NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Congress Dishes The Corporate Pork

September 11, 1997

Those who had hoped that the Congress would cut corporate welfare are in for a disappointment. Some observers say it's possible there won't be a single major program cut this year.

According to the Progressive Policy Institute:

  • The cost of federal business subsidies will reach almost $158 billion over the next five years.
  • Corporate tax breaks will total another $124 billion.
  • Among the surviving programs is the Agriculture Department's Market Access Program, which helps food producers advertise overseas; it will get $90 million in the next fiscal year.
  • Another is the U.S. Forest Service's $47.5 million subsidy to timber companies that build roads on federal land -- increased from $44.5 million this year.

Critics believe strong lobbying from corporate welfare recipients helped stall reform. For example, the Overseas Private Investment Corp., which provides loan guarantees and risk insurance for companies operating in other countries, has been accused of distorting the market. But when Congress attempted to cut its funding, companies such as Citicorp and Amoco lobbied against the cuts and won.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has proposed an independent corporate welfare commission -- modeled on the one that closes military bases -- that would come up with a list of proposed cuts which Congress would then have to vote on all at once.

But McCain's bill is stuck in committee, and observers say that the shrinking deficit has taken the pressure off Congress to cut corporate pork.

Source: Laura Litvan, "Corporate Pork Spared The Ax?" Investor's Busines Daily, September 11, 1997.


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