The State of Corporate Welfare

Multinational Monitor, September-October 2006 | Go to article overview

The State of Corporate Welfare


A DECADE AGO in Washington, D.C., there was an interesting left-right coalition working to eliminate, or at least reduce, corporate welfare. This brought together Ralph Nader and Grover Norquist, Friends of the Earth and the Cato Institute.

From the left end of the spectrum, progressives fumed about the rip-off of public monies and public assets, and highlighted the ways that many corporate welfare programs damaged the environment. As this issue of Multinational Monitor exhibits, those problems persist--indeed, they have worsened dramatically.

Some conservatives were willing to criticize corporate welfare, either because they were legitimately concerned about husbanding taxpayer money, or because libertarian or corporatist commitments led them to oppose government expenditures.

It is entirely possible that the left-right coalition against corporate welfare can be revitalized, and perhaps this time around, score some victories.

But now a new form of corporate welfare has evolved. It is not likely to be amenable to left-tight fixes. What also remains unclear is whether the Democrats are ready to tackle it.

The Reinventing Government initiative that began under the initiative of former Vice President Al Gore was dangerous enough at the time. That initiative involved the downsizing of the federal workforce, and increased contracting out of government jobs.

Under the Bush regime, however, contracting out has mutated out of control. Under the Bush administration, federal contracts have almost doubled, to $400 billion a year. $400 billion!

Although the rationale for these contracts is that the competitive marketplace--read: corporations--is more efficient than government, now more than half of the contracts are awarded without a competitive, open-bidding process, according to a New York Times analysis.

These contracts are replete with waste and fraud. The most prominent examples include the utter failure of contractors to deliver reconstruction in Iraq or New Orleans. Instead, we have seemingly endless stories of rip-offs large and small: the U.S. Army agreeing to pay Halliburton's KBR subsidiary nearly $2 billion for work that nobody can prove ever took place; the same company charging $45 for a case of Coca-Cola.

The third prong of what might be considered the triple crown of contracting debacles is the Medicare drug benefit, as Dean Baker documents in this issue. Leave aside for the moment the gift to the pharmaceutical industry--worth tens of billions of dollars, or more--and consider the handout to the HMOs and private insurers. In adopting the program, Congress mandated that only private insurers would administer the benefit--in other words, provision of the benefit was contracted out, taken away from Medicare's efficient administrative system. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The State of Corporate Welfare
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.