Facts on Corporate Welfare

by Guest Blogger, 2/25/2002

Average taxpayers pick up an expensive tab for corporate welfare expenditures. Government spending for corporate welfare programs far exceeds government spending for social programs.


  1. Fact: Spending for corporate welfare programs outweighs
    spending for low-income programs by more than three to one: $167
    billion to $51.7 billion (source: Aid for Dependent Corporations,
    from the Corporate Welfare Project and How Much Do We Spend
    on Welfare?, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
    FY 95 figures)
  2. Fact: Total federal spending on a safety net for the
    poor costs the average taxpayer about $400 a year, while spending
    on corporate welfare programs costs the same taxpayer about $1400
    a year. (source: CBO figures)

Corporate welfare programs are protected at the expense
of the poor and powerless. In the last Congress, spending
for the needy absorbed the majority of spending cuts, while corporate
welfare spending was barely touched.


  1. Fact: Over 90% of the budget cuts passed by the last
    Congress cut spending for the poor -- programs that ensure food
    for the needy, housing for the homeless, job training for the
    unemployed, community health care for the sick. (source: Center
    on Budget and Policy Priorities, Bearing Most of the Burden,
    1996).
  2. Fact: Only 3.9% of total federal outlays go to programs
    that solely benefit poor people.

Welfare programs for corporations do not play by the same
rules as welfare for people. Welfare benefits for individuals
and families are limited by strict eligibility requirements and
time limits, while corporations get corporate welfare benefits
regardless of wealth or accountability.


  1. Fact: Individuals and families must demonstrate need
    to receive benefits, while corporations with billions of dollars
    in annual income remain on the federal dole.
  2. Fact: Most social spending is in the form of discretionary
    spending, which is scrutinized in the annual budget negotiating
    process in Congress; most corporate welfare programs are in the
    form of tax expenditures, which go on and on since they are not
    subject to annual review by Congress.