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Wasteful energy subsidies for major corporations and a select group of residential consumers

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Wasteful energy subsidies for major corporations and a select group of residential consumers Powered By Docstoc
					Wasteful energy subsidies for major
corporations and a select group of residential
consumers
funding of inappropriate policies of the International Monetary Fund (General
Agreements to Borrow, IMF Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility);
* costly, inefficient subsidies for road and highway construction (Timber Roads in
the National Forest Program, Appalachian Regional Commission Roads Program,
Highway                              Demonstration                        Projects);
* wasteful energy subsidies for major corporations and a select group of residential
consumers       (Pyroprocessing     Program,    Rural   Utilities   Service);   and
* an expensive and potentially environmentally damaging public water works
project in southwest Colorado (Animas La Plata).

In the Senate, John McCain and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) are
reviving proposed legislation to create a nine-member Corporate Subsidy Reform
Commission--modeled after the military base closure commission--that would target
dubious programs and tax loopholes for reform or termination. Senator McCain
cosponsored similar legislation (S.1376, the Corporate Subsidies Review, Reform,
and Termination Act of 1995) with Senator Spence Abraham (R-Wisconsin) that
lapsed in the 104th Congress. Under the McCain-Kennedy bill, Congress would
have four months in which to approve, reject, or amend the commission's
recommendations.
In March 1997, the Progressive Caucus, a group of 58 liberal congressional
Democrats, announced its corporate welfare list of 15 examples of tax breaks and
federal subsidies to be eliminated. Its proposal would save $56.9 billion the first year
and $261.6 billion over the next five years. The list was endorsed by the Coalition on
Human Needs, the National Education Association, the Center for Community
Change, the Community Nutrition Institute, Common Cause, Tax Watch, and the
Corporate Wealthfare Project, among others. Unlike the SCW proposal, which
concentrates on spending programs only, the Progressive Caucus emphasizes tax
deductions for corporations and wealthy individuals. Its tax proposals will not be
seriously considered by the Republican-controlled Congress, but certain spending
programs, such as OPIC, will receive stronger bipartisan support for elimination.
The McCain-Kennedy legislation is a one-time proposal for addressing corporate
welfare. But what should Congress do when evaluating subsidies or tax and
regulatory breaks for corporations on an ongoing basis? The libertarian Cato
Institute position is straightforward: eliminate all forms of direct subsidy to
corporations, save tax provisions applicable across the board to all businesses. But
the Cato approach is a minority policy position. Other suggested corporate
accountability proposals are applied to specific programs or expenditures and are
categorized                                  as                                 follows:
Disclosure. The federal government would consolidate and regularly report
information about corporate assistance programs, expenditures, and recipients,
thereby allowing for precise summary statistics on the total number and costs of
programs. This suggested approach contrasts with the present ambiguity involving
which definition of "corporate welfare" is being used in a report, the consequent
range of programs and expenditures identified, and irregular reporting by
nongovernmental organizations. Public hearings would be held before new
corporate assistance programs are introduced. Corporations would be required
each year to report publicly the specific type of assistance rece

				
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posted:2/4/2010
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