Corporate welfare ......

Let’s agree on what it is and then agree to get rid of all of it ! :smiley:

Can we start by agreeing that it has nothing to do with corporate tax rates?

The largest item is agriculture subsidies. Which as it is, the EU is just now debating and deciding on for the next five years. Currently it takes up around 40% of the whole EU budget. And it is littered with fraud and corruption.

Debating the future of European agriculture

Of course it has something to do with corporate tax rates, just like the massive write-offs for individuals in the pre-80s tax structure had something to do with the individual tax rates.

But I would support getting rid of all of it without touching corporate tax rates. Nearly all businesses that can’t survive without corporate welfare shouldn’t be in that business in the first place. For instance, if we actually used all of our farming capacity we could probably literally feed the world. If some farms fold due to lack of government support, then we will still have enough capacity to feed ourselves several times over.

Good luck.

Corporate welfare is government spending designed to benefit specific industries or business without providing a public benefit commensurate with the cost.

There, that was easy.

So, were Halliburton’s contracts in Iraq corporate welfare or not?

No bid contracts? I should co-co.

Some almost certainly were, as in most military operations. DoD procurement is an area rife with dealings that benefit the companies involved much more than the public welfare. The numbers involved make efforts to clean up this process notoriously difficult. Being involved in an active war zone (and thus having short-circuits for the normal procurement process) didn’t help.

Normally when discussing “corporate welfare”, however, people focus on long-standing matters of public policy, not individual contracts or companies.

No… to the extent they were the best way to get the job done regardless of whether you approve of the job or not.

OK let’s get rid of all ag subsidies regardless whether they go to individuals, partnerships, small corporations or the behemoths.

… or are they only bad if the go to corporations?

How about subsidies for “green” stuff?

They are bad if the public cost is less than the public benefit. No more, no less. Ethanol subsidies, for example, tend to have negative public benefit, so any public money spent on them is corporate welfare.

See above. Depending on how you price the externalities of carbon emission and dependence on foreign energy sources you could claim green energy initiatives as “corporate welfare” or “sound investment in a public good”. I tend towards the latter based on past government investments in transformative industries, but obviously YMMV.


Put another way: The second clause is based on the assumption that corporate welfare, whatever it is, is bad; therefore no incompatible definition can be considered in a way meaningful to the discussion; therefore, the only definition that really works is Jas09’s: “Corporate welfare is government spending designed to benefit specific industries or business without providing a public benefit commensurate with the cost.” But, as you will have seen by now, applying that definition requires a cost-benefit analysis in each case, an analysis that inevitably includes value judgments, and a great deal else, on which reasonable (or whatever) minds may differ.

And, even if you have made a sound case that a given instance of corporate subsidy/welfare/contracts meets the definition, you still have not quite made a case that it should be got rid of. Any economic disruption, downsizing, etc., that might result from abrupt defunding must be taken into account; the running cost of the “welfare” might be something government can more or less readily afford even while running deficits. That requires a second (and equally complicated and value-laden) cost-benefit analysis.

Of course? Please explain… is there a correct corporate tax rate?

Some tax credits being corporate welfare, I can understand.

Allowing some deductions and not others I can understand… but only indirectly since the real problem is not allowing certain deductions for social engineering purposes.

:dubious: No. There is no reason, constitutional or otherwise, why government cannot use tax policy as an instrument of social engineering. That it sometimes does so might or might not be a “problem”; but at any rate it would be a completely different problem, and a completely different kind of problem, than whatever might be meant by “corporate welfare.”

It’s not a completely different problem, they are intricately linked to each other. There are many corporate welfare programs that have enough social engineering justification that there would be an actual policy debate about whether they are valid social engineering (as opposed, of course, to corporate welfare programs that would be supported mainly by people who receive direct benefits but who claim it provides a social engineering impetus.)

If we only eliminate the naked cases of corporate handouts, we’d still be able to cut, but not nearly eliminate corporate welfare.

So I guess it all depends on how we want our government to socially engineer us.

“Corporate welfare” as a whole is little different than any other types of welfare.

I’m still wondering what the correct corporate tax rate is such that someone can complain that a reduction is a handout.

Yeah. Remove it all. Green and blue, individual and corporate. State subsidies can be acceptable in those few cases where it is a matter of national security or vital long term national interests are at stake. European agriculture subsidies after the Second World War were understandable because we had just come out of a period of hunger where many people starved to death. It’s just as clear that the subsidies are completely out of control and wholly unnecessary for the purpose of assuring a self-sufficient food production.

C’mon, it can’t be as simple as this…

  1. Welfare is wonderful!

  2. “Corporate welfare” is bad because corporations are evil… unless the welfare is so good that you can overlook that corporations are evil.

  3. Tax rates have nothing to do with welfare of any kind except for corporate rates since corporations are evil.

It’s not, and your understanding might be increased if you read *other *people’s posts.

:rolleyes: You might want to reconsider this statement.