Meet the Real “Welfare Queens,” the Corporations Who Get the Most in Government Subsidies

by | Oct 11, 2021 | Money and Politics, Wealth Gap

Photo by Patrick Hendry

Meet the Real “Welfare Queens,” the Corporations Who Get the Most in Government Subsidies

by | Oct 11, 2021 | Money and Politics, Wealth Gap

Photo by Patrick Hendry
Meet the true "welfare queens" who have not been well publicized and who cost us massive sums as tax payers to pay for their subsidies and are a testament to the effectiveness of lobbyist actions on their behalf.

As usual, let’s start with a definition. From Wikipedia:

Welfare queen is a derogatory term used in the United States to refer to women who allegedly misuse or collect excessive welfare payments through fraud, child endangerment, or manipulation. Reporting on welfare fraud began during the early 1960s, appearing in general-interest magazines such as Readers Digest. The term originates from media reporting in 1974, and was popularized by Ronald Reagan, beginning with his 1976 presidential campaign.

Since then, the phrase “welfare queen” has remained a stigmatizing label and is most often directed toward black, single mothers. Hence, it is considered racist by many. Although women in the U.S. could no longer stay on welfare indefinitely after the federal government launched the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in 1996, the term remains a trope in the American dialogue on poverty and negatively shapes welfare policies and outcomes for these families.

The idea of belittling people who are not rich and who have the audacity to demand benefits that were paid for by their wages (Social Security, MediCare, etc.) is not new. Reagan’s campaign ramped up the racist trope of the “welfare queen” when he first ran for office, as noted above. But this concept is still in the white supremacist’s lexicon. (We’re still waiting on reports of some of these folks returning their stimulus payments from earlier this year as a demonstration of their principles. Don’t hold your breath.)

But there are some true “welfare queens” who have not been well publicized and who cost us massive sums as tax payers and are a testament to the effectiveness of lobbyist actions on their behalf.

Here are the top 10 corporations that receive vast sums of subsidy funds from our government. Some of the names and amounts may surprise you.

This table gives the amount of subsidy received by each of these companies.

Boeing$15,355,000,792
General Motors$8,056,517,000
Intel$6,004,762,638
Alcoa$5,807,038,044
Foxconn Technology Group (Hon Hai Precision Industry Company)$4,825,691,168
Ford Motor$4,354,657,247
NRG Energy$3,910,850,568
Cheniere Energy$3,864,202,239
Sempra Energy$3,363,986,694
Amazon.com$3,284,807,639

(Source: Subsidy Tracker)

To see the top 100 Corporate Welfare Queens, click the toggle below. There are some big surprises on this list too.

Top 100 List

Company NameSubsidy Amount
Boeing$15,355,000,792
General Motors$8,056,517,000
Intel$6,004,762,638
Alcoa$5,807,038,044
Foxconn Technology Group (Hon Hai Precision Industry Company)$4,825,691,168
Ford Motor$4,354,657,247
NRG Energy$3,910,850,568
Cheniere Energy$3,864,202,239
Sempra Energy$3,363,986,694
Amazon.com$3,284,807,639
Southern Company$2,912,535,957
NextEra Energy$2,858,193,244
General Atomics$2,631,055,464
Stellantis$2,601,662,312
Tesla Inc.$2,506,116,253
Summit Power$2,332,190,078
General Electric$2,291,071,186
Iberdrola$2,287,682,067
Nike$2,104,917,829
Mubadala Investment Company$2,035,954,929
Raytheon Technologies$2,017,934,641
SCS Energy$1,927,236,683
Brookfield Asset Management$1,912,496,975
Lockheed Martin$1,875,106,252
Venture Global LNG$1,869,575,000
Sasol$1,851,232,180
Cerner$1,826,761,779
Nissan$1,826,106,415
Royal Dutch Shell$1,822,610,637
Berkshire Hathaway$1,763,401,999
IBM Corp.$1,743,417,181
Cleveland-Cliffs$1,685,058,431
JPMorgan Chase$1,585,106,570
Archer Daniels Midland$1,465,105,739
Walt Disney$1,441,913,888
Energy Transfer$1,415,862,328
Northrop Grumman$1,380,663,203
Corning$1,269,418,848
Duke Energy$1,246,537,671
Continental AG$1,237,291,107
Battelle$1,142,226,967
Jefferies Financial Group$1,120,662,497
Abengoa$1,082,660,583
Comcast$1,080,996,130
Volkswagen$1,071,478,311
Exxon Mobil$1,021,177,998
ViacomCBS$1,006,192,669
Toyota$999,725,271
NuScale Power$970,699,634
Valero Energy$954,453,341
Exelon$947,277,696
Alphabet Inc.$923,824,006
Pyramid Companies$904,317,131
Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc.$900,000,000
Air Products & Chemicals$885,158,490
Delta Air Lines$878,128,816
Cree$855,527,702
Bayer$844,553,003
Apple Inc.$824,316,045
LG$814,761,975
CF Industries$810,715,945
Microsoft$807,954,894
Nucor$804,565,969
SunEdison$803,513,344
Goldman Sachs$796,696,599
OGE Energy$795,624,588
Texas Instruments$795,572,241
E.ON$793,913,159
EDF-Electricite de France$792,592,976
SkyWest$787,978,108
Facebook$785,765,803
Michelin$769,030,427
Daimler$764,360,523
Triple Five Worldwide$748,000,000
AES Corp.$746,436,073
EDP-Energias de Portugal$733,674,868
Johnson Controls$729,541,267
Bank of America$695,987,310
AT&T$692,317,701
Verizon Communications$692,256,971
American Electric Power$688,123,130
General Dynamics$673,438,044
Sagamore Development$660,000,000
Caithness Energy$655,168,885
Dominion Energy$642,781,450
FedEx$636,668,287
Ameren$618,093,398
Bedrock Detroit$618,000,000
Dow Inc.$613,491,974
Mayo Clinic$590,007,672
Wells Fargo$581,052,070
Siemens$580,685,167
Sears$574,182,077
Invenergy$573,139,535
Honeywell International$570,030,024
Dell Technologies$560,556,970
Clean Coal Power Operations$550,000,000
Sematech$550,000,000
Scripps Research Institute$545,000,000
Koch Industries$538,452,482

Just for fun, we tallied the total of subsidies paid out in cash or tax “incentives” to these companies. Here’s the total: $163,145,239,071.

Stunned? We certainly were. This is the amount of money given to these companies over and above what they earn from the normal commercial activities. Please carefully note that some of these corporations are literally the richest companies in the world.

Some of these groups are also engaging in the practice of biting the hand that feeds them. A case in point is Koch Industries. This infamous privately-held venture is at the bottom of the list, still though receiving over $500 million, but is meanwhile investing heavily in a vast array of propaganda “think tanks” designed to undermine Democracy in the United States. Yet the Koch’s have no trouble cashing government checks while paying huge sums to counter any environmental initiative that would affect their bottom line.

These are the true welfare queens sponging off of society to their benefit and our detriment. $163 billion could pay for a hell of a lot of college tuition, healthcare and maybe build some trains that go faster than the normal family car.

There’s a reason we have backward and behind-the-times infrastructure in this country compared to other far less affluent nations, and in the above lists, you’re looking at it.

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