Republicans are outraged for all the wrong reasons.
This past Friday, $5 billion was automatically slashed from the federal food stamps program, affecting the lives of 47 million Americans.
The USDA estimates that because of these cuts, a family of four who receives food stamps benefits will lose about 20 meals per month.
But these enormous cuts to food stamps aren’t enough for Republicans.
They still want to slash an additional $40 billion from the program in the name of reducing spending and federal debt.
Republicans love to argue that programs like SNAP – the federal food stamps program – and other social safety net programs put an unfair burden on American taxpayers, but if they just took a minute to crunch the numbers, they’d realize that’s flat out wrong.
In 2012, the average American taxpayer making $50,000 per year paid just $36 towards the food stamps program.
That’s just ten cents a day!
That’s less than the cost of a gumball.
But Republicans think that’s still too high a price to pay to help the neediest and most vulnerable Americans.
And when it comes to funding the rest of America’s social safety net programs, the average American taxpayer making $50,000 a year pays just over six dollars a year.
Simply put, the American taxpayer isn’t paying much for social safety net programs like food stamps and Medicare.
But we are paying a lot for the billions of dollars the U.S. government gives to corporate America each year.
The average American family pays a staggering $6,000 a year in subsidies to Republican-friendly big business.
And that’s just the average family. A family making more than $50,000 a year – say $70,000 a year – pays even more to pad the wallets of corporate America.
So where does some of that $6,000 that you and I are paying every year actually go?
For starters, $870 of it goes to direct subsidies and grants for corporations.
This includes money for subsidies to Big Oil companies that are polluting our skies and fueling climate change and global warming. Compare that to the $36 you and I pay for food stamps a year.
An additional $870 goes to corporate tax subsidies.
The Tax Foundation has found that the “special tax provisions” of corporations cost taxpayers over $100 billion per year, or roughly $870 per family.
But in reality, that number is much higher.
Citizens for Tax Justice found that the U.S. Treasury lost $181 billion in corporate tax subsidies, which means the average American family could be out as much as $1,600 per year.
Finally, of the $6,000 in corporate subsidies that the average American family pays each year, $1,231 of it goes to making up for revenue losses from corporate tax havens.
This money goes to recouping losses from giant transnational corporations like Apple and GE that hide their money overseas to boost profits and avoid paying taxes to help the American economy.
The bottom-line here is that American families are paying $6,000 or more per year to subsidize giant transnational corporations that are already making billions and billions of dollars in profit each year. In the past decade alone, corporations have doubled their profits.
Republicans on Capitol Hill keep suggesting that we can’t afford to help the poor in this country, and they’re wrong.
What we really can’t afford is doling out $100 billion each year to corporations that don’t need it.
That’s where the real outrage and the real news coverage should be.
It’s time to bring an end to corporate welfare, and to use those dollars to help those Americans who need it the most.
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