right-arrow

The Brief

Get Up To Speed

The auto industry, agriculture, the energy sector. What do they have in common? These industries benefit from government subsidies in the form of loans, tax breaks, regulation, and other preferences. Critics from the left and right say that not only do these subsidies transfer wealth from taxpayers to corporations, they distort the markets and our economy. Proponents say that government has an important role to play in launching innovation via strategic investment, and its support helps American companies thrive. Do we need subsidies, or is this corporate welfare?

View Debate Page
For:

Jack Abramoff

4 Items
Jack Abramoff
  • Former Lobbyist & Author, Capitol Punishment
Read Bio

Abramoff talks with Lessig about lobbying.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Source

Abramoff discusses Washington lobbying, corruption, and his quest to help reform politics after his prison sentence for conspiracy to bribe politicians, tax fraud, and more.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Congressmen accept donations and solemnly recite their oath of office: My vote is not for sale for a mere contribution. They are wrong.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Monday, January 28, 2013
For:

Zephyr Teachout

9 Items
Zephyr Teachout
  • Assoc. Professor, Fordham Law & Fmr. National Dir., Sunlight Foundation
Read Bio

Her argument goes like this: Right now, the American economy is controlled by a fairly small number of mega-corporations. Those with great economic power hold corresponding amounts of political power.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Politics has become dominated by policy priorities that serve certain business interests.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The models suggest significant economies of scale in the production of political power, and therefore greater incentives for larger companies to spend money seeking wealth through changes in laws and regulations instead of innovation and development.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Billion dollar companies that don’t pay taxes shouldn’t be able to have such a huge influence how our country is run.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Our candidates don’t have to be beggars at the feet of oligarchs.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Teachout and Youn discuss the effects of Citizen United.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Supreme Court's campaign finance rulings have made Congress responsive to rich funders, not the public.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How we get from candidates raising all their money from one-percenters to candidates raising all their money from $50 donations.

Monday, March 4, 2013
Against:

Kate Gordon

5 Items
Kate Gordon
  • Vice Chair of Climate & Sustainable Urbanization, Paulson Institute
Read Bio

Just as with any other major economic transition—the Industrial Revolution, the Marshall Plan, the fall of Communism—there is a role for government policy, finance and investment in speeding the adoption the new, while easing the phase out of the old.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The tax credits, block grants, and infrastructure funds generated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, building on a foundation of strong state incentives for renewable energy and efficiency that had been developed in the years leading up to the national stimulus bill, vaulted the United States to the number one position on the Pew Charitable Trust’s ranking of global clean energy investors in 2011.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The government can and should be involved in investment for clean energy, which will play a crucial role in future prosperity and health.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

There’s a reason the oil and gas industry got subsidies 100 years ago, and it’s the same reason the renewable energy industry gets them today: when a country is in the midst of transforming its energy sector, it needs to support its new and emerging companies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No one is arguing that wind and solar should have permanent subsidies.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Against:

Michael Lind

15 Items
Michael Lind
  • Co-Founder, New America Foundation
Read Bio
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Source
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Source
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Source
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Source

We face a triple crisis in foreign policy, economics, and democracy. Here's how it all went to hell.

Saturday, July 12, 2014
Source

Many of the policies that Jeffersonian populists attack as “crony capitalism” and “corporate welfare” strike Hamiltonians of left, right and center as legitimate and necessary.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

America’s commercial and military competitors are nations that have far fewer qualms about using government to promote their goals and that view government and the market as partners in a common project of national development.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why Germany’s solar miracle failed.

Monday, March 25, 2013
Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source

To understand America’s regional politics, we need to look beyond the cable news explanations of race and gender.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Source

Liberal enclaves face an economic crisis, but federally subsidized conservative areas are just as unsustainable.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Source

A century and a half later, we've come full circle: The red-blue state divide falls along Confederate-Union lines.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Source

America’s own recent history makes it clear that the most solvent, efficient, and equitable social contract is one based on a few simple, universal programs of social insurance.

Monday, June 10, 2013
Source

The disempowerment of the broad majority of Americans, not a lack of economic progress, is the greatest threat to the future of the U.S. as a middle-class nation. The institutions that used to represent middle-class Americans - unions, farmers' organizations, local party machines - have crumbled as Americans have moved into the service sector and the suburbs.

Monday, October 1, 2012
Source

Michael Lind discusses partisan political differences.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Source

For

5 Items
down

Conservative billionaire Charles Koch told his ultra-rich friends that they face a “life and death” decision whether to keep lobbying for tax breaks and government subsidies.

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Source
Philip Elliott

It’s that time of year again, when Republicans and Democrats put aside their differences to dole out gifts of corporate welfare to a lucky few.

Monday, November 23, 2015
Source
Marc Short and Andy Koenig

Corporate welfare in the federal budget costs taxpayers almost $100 billion a year.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Source
ad DeHaven

Corporate welfare or crony capitalism is a destructive force that undermines public trust in the institutions of the free market and in government itself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Source
Romina Boccia

Year after year, Congress has renewed a package of temporary tax provisions known as the “tax extenders.” Nearly all of them should be substantially curtailed or allowed to remain expired.

Monday, November 23, 2015
Source

Against

5 Items
down

The case for solar isn’t limited to prices and jobs. Consumers want choice. Unfortunately, in most markets around the country, electricity is still one of the few areas where we have virtually no choice over our supplier.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Source
Ben Ho

Taxpayer support for shale fracking went far beyond research.

Monday, October 22, 2012
Source
Michael Shellenberg and Ted Nordhaus

If we are to have a productive discussion of fossil fuel subsidies, it is important that participants understand what they are, their intended purpose, and the projected impact of removing them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Source
Robert Rapier

Government efforts are the source of new technological visions for the future.

Thursday, April 24, 2014
Source
Jeff Madrick

The policy rationale for the R&D tax credit and bonus depreciation is abundantly clear; Congress should extend and then make them permanent.

Monday, October 26, 2015
Source
Joe Kennedy

Background

4 Items
down

Subsidy Tracker 3.0 is the first national search engine for economic development subsidies and other forms of government financial assistance to business.

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Source

Over the past 15 years, the federal government has provided $68 billion in grants and special tax credits to business, with two-thirds of the total going to large corporations.

Sunday, March 1, 2015
Source
Philip Mattera and Kasia Tarczynska

Fork over taxpayer cash, or the jobs go elsewhere. That’s the threat behind the bidding wars among corporations, states and cities for factories, offices and other investments.

Thursday, January 14, 2016
Source
Brian Chappatta

A searchable database of incentive spending.

Saturday, December 1, 2012
Source
Louise Story, Tiff Fehr and Derek Watkins

Export-Import Bank

6 Items
down

Congress let the Export-Import Bank’s lending authority expire after June 30, 2015, but some House Republicans joined Democrats to force a vote in October to bring back the lender.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Brian Wingfield

The Ex-Im Bank has actually returned $2 billion more to the Treasury than it has required to cover operating costs and any bad loans over the last five years. And it helps the United States compete with 50+ other nations that have financing mechanisms for their own firms trying to do business abroad.

Saturday, September 6, 2014
Source
Michael O’Hanlon and David Petraeus

The Ex-Im bank subsidizes politically connected firms by providing them with below market loans. This can boost exports, but the bank also subsidizes imports, leaving its direct impact on the trade balance uncertain.

Monday, July 14, 2014
Source
Dean Baker

For the better part of two years, a group of influential business interests spent hundreds of thousands of dollars pressuring lawmakers to renew the credit export agency that, until recently, was a relatively obscure and uncontroversial provider of loans to foreign buyers purchasing U.S.-made goods.

Friday, December 4, 2015
Source
Catherine Ho and Paul Kane

GE has recently said it would shift hundreds of jobs abroad because of the Export-Import Bank's inability to help finance international deals.

Thursday, October 29, 2015
Source
Marilyn Geewax

Background of the Ex-Im Bank, discussion of the international context of the Bank, an analysis of key issues that Congress may consider in a reauthorization debate, and the congressional outlook on Ex-Im Bank.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Source
Shayerah Ilias Akhtar

Farm Subsidies

5 Items
down

Vincent H. Smith says farmers should stand on their own. W. Robert Goodman says subsidies are important for food security.

Sunday, July 12, 2015
Source
Vincent Smith and W. Robert Goodman

Like so many government programs — what subsidies need is not the ax, but reform that moves them forward.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Source
Mark Bittman

The database tracks $322 billion in farm subsidies from commodity, crop insurance, disaster programs and conservation payments paid between 1995 and 2014.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source

Farm subsidies provided by the federal government are supposed to help agricultural producers manage the variations in agricultural production and profitability from year to year - due to variations in weather, market prices, and other factors - while ensuring a stable food supply. In reality, this support is highly skewed toward the five major \"program\" commodities of corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source

The Federal Crop Insurance Program is administered by USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA). The program provides producers with two basic options. They can elect to secure an insurance policy that compensates them if they experience a loss in crop yields or if they experience a decline in revenue.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source

State Incentives

2 Items
down

Michigan’s corporate-tax incentives helped jump-start the state’s lagging economy, officials say, but now those same curative measures are hurting the state’s budget.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Source
Matthew Dolan

A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies.

Saturday, December 1, 2012
Source
Louise Story

Polls

1 Items
down

While most Americans may say oil, gas, and coal companies shouldn’t get taxpayer dollars to help run their business, they are willing to make an exception for alternative energy companies.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
Source
Emily Ekins