Shaming Welfare Recipients
I see a trend in the media towards shaming the poor. It’s sad really, but I could possibly see how shame might make people want to change their ways and rise up. If that’s the case, I feel we need to enact similar measures for recipients of corporate welfare. Maybe if they were shamed, they would straighten up and fly right. We can’t expect responsible corporate citizenship or incentive to succeed if we continue to bail them out. You know what they say about handouts, when people get things for free they don’t appreciate it or take care of it. I feel we should apply the similar measures of accountability for corporate welfare.
The annual cost of welfare in the United States was $1.03 trillion in 2011. That is alot of money that welfare recipients were leeching off of tax payers. However, the great bank bailout of 2008 cost approximately $29 trillion, enough to fund the welfare system for 28 years. That’s a stupid amount of money that was leeched from the tax payer. That’s just one bailout. There’s been others before it. Aside from bailouts, there’s subsidies that are given to corporations in the billions of dollars. These aren’t tax credits or favorable tax laws, they are hand-outs given to companies. How can we expect excellence in business management when we are constantly bailing out businesses or giving them free money? We need to create incentives to get off corporate welfare as we do for getting off of consumer welfare.
So, what would it look like? Here’s one man’s vision……
Every company that receives federal funds should be required to carry a corporate welfare card to make company purchases similar to SNAP or EBT. The general public should be able to see what their tax dollars are purchasing for the recipient company whether it’s at the office supply store, restaurant, hotel, or major sporting event. People who see them using the card are free to pass their judgement quietly or out loud. Maybe someone can even film it and post it on YouTube to go viral. But, once the company is no longer receiving subsidies or pay back their debt to the government, they can stop using the corporate welfare card.
Every company that receives corporate welfare should have limits on what they can purchase. Similar to how welfare recipients aren’t allowed to use that money for movies, casinos, lobster, steak, etc., there should be limits on what recipients of corporate welfare can purchase. If you are receiving corporate welfare, you should not be allowed to use corporate funds for sporting events, concert tickets, 5 star hotels, expensive meals, or anything that can be deemed a luxury. We shouldn’t have our tax dollars wasted on luxuries, right? I can’t afford steak and lobster, so why should a company buy it with my tax dollars? Of course when you are able to stand on your own without government aid, you can spend your money any way you please.
Top executives for companies receiving bailouts and subsidies should be subject to regular and random drug testing. Not only do we want to avoid having our tax dollars used on illegal drugs, but these executives shouldn’t have their decision making abilities clouded by drugs because of how many lives they may affect. I would expand to prohibiting alcohol use because of how often deals are made over drinks, and these deals could have adverse effects on the economy. They have shown by their poor decisions that they are not capable of handling drugs or alcohol. But, once the company is no longer receiving funds or have paid back their debt, they can drink, smoke, snort, pop, and inject to their heart’s desire within local, state, and federal limits. At that point, it’s not our tax dollars at stake.
Companies that receive corporate welfare would be required to report to their counselor regularly so they can verify that they are looking for new work and improvements for their business. If the company does not, then all future welfare payments will be revoked. If the recipients aren’t doing anything to help themselves, why should we keep on supporting them?
For industry level events, there should be separate tables, entrances, events, etc. to differentiate between recipients of corporate welfare and those that don’t. You can’t let companies that are leeching off the public have the same benefits as those that don’t. It wouldn’t be fair to the companies that are responsible and conducting good business to get the same level of service and prestige as those that don’t. Plus, it will give the leeches something to reach for.
Instead of shows like The Briefcase or Bum Fights, we should have similar shows for recipients of corporate welfare. The ratings would go through the roof if you have shows like this. You can have CEOs of failing corporations that are in need of a bailout enter a game show where only one CEO will get the bailout. The others lose their jobs, face lawsuits, and live with the legacy of driving a once successful company to it’s grave. The potential for this would be unreal. You could mix and match elements of Survivor, The Bachelor, American Idol, WWE Wrestling, Shark Tank, Hunger Games, Japanese game shows, and more for an unlimited amount of entertainment. Just imagine what you could do with this. The money that could be made from viewers and sponsors would probably be enough to fund bailouts and subsidies for the winning companies. This would be reality TV in the extreme with real life consequences. How can anyone not watch it? This would be so big that it would be like printing money. These guys are getting my tax dollars, so why not get some entertainment out of it?
In all seriousness, I believe in the free market and corporate welfare goes against it. The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, but the market should instead. In the same way that consumer welfare diminishes motivation and incentive to act responsibly, corporate welfare does the same. The goal of both should be to have recipients off the roll as soon as possible. But, as a government and society, we focus way too much on those who cost us the least, while giving a pass to those who cost us the most. We have too many disincentives for those receiving consumer welfare, but not enough for those receiving corporate welfare. We have too many punishments for mishandling of consumer welfare and restrictions to prevent it, but very little for corporate welfare. One baby mama mishandling her $300 monthly welfare check can’t do nearly the damage that a corporation mishandling billions of dollars can. Time to apply things evenly. Effective use of our tax dollars depends on it.