. They need your help.

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10 responses to “Let’s cut off those corporate welfare queens

  1. This sure looks attractive and sounds suitably snarky…but consider the source…Chris Edwards and The (libertarian) Cato Institute.
    Edwards is well-known for his determinations to end all social welfare spending…what the libertarians and their cohorts call “entitlements.”

    Is Edwards serious?
    He is about Obamacare. And he’s not alone.

    I…personally…would like to see some verification of his data from outside the libertarian camp before before I start dishing up what’s being served by Sinn and Think By Numbers.

    • Hmmm…more food for thought.

    • If you find some more data, please let me know and I’ll update the post. I spent weeks researching but the government does not make this data easy to come by. With all Obama’s pre-presidential reverence for transparency, he hasn’t made it any easier to get information:
      http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/21/nation/la-na-ticket21-2010mar21

      Despite ideological differences, we should still be grateful to the Cato institute since they’re the only ones (to my knowledge) who’ve actually done the painstaking work of compiling real corporate welfare data. Data can turn mushy complaining into a serious argument for political change.

      • Thanks, Mike.

      • Full disclosure prerequisite, Mike: I’m no fan of Obama. Anybody here that’s read more than one or two of my posts can attest to that.

        So…it’s now Obama’s fault you can’t verify the Cato Institutes data? Why wasn’t that part of your post? I thought the article was about corporate welfare, not Obama. (Pssstt! Your ideology is showing.)

        I’m not a professional like you (?) but it would seem to me that a prestigious institution like Cato would supply some information on just where they obtained the data, making verification possible to include in any reference or analysis.
        And…again…not a professional…but it seems to me that information on the use of taxpayer funds for grants and such would not require an FOIA process. It hasn’t anything to do with national security or anything else the government would want to keep secret. Again…if Cato/Edwards needed FOIA process to obtain the data, I would think that would be included in your article. Every article I’ve ever read that employed data obtained through FOIA process has mentioned it.

        Mike, I’m not the professional here. I’m not the one employing data from a questionable source that is well known for skewing analyses to fit an ideological agenda. It’s not my responsibility to verify the veracity of your sources.
        All I’m saying is the source of your data needs to be questioned. I do that a lot. So don’t feel so all alone.
        If you can’t or refuse to verify the source of Cato’s data…so be it. I’m not surprised. But if you want me to verify it for you, it’s going to cost you. I need the work. I ain’t cheap. So bring your checkbook.

        • Thanks for replying! I’m not really a professional. I’m really just a chemist by day.

          It’s just massively difficult and time-consuming compile data like that. I guess that’s why I wasn’t able to find hard numbers from any other source. The government doesn’t make that info available in an accessible form. That just inspired me to complain about lack of government transparency more generally.

          Here’s Chris Edwards’ sources:
          Source: Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government (Washington: Government
          Publishing Office), various years; and data from the American Association for the Advancement of Science R&D
          Budget and Policy Program, various years.

          Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, http://www.ers.usda.gov/data.

          Source: Author’s calculations based on data from the ATP Funded Projects Database, http://jazz.nist.gov/atpcf/prj
          briefs/listmaker.cfm.
          Note: Grants to subsidiaries of each company are included in the aggregate dollar amount of the parent company.
          An ATP grant is counted in this table only if the Fortune 500 company is the lead grant recipient.

          Source: Author’s calculations based on data from Export-Import Bank, 2006 Annual Report (Washington:
          Export-Import Bank, 2007).

          Thanks for you interest!

          • Well thanks for listing those resources. Have you checked them? Did Edwards accurately reflect the data found there? Was his analysis complete? Will you update your article with links to the sources you mention here? (Links are nice.) This whole “citizen journalist” thing can get so tedious sometimes, I know. But if you’re going to put your name on something in the public recotd…and purport to be some kind of “reporter” or quasi-journalist or “analyst”…it’s going to take more than a few point-and-click cut-and-paste exercises to gain any real respect from anyone seriously interested in your ideology. You wouldn’t want me purporting to know about chemistry without being able to even locate a periodic table, would you?
            Talking points are just…well…talking points. Making a difference requires credibility. That demands work…effort…and a commitment to some sort of integrity…ethics…conduct.

            I think a real journalist might agree…maybe…

            Thank Susan for the interest. She posted your article.
            I consider the whole libertarian/social darwinist thing…well…boring. It’s like soft core porn…titillating.., but never really satisfying.

            • Thank you for the criticism. However, I’m not really purporting to be anything. I don’t care about libertarian ideology or whatever. The only ideology I subscribe to is utilitarian. I think that voters basing their political decisions based on statistics instead of emotion will facilitate the minimization of suffering in the world. If my views are sometimes aligned with that of libertarian dogma, it’s because history suggests that concentration of power in the hands of a few is more likely to lead to war, oppression, and suffering generally.

              I already had hyperlinks to my sources in my post. My sources cite the OMB. You just have to click on the hyperlinks and read the words.

              I did originally spend a few weeks trying to go through the budget and compile the data by myself, but I just don’t have the time or resources. It’s hundreds of pages long and there’s very little indication of what’s a subsidy to business and what isn’t. So you’d have to do full time research for months to do a real tally.

              Here’s this year’s budget: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/budget.pdf

              This leaves one with the option of doing nothing to try to educate a woefully ignorant citizenry (myself included) or citing the work of think tanks that have already compiled data. I just think that using the best data we have is better than total ignorance.

              To minimize the risk for error inherent my policy, I just cite any and all statistics I can find. That’s why I welcome any contradictory statistics you can provide.

              Of the many, many negative comments I’ve gotten on my site, no one has ever provided me with contradictory data. It’s usually just emotion-based criticism. If anyone ever does provide contrary information, I will immediately add it or correct any statistical inaccuracies detected.

              Do you have a website?

              Thanks for your site, Susan!

  2. Know what we all should do? We should learn from the Republicans and their PR firms about the power of language and wording. We should start labeling all forms of corporate welfare “entitlements.”

    That would include all forms of government support of business now called “subsidies,” “price supports,” “research grants,” “tax credits,” “depletion allowances,” etc. All of them should be called “entitlements.”

    The Republicans have done that with Social Security and Medicare, labeling them as “entitlements.” Funny thing though, but the last time I checked we all paid special taxes out of our earned income [salaries, wages, what you get paid for WORK) to support Social Security and Medicare.

    What taxes do businesses pay go support THEIR entitlements? Huh?

    If the Tea Party wants to take back the country from those who are stealing it, I’d be with them 100%. If they had a clue who was stealing it, that is.

    • Cynical Susan

      “If the Tea Party wants to take back the country from those who are stealing it, I’d be with them 100%. If they had a clue who was stealing it, that is.”

      Yep, voting against their best interests is the way it’s best-phrased, I think. And “we” can call those subsidies etc. anything we want to, it’s gotta get picked up by congress-persons and the press to make any dents. I think.

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