America’s Real Welfare Queens
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Azureon2, bayat)Let’s talk about America’s real welfare queens.
Republicans are all upset about people getting government benefits, but our nation’s real welfare queens are this country’s billionaires and biggest corporations.
But first let’s look at who the Republicans want us to think about when they use slurs like “welfare queen.”
Back in November, the largest cuts in the history of the federal food stamps program, otherwise known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, went into effect.
Thanks to the efforts of Republicans, $5 billion was slashed from the program, directly affecting the lives of 47 million Americans.
But those devastating cuts aren’t enough.
Republicans are still convinced that America is filled with people that would rather live off of government assistance than get a job.
And they’re still convinced that cutting food stamps will help solve the nation’s spending and debt problems.
So, they’re trying to cut even more from food stamps.
Right now, Congress is working on a compromise to the farm bill, which thanks to Republicans, will likely cut billions more from food stamps, and leave millions of additional Americans without access to the nutrition they need to survive.
But here’s what Republicans aren’t telling you.
In 2012, the average American taxpayer making $50,000 per year paid just $36 towards the food stamps program.
That’s about ten cents a day.
Now compare that to the fact that an average American family making $50,000 a year pays a whopping $6,000 a year in subsidies to Republican-friendly corporations.
So, who’s really causing our nation’s economic woes? America’s real welfare queens: the corporations.
As Bill Quigley points out over at Common Dreams, the Cato Institute estimates that federal subsidies to corporations cost Americans nearly $100 billion each year.
And on the state and local levels, state and local governments provide at least $80 billion in subsidies to corporations, according to a study by Louise Story at The New York Times.
Some of America’s largest corporations, like Shell, Ford and Chrysler, have received more than a billion dollars each from state and local governments.
And then there are indirect subsidies; Taxpayer money that indirectly benefits corporations.
Researchers at the University of Illinois and University of California-Berkeley found that American taxpayers pay a staggering $243 billion per year in indirect subsidies to the fast food industry alone.
That’s because the fast food industry pays such low wages that we the people are forced to hand over $243 billion to pay for the healthcare and other public benefits of fast food workers.
Meanwhile, our tax code, which favors billionaires and corporations, saves corporations on average $200 billion each year, while you and I have to pick up the slack.
It’s that same tax code that’s allowing giant corporations like Apple and GE to hide their money in corporate tax havens to avoid paying their fair share.
And corporate America is getting new handouts from the government on a routine basis.
The Boston Globe looked at tax legislation that was passed by Congress in the first few months of 2013, and found that the legislation contained 43 corporate-friendly tax breaks worth around $67 billion.
Compare all that money that corporations are getting to the $5 billion that has already been pulled out of food stamps and the $40 billion in additional money for food stamps that Republicans want to take out.
They could easily pay for the entire food stamps program just by closing one or two of the smaller loopholes that pass tax expenditures or government checks along to the top 1 percent and the nation’s biggest corporations
There’s no doubt about it.
Food stamps aren’t bankrupting America. The never-ending profit pipeline between Capitol Hill and corporate America is.
When Republicans talk about “welfare queens,” they’re really talking about their buddies in big banks, Big Oil, and giant transnational corporations.
It’s time to cut off the corporate welfare pipeline, and use those billions of dollars to help our economy recover, and to help those Americans who need it the most.