Traditionally poor women of color have been vilified as "Welfare Queens" a rhetoric which is still shaping our fiscal priorities. But it is useful to talk about who the true welfare queens are—those who are actually draining the economy in their flagrant misuse of money, their hoarding of wealth and their endless avarice. And it is notable that the companies in the retail sectors are dead set against increasing minimum wage, unionization and any types of job protections/social welfare payouts for low income people. I mean, hey, BOOTSTRAPS GUYS.

Big Oil

In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $14 billion to $52 billion annually, while even efforts to remove small portions of those subsidies have been defeated in Congress, as shown in the graphic below.


Koch Industries has been the recipient of about $85 million in federal government contracts mostly from the Department of Defense. Koch also benefits directly from billions in taxpayer subsidies for oil companies and ethanol production.



And the cost is increasing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last year spent about $14 billion insuring farmers against the loss of crop or income, almost seven times more than in fiscal 2000, according to the Congressional Research Service.



The secret behind Wal-Mart's rapid expansion in the United States has been its extensive use of public money. This includes more than $1.2 billion in tax breaks, free land, infrastructure assistance, low-cost financing and outright grants from state and local governments around the country. In addition, taxpayers indirectly subsidize the company by paying the healthcare costs of Wal-Mart employees who don't receive coverage on the job and instead turn to public programs such as Medicaid.

Ethanol/Corn Producers

Deficit hawks, environmentalists, and food processors are celebrating the expiration of the ethanol tax credit. This corporate handout gave $0.45 to ethanol producers for every gallon they produced and cost taxpayers $6 billion in 2011. So why did the powerful corn ethanol lobby let it expire without an apparent fight? The answer lies in legislation known as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which creates government-guaranteed demand that keeps corn prices high and generates massive farm profits. Removing the tax credit but keeping the RFS is like scraping a little frosting from the ethanol-boondoggle cake.

The RFS mandates that at least 37 percent of the 2011-12 corn crop be converted to ethanol and blended with the gasoline that powers our cars…[As a result] the current price of corn on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is about $6.50 per bushel—almost triple the pre-mandate level.


The Banking Industry

Our calculation, in a Feb. 21 editorial, showing that the top 10 U.S. banks receive a taxpayer subsidy worth $83 billion a year has generated some, um, discussion. It's a big number, and the subsidy is a big issue for the banks.How did we get there? To recap, the largest banks can borrow money at a lower rate because creditors assume the government, on behalf of taxpayers, will rescue them in an emergency. In a 2012 study, two economists — Kenichi Ueda of the International Monetary Fund and Beatrice Weder di Mauro of the University of Mainz — estimated the value of that too-big-to-fail subsidy at about 0.8 percentage point. We multiplied that number by the top 10 U.S. banks' total liabilities to come up with $83 billion a year.

The Defense Industry

According to Department of Defense documents,since 2001 contracts for services have increased 137%, compared to a 1% increase for payrolls of active duty military personel over the same time period (in 2011 dollars), and is labeled as "increasingly unaffordable." However, among the largest government contractors are some of the largest companies in the country, some that employ more than 100,000 workers and draw a majority of their revenue from government sources.

To understand the spending involved, analyzed data from,which was established in 2006 by the U.S. Office of Budget Management to make federal awards publicly available. According to the site, in FY2011 there were $536.8 billion in government contracts awarded to approximately 170,000 contractors. The data presented here are based solely on U.S. government contracts and do not include assistance, insurance, grants, loans or other forms of payment.


Overall, there are 48 companies that NY Times Identified as receiving 100 million dollar in corporate subsidies, some of them are the most profitable companies in the country.

Now there isn't anything wrong theoretically with corporate subsidies if it were tied to greater prosperity as a country. I was all for the bailouts but in this time of austerity, where for some reason we can't increase taxes (for reasons), it seems to me that eyeing the poor as being overly greedy and causing budgetary problem might not be an accurate description of what is going wrong in our economy.