Periodically, CATO analyzes the federal budget to ascertain exactly how much money our government shovels out to favored parties. Unfortunately, over the years both parties have participated in this handoutathon, and, still worse, many businessmen suck up to elected officials to get their “share” of our money. Nobody disputes that private businesses should build our military armaments, our roads, and our bridges. In fact, more basic governmental services, such as janitorial work or auto maintenance, should be farmed out by competitive bid. It’s the rest of the pigs at the government trough that are most troubling.
Corporate welfare is difficult to define, but DeHaven went line by line through the federal budget and found $98 billion of it – every dollar of which is listed in his report. The pervasive nature of these crony giveaways can be measured by the fact that every federal department gets into the act. Handouts to solar companies and farm conglomerates get the most publicity, but those are just the tip of the iceberg.
DeHaven’s background has given him the skills to analyze this information. Most prominently, he worked for Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana to sort out the mess they found when Daniels took office in January, 2005. DeHaven saw how bad crony capitalism was at the state level and brought that knowledge to his analysis of Washington’s spending.
DeHaven states that the most egregious waste at the federal level is farm handouts, claiming that most farm subsidies go to large corporate interests despite the fact that people think the money goes to “family farms.” DeHaven stated, “It is about vote buying and nothing else.”
The report not only enumerates where the money goes, but is sprinkled with great statements such as “The federal government’s proper role in the economy should be that of a neutral referee, with intervention limited to facilitating the free exchange of goods and services.”
Interestingly, both political sides contain elements who rail against these handouts. The leftists known as the Occupy Movement protest loudly against corporate handouts – while the Tea Party, which leans right but considers itself non-partisan, complains about handouts in the same manner.