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When it comes to taking government aid, which “takers” take the most?

Jim Kempton. File photo
Jim Kempton. File photo

By Jim Kempton

I’ve always wondered who the biggest welfare cheats were in the United States.

An Illinois-based watchdog group called Open the Books did a study of all the subsidies, grants, and tax breaks from all the different government agencies that were provided to the top U.S. companies. What they found is quite astounding: The government payments for the Fortune 100 firms totaled over $1.2 trillion dollars. That’s right, with a “T” as in trillion.

That’s what the government gives to the 100 richest corporations in the USA. These top Fortune 100 companies averaged over $200 million dollars each in handouts from the government. But look on the bright side; it was totally bipartisan effort. In other words Independents, Libertarians, Democrats and Republicans all came together in a unified bloc to lard the pork trough of billion-dollar corporations.

When you examine the list of corporate welfare queens, 99 percent of the biggest companies in America are on the dole. This information is all according to the Orange County Register—which is not exactly your bleeding heart liberal media source.

The explanation, they tell us, is if we don’t give the rich corporations lots of relief they won’t be motivated to work. But then they tell us if we do give the lots of relief to poor people, they won’t be motivated to work. I’m so confused.

So compare this: If an Orange County family of four has a mother and a father both working full-time at minimum wage, they take home about $1,800 per month between both of them. The average one-bedroom rental in Orange County is $1,500, leaving them a whopping $300 for food, gas, health insurance, kids clothes, auto repairs and (if they are lucky) a new baseball mitt for little Johnny.

That’s what they have to spend after federal, state and local taxes (that they can’t dodge in offshore bank accounts and entertainment on their yacht or other convenient write-offs).

A giant food conglomerate owning 200,000 acres of land can be paid millions of dollars not to grow food, but a family with two full-time working parents with two children are considered the “takers” if they get $150 in food stamps. Jeff Bezos of Amazon made over $40 billion dollars and still pays his employees $10 and hour.

There are those that say we should earn our own way, with no help from the government. Having never had enough misfortune to require government aid, I can’t argue that point personally. But I know Mitt Romney’s mother recalled on national TV that her family took government aid when they moved from Mexico and were really down and out. I know Bob Dole took it when the government put him through college after WWII.

And I’m glad it was available to them—it helped them get back on their feet. I just don’t think that when we do get on our feet and are winning we should still be at the trough.

Jim Kempton is a local resident who believes that teachers, policemen, paramedics, small businesses and other givers ought to be considered worth as much in our society as the Wall Street trader who sells derivatives that are run tax free through off shore banks.

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