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Thursday, April 2, 2020

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Guess who gets government subsidies?
Sam Manafi
/ Categories: Uncategorized

Guess who gets government subsidies?

 US Government spends billions of dollars each year subsidizing big corporations. These large businesses have plenty of money to pursue their ideas and will do so with or without subsidies. In “Subsidizing the Corporate One Percent,” the author, Philip Mattera, says that 75% of all state economic development subsidies went to just 965 corporations since the beginning of the study in 1976. The Fortune 500 corporations received $63 billion for more than 16,000 subsidy awards. Keep in mind that this amount does not take into account some of the tax breaks and tax loopholes that corporations use to enrich themselves. Business subsidies that we are referring to are the actual government handouts to big companies. The question is: Should we have a more balanced approach and at least divert a larger proportion of the subsidies towards proven sustainable or energy efficiency initiatives (i.e., LED lighting, water purification, soil preservation) or should we continue to feed big businesses with tax dollars that have no known returns. It is much easier to evaluate the return on investment when subsidies go to promising start-ups and small companies. You will see local job growth, interesting and new products and services and increased revenues for local and federal government as a result (By the way, Solyndra is not a good example of a promising start-up!). However, I have not seen even one document that clearly describes the social or financial benefits for the subsidies given to large corporations. Below is a list of some of these subsidies: 

Well known, highly profitable US companies (GE, IBM, Motorola, GM, etc.) are taking subsidy dollars every year. These companies have the expert personnel, government contacts and relationships and well-connected lobbyists to secure large sums of subsidy money year after year. Meanwhile, smaller companies with limited resources and more sustainable and environmentally harmonious ideas can only hope to get the crumbs. No doubt, fortune 500 companies that benefit from these subsidies will fight hard to keep them. All we say is make it fair. Drop the corporate subsidies that can’t prove a compelling economic, social and environmental ROI and balance the proportion of support between big business and small business.

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