Corporate Welfare

Repug Bill Passes, Handing $155 Billion to Corporations While Millions of Children Go Uninsured
Corporate Welfare

The Children's Defense Fund condemned the House's passage of the deceitfully named "American Jobs Creation Act of 2004" (H.R. 4520). The bill will dole out $155 billion in corporate welfare to a long list of special interests, incl. tobacco growers, movie studios, bourbon distillers, bank directors, software programmers, tackle box companies, sonar fish finders, and bow- and-arrow makers. Says CDF's Marian Wright Edelman: " For less than the cost of these tax breaks, Congress could have insured every uninsured child in America for the next decade. Instead they have chosen corporate special interests. As FDR warned, 'The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.' By passing this bill today, the House of Representatives clearly failed that test."

Taxpayers Footing Bill to Keep Oil Barons Safe While Millions of Americans Go Unprotected
Corporate Welfare

As any American mayor will tell you - there is not enough Homeland Security money to go around to adequately protect the public. But now CBS's Mika Brzezinski reports: "Precious taxpayer dollars are quietly going to pay for security at some of the richest corporations in the world. Major oil companies have received $65 million to buy cameras, fencing, and communications equipment. Meanwhile, public transit used each day by tens of millions remains woefully unprotected. "That makes no sense to me at all," says Bill Millar of the American Public Transportation Assoc. Danielle Brian of the Project On Government Oversight points out that the oil barons could well afford to pay for their own security: while Citgo made a $439 million profit in a year, it took $19.4 million in government grants.ConocoPhillips earned $4.7 billion in profits but took $10.8 million in taxpayer $. ChevronTexaco netted a whopping $7.2 billion but got over $7.3 million for several facilities."

Senate Passes Bill With Massive Corporate Tax Breaks
Corporate Welfare

Priority Wire: "The Senate passed a massive 900-page corporate tax-giveaway this morning 'that includes some $170 billion in new tax breaks for U.S. businesses over the next decade,' Reuters reports. The nominal function of the bill was to repeal the manufacturing export subsidies that the World Trade Organization said violated international trade rules... But the public trough was opened up to massive US corporations from a wide range of sectors. For example, US multinationals received a tax holiday 'to bring overseas earnings back to the United States at a 5.25 percent tax rate instead of the 35 percent corporate rate.' 14 billion dollars in subsidies were given to Big Energy, including 'tax breaks for every special energy interest in the country including oil, gas, nuclear and utilities.' Also, the bill encourages 'construction of a $20 billion pipeline to carry natural gas from Alaska's North Slope,' the Associated Press reports.

Bush Doles Out $80 Billion in Corporate Welfare, But Leaves Union-Worker Companies Out in Cold
Corporate Welfare

Reuters: "Bush signed into law on Saturday a measure aimed at saving U.S. companies more than $80 billion in pension contributions over two years, days before many firms make quarterly payments." That's $3.5 BILLION per month! Bush is bound to tout this act as a show of his "concern" for US workers. But all this shell out of taxpayer billions does is bail out irresponsible CEOs, giving them the greenlight to continue to play highrollers with employees pension funds. At the same time, the payoff is designed to exclude and therefore punish companies that employ union workers. Gee, maybe if Enron had gotten such a nice fat bailout, its CEOs would never have been caught gambling with employee/stockholder funds.

Dept. of Energy Picks Up Legal Bills for Contractors
Corporate Welfare

AP reports: "The Energy Department spent $330 million in taxpayer money to reimburse its private contractors for legal bills over a 5 1/2-year span, including for lawsuits they lost and settlements of sexual harassment and whistleblower allegations, congressional investigators reported Monday. The department said the reimbursements were legal and that it scrutinizes each legal bill before deciding to pay. But a key congressman said the reimbursements amount to a 'get-out-of-court free' card for contractors who engage in wrongdoing. 'When a contractor for the DOE gets sued, 95 percent of the time its legal fees and settlement costs get reimbursed by the federal government,' said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee... Markey said that underwriting the costs of defending against lawsuits provides little incentive for Energy Department contractors to act within the law."

Bush IRS Says the Great Energy Scam Can Continue
Corporate Welfare

"The Internal Revenue Service announced Wednesday that processes used to turn coal into synthetic fuel - making the fuel-producing companies eligible for a tax credit - were scientifically valid. The announcement ends industry uncertainty that started this summer when the IRS suspended procedures to declare the companies eligible for tax credits. The IRS wanted to make sure that the coal went through the 'substantial chemical changes' necessary to qualify for the tax credits." Yep, really scientifically valid....For spraying coal down with pine resin, diesel fuel, acid or other chemicals (there's no requirement for oversight), the coal companies get a credit of $26 per ton....with normal coal now going for about $24 per ton! This is CRIMINAL!

Bush Endorses One of the Most Unconscionable Energy Rip-Offs in US History!
Corporate Welfare

To collect an "alternative" fuel incentive (synfuel), the coal industry is running a huge scam against the American public. Instead of creating real alternative fuels, the companies simply spray down ordinary coal with pine resin, diesel fuel, acid, latex, and other chemicals. The coal is sold at a premium and the coal barons scoop up $26 per ton in "incentives": regular coal sells for just $21-24 per ton! Incredible! Worse, the diesel, latex and other chemicals on the coal goes right up the smokestack and into the air. One company, Progress, has made $950 million in the past 5 years off this scam! This is the kind of energy plan we're getting, folks! Even after an Oct. 13 expose by Pulitzer Prize winning journalists in Time Magazine, the Bush IRS upheld the scam this week!

Congress Weighs Huge New Corporate Tax Breaks
Corporate Welfare

"Congressional tax writers are rushing to complete legislation that would offer tens of billions of dollars in new U.S. corporate tax breaks, many of them for overseas operations, setting off a lobbying battle between major domestic manufacturers and some of the largest multinational corporations in the world. Driven by a Dec. 31 deadline, lawmakers hope to end a long-standing U.S. export subsidy in time to avert a trade war with the European Union. But several are also seeking to use the repeal of the $5 billion-a-year subsidy as an opportunity to pass new corporate tax cuts worth much more. Most of those would be aimed at earnings from domestic manufacturing, but many new proposals would also shield billions of dollars in earnings from overseas operations... The deadline - coupled with pent-up demand from businesses that felt slighted by the large tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, which were aimed mainly at individuals- has sent corporate tax lobbyists into a frenzy."

US Mega-Corporations Rent US Senators as Travel Guides - Senators Design a Six-Month 'Tax Holiday'
Corporate Welfare

"American corporations that have deferred taxes for years on the profits they made overseas could be in line for a huge windfall from Congress. Hoping to bring more investment to the United States, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would give a one-time tax holiday to companies that have accumulated as much as $400 billion in foreign profits on which they have yet to pay American taxes. American companies can usually defer paying taxes on foreign profits as long as they keep the money outside the United States. Much of that money is reinvested in foreign operations, and some is parked in passive investments. The Senate bill, which is part of a much broader bill to overhaul laws on international corporate taxation, would let companies bring those profits back and pay a tax rate of 5.25 percent."

Corporate Offshore Tax-Dodgers Reap $1B in Federal Contracts
Corporate Welfare

AP reports: "Companies that reduced their US tax bill by incorporating overseas did $1 billion worth of business with the federal government last year, an Associated Press computer analysis of federal contracts showed... The Bermuda-based consulting company Accenture Ltd., a spinoff of the former Big Five accounting firm Arthur Andersen...received $662 million in contracts between Oct. 1, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2002... 'It's outrageous that we would do business with these folks,' said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., who has introduced legislation to continue taxing companies that move their headquarters overseas. 'They are shirking their citizenship'... The Senate twice has passed legislation to prevent the new Homeland Security Department from doing business with companies that relocate overseas, but both times the provision was removed from the final bill by House Republican leaders."

Peabody Coal Company Rumored to Top Cheney's Secret Energy Task Force List
Corporate Welfare

Cheryl Seal reports, "The Peabody Coal Co. and affiliates dumped nearly $1 million into the Idiot Prince's campaign. The reward? Cheney's final energy report, released in May 16 of 2001, just 4 months after the inauguration, called for SCORES of new sulfur-dioxide-belching coal-fired power plants to be built across the nation. There is strong suspicion by many environmentalists and people inside the energy field that the 'rolling blackouts' of the same time were designed to create a crisis that could be used to promote wholesale construction of new coal-fired power plants. It worked. On May 21, 2001, Peabody issued a public stock offering, raising $60 million more than expected. The SAME DAY, Peabody threw a party for Bush to the tune of $25,000. Shortly thereafter, clean air standards for power plant emissions were rolled back - despite Bush's phony campaign promise to restrict power plant emission."

Polish Pride, American Profits
Corporate Welfare

"When Aleksander Kwasniewski, the president of Poland, visits with Bush at the White House on Tuesday, talk will inevitably turn to the F-16 fighter jet. Over the Christmas season, almost unnoticed, Poland announced it was accepting a $3.8 billion loan from Congress, the largest military loan in memory, to buy 48 of those Fighting Falcons." The $3.8 billion loan of OUR tax dollars is being used to buy 48 F-16's from Lockhead Martin rather than one of two European contractors. As taxpayers, we will see little or no return on this expenditure, but it is another prime example of corporate welfare at our expense. In addition, the Rove Selection Team feels this move will shore up the Polish/American voters.

Is the Religious Right Pushing Handouts to Churches to Shore Up Floundering Finances Due to Declining Patronage by Americans?
Corporate Welfare

An examination of several poll results strongly suggests that the big push to hand more federal and state dollars and privileges over to churches amounts to little more than a corporate handout. It has become the American way that any corporation that can't support itself fair and square can be pumped back up at taxpayer expense - and churches are no different. Although church attendance ebbs and flows, church MEMBERSHIP - and thus church revenues - has been declining - not growing - since 1999, and is now at its lowest since 1937.

Finding the Answer to Washington's Hottest Whodunit
Corporate Welfare

Arianna Huffington writes: "Quick, somebody call Sherlock Holmes. Or at least the Hardy Boys. Or maybe even newly-designated Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. There's a Washington mystery that needs solving....(An) outrageous rider stuck onto the end of the Homeland Security bill provides security for Lilly from suits filed by the families of autistic children who believe that their kids' condition is linked to Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative made by Lilly that used to be a common ingredient in childhood vaccines....It's vital that we solve the mystery -- even if you believe that the custom-made legislation is justified. We need to find out because this kind of behind-closed-doors monkey business is an affront to our democracy -- the very democracy this bill was theoretically designed to protect....This is clearly not a left-right issue. Any politician who has waxed lyrical about 'accountability' and 'transparency'...(must) demand Congress get to the bottom of (it)."

Congress Rewards Corporate Tax Evaders With Mega Tax Dollars
Corporate Welfare

"The IRS estimates that corporate emigres are depriving the U.S. Treasury of around $70 billion a year. Meanwhile, the rest of us are being asked to shovel our dollars into the crater left by Bush's tax policies. Maybe that is what [Bush] had in mind when he talked about sacrificing 'for people we may never have met': digging a little deeper so corporate execs basking in the sun-dappled glow of tax-free profits won't have to. It's bad enough that companies that enjoy all the benefits and protections of operating under the American system are allowed to avoid paying their fair share -- especially when we are told, again and again, that we are at war. But allowing those same companies to suckle at the taxpayer teat -- in the name of keeping our homeland more secure, no less -- is nothing less than scandalous." So writes Arianna Huffington.

Bush's Terrorism Insurance Bill is a Corporate Handout Disguised as 'National Security'
Corporate Welfare

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights condemns Bush's inclusion of a $90-billion-plus handout to the insurance industry under the heading of "national security." The bill requires the federal government to function as the unpaid reinsurer of insurance companies that provide terrorism coverage and overrides any objections states may have - even if they know they are being gouged by insurers. "The bill is part of pattern in which the Bush Administration is using the fear of terrorism to protect corporations at the expense of consumers," said FRCR's Douglas Heller. "Under this pre-emptive bailout, insurance companies keep most of the insurance premium, but avoid most of the risk and the public is left holding the bag." Like all Bush plans.

Bush Expands Export-Import Bank: Puts Your Tax Dollars to Work Exporting Jobs, Importing Competing Products and Subsidizing Corporations
Corporate Welfare

The NY Times reports: "In June, while the public was focused on corporate scandals... Bush quietly signed legislation to double the scope of the [Export-Import] bank's operations and allow it to provide up to $100 billion in international trade assistance at any one time. Even before this increase, Export-Import was already by far the largest federal agency providing international credit aid, outpacing international food and disaster aid programs... The bulk of Export-Import's benefits go to a small number of large companies that are sophisticated enough to get financing on their own: Boeing, Halliburton, General Electric, Northrop Grumman, Lucent Technologies, ChevronTexaco, Caterpillar and Dell Computer, among others... Money has always flowed from the bank to the politically savvy. In its heyday, Enron was one of the bank's biggest beneficiaries, receiving a total of $675 million in aid since 1994."

Bush's Cavorting With Corporate Interests Undermines American Economy
Corporate Welfare

"For all the free-market talk during the campaign, this administration has excelled at forsaking sensible economics in the face of powerful special interests… The farm bill, which… overturned the market-based agricultural reforms that were bravely brought in the 1990s… busts the budget and threatens, by itself, to undermine the prospects for concluding a new global trade round—all in the interests of doling out huge cheques to American agribusiness…. Too often this administration's policy seems to be expressly tailored for (and heavily influenced by) business lobbies. Mr Cheney's much-ballyhooed energy plan… appears to have been largely written by the energy industry… This year's 'economic stimulus package' was less an effective tool of economic policy than a sop to corporate America. Its main provision was a three-year investment-tax break. Even the conservative Weekly Standard called the bill 'a collection of corporate pork, self-serving subsidies and narrowly focused favours.'"

Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): Taxpayers Fund the Ex-Im Bank's 'Corporate Welfare' Plan that Exports Their Jobs
Corporate Welfare

"When the government is under-funding veterans' needs, education, health care, housing...over 80% of the subsidies distributed by the Export-Import Bank goes to Fortune 500 corporations... Companies that receive taxpayer support from the Ex-Im are Enron, Boeing, Halliburton, Mobil Oil, IBM, General Electric, AT&T, Motorola, Lucent Technologies, FedEx, General Motors, Raytheon, and United Technologies...Many...receiving taxpayer support pay exorbitant salaries and benefits to their CEOs...The great irony of Ex-Im policy is...American workers are providing funding to companies that are shutting down the plants in which they work, and are moving them to China, Mexico, Vietnam and wherever...they can find cheap labor... According to Time Magazine, the top five recipients of Ex-Im subsidies over the past decade have reduced their workforce by 38% -- more than a third of a million jobs down the drain. These same five companies have received more than 60% of all Export-Import Bank subsidies."

Corporate Tax Payments Reach an Historic Low in Bush 'Corporate Welfare State'
Corporate Welfare

As you struggle to cough up that cash to cover your tax bill - working overtime, borrowing, or dipping into savings, you'll be so happy to know your hard won dollars are going to a good cause. Yep, after a few stops, your payments are headed straight into the pockets of the wealthiest corporations. "A startling surge in corporate tax welfare is expected to drive corporate income taxes over the next two years down to only 1.3 percent of the gross domestic product. That will be the lowest level since the early 1980s—and the second lowest level in at least six decades. Driven in part by the new corporate tax breaks just enacted in the so-called 'stimulus' bill, the total cost to ordinary American taxpayers of corporate tax welfare will exceed $170 billion annually in each of the next two years. In fact, for the first time since the early eighties, corporate tax loopholes will actually cost more than companies pay in income taxes in fiscal 2002 and 2003." God bless 'Merika!

Stop the Plunder of the US Treasury by Republicans in the name of Economic 'Stimulus'
Corporate Welfare

The Republicans are exploiting the surge of patriotic sentiment to mask a massive giveaway -- a package of corporate tax rebates that will take $70 billion out of your pocket and deliver it to profitable corporations. It will do nothing to address the lack of consumer demand which is at the heart of the recession, but it will reward GOP loyalists with money. Here's what you need to know about the Republican "Stimulus" plans.

What Do We Taxpayers Get for Our Airline Bailout? How About 15 Billion Federal Flyer Miles?
Corporate Welfare

At a minimum, the United States should get airline stock warrants, on which the government eventually could make a profit, as it did in the Chrysler bailout. Perhaps any airline stock profits could be allocated to the Social Security "trust fund," a win-win solution in the minds of some. But should there not be a more tangible, direct benefit for taxpayers from this new raid on the treasury by a failing airline industry? In exchange for the subsidy, the airlines should provide $15 billion worth of 'federal flyer' miles."