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Political Statistics I'd like to see

I want to see a comparison of governmental expenditures or losses due to all forms of personal welfare, including student loans, family planning, housing assistance, medicare and medicaid (etc), relative to all spent/lost due to corporate subsidies, bailouts and tax breaks. The two warring sides in our politics tend to focus on one and are hard pressed to even admit the existence of the other. But both exist. Let's see the numbers from both of those sides, rechecked and compiled into a graph by someone who isn't on one of those sides. And let's tear them apart (lies!!!) and start over with new numbers, different sources. Let's see it at the federal and state level. And then let's talk about why it might be in our collective best interests to prevent both unwanted pregnancies and auto industry crashes. And go from there.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
Well, we could start with this:

Which is just a graphical representation of the monthly treasury statements. Available here:

Now, we can see from that that, in 2010,
Social security spent roughly 750B
HHS spent roughly 850B
DOD spent 700B
Treasury spent 450
Ag spent 130B (98B of which is "food stamps" and other personal welfare)
Department of education spent 100
veterans affairs comes in at 100
Department of labor comes in at 175.

Now, of those, the ones that are clearly and comfortably "personal welfare" are AG (the food stamps portion), HHS, Social Security, and Education. So, totalling in at somewhere near 1.8 trillion, on total expenditures of 3.5 trillion.

The departments clearly identifiable as "corporate welfare"... There are none. At least none I can identify. I suppose that the agricultural subsidy portion of the Ag department might be an argument. That would mean roughly 28B. And I suppose that some of the military spending could be considered to fall under "corporatte welfare", call it 50%? 350B?

So, on the spending side, we've got a clear line at 1.8 trillion in personal welfare, versus... 390B in something that could charitably be called "assumed" corporate welfare.

But of course, corporate welfare is more complicated than that, the "subsidies are rarely direct spending, they are regulation, tax breaks and other things like that.

So, let's have a quick look at the "competition" on the "other" column. The "child tax credit". It was $52 billion in 2010. That's a stareting number.

Total corporate profits in 2010 were something in the neighborhood of 1.65 trillion. On which they paid 450B in corporate income taxes. For a net profit of 1.2 trillion.

In other words, confiscating *all* corporate profits and adding them to the "assumed" corporate welfare above (390B) would not make up for the social welfare programming. Remember the 1.8 trillion above? Yeah. That.

So, yes, there *are* corporate welfare policies, there are "tax breaks", but amazingly often, they fail the "factuality" test, such as the "depletion allowance" that we discussed earlier. In the main, the Rs are right on this one, "corporate welfare" is a flea next to the cow that is the social expenditure. Not that I would be opposed to ending all forms of corporate welfare, the AG department subsidies should be cut, any actual special tax breaks should be eliminated, etcetera. But they need to be real. Targetted taxation is not the elimination of corporate welfare.
Jun. 1st, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you for offering your view! Clearly this is something you've contemplated more than once. And it is precisely because our national expenditures in support of big business are hard to track that this exercise needs to be done by many people with competing views.
Jun. 1st, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
And I would genuinely welcome some math from those that make that case.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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