Thursday, December 06, 2012

New York Times: An Overview of Corporate Welfare in the USA

US Crony Capitalism 101: A series examining business incentives and their impact on jobs and local economies.

Fantastic three-part article series from the New York Times this week, exploring the nuances of government subsidization of  private business in the United States, and revealing some of the dynamics and troubling pitfalls arising in our massive American corporate welfare state. Times reporter Louise Story has truly done a yeoman's job on this blockbuster project; so we're delighted to link these heavily-researched stories on what might otherwise be considered a slow Weber County Forum news day.

Check it out, O Gentle Ones... a humdinger of an investigative journalistic series which we'll endearingly subtitle "Crony Capitalism 101":
As these articles reveal, these corporate welfare public-private "partnerships" often don't prove to be, shall we say, the cash cows they're proposed to be.  Left-leaning Daily Kos's opening paragraph summary is even a trifle more harsh in its judgment:
It was the story of the weekend. A searing three-part investigative report by Louise Story at The New York Times describing in detail the gigantic rip-off that corporations across America extract from state, county and municipal governments when they start shopping for a place to land, expand or just stick around. "Rip-off," is not a word that Story or her editors chose, but that's the reality behind her exposé of all those tax breaks, land deals, infrastructure upgrades and assorted other arrangements desperate governments offer to lure companies to their turf or keep them in town.
You can check out the full Daily Kos writeup here, of course, if you'd really like to "get an earful":
Of course as all regular WCF readers already know, both The State of Utah and and our own Ogden City have been (and remain) fully geared-up for similar expressions of local and state government pro-corporate largesse.  In this connection Ms. Story drills down to the Utah numbers, distilled from the impressive "searchable" database which she's assembled:
We Utahns can breath a sigh of relief, we suppose.  It could have been a lot worse, we guess. Having said that, we'll add that it would no doubt have been enlightening to have been able to drill down to the Ogden City numbers by themselves.

We'll issue Ms. Story a WCF Tip O' The Hat for her most impressive work; and for WCF political wonks, the floor's now open.


Dan S. said...

Thanks, Rudi, for highlighting this monumental work by the NYTimes. I can hardly imagine how much time they spent putting together that database.

I note that Utah's largest corporate subsidy--$85 million-- is going to Procter & Gamble in Box Elder County. This fact should be understood in conjunction with Brigham City's apparent need to spend another $100k to figure out how to promote jobs and business growth.

Of course, the Times acknowledges that their database is incomplete. It would be interesting to compile a list of the subsidies here in Ogden that we know of from other sources, and then compare it to what the Times found, to get a sense of how much they missed.

rudizink said...

My pleasure, Dan. Actually I've been champing at the bit to find the time to get these links posted since the third installment appeared on the NYT site late Monday.

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