Corporate welfare is something we love to hate. On the political left, economist and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich derides it as "business subsidies that don't make sense." The consumer watchdog group Common Cause estimates that federal subsidies to U. S. businesses amount to more than $150 billion annually in various manifestations, including "direct payments to companies, provision of public goods or services at below-market value, federal purchases of goods or services at above-market value, federal tax breaks, and exemptions from otherwise applicable laws."

Aggressive, highly competitive entrepreneurs and business executives also oppose corporate welfare, which, they say, distorts the marketplace by substituting bureaucrats' amateur judgments for market forces. Worse still, American industry falls victim to the vicious circle created by government taxing and spending to "support" commercial growth. With corporate taxes high, companies lobby for give-backs to remain competitive--leading to higher taxes and a new tax-and-spend cycle.


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