Over Half of All U.S. Tax Subsidies Go to Four Industries. Guess Which Ones?

Citizens for Tax Justice has analyzed corporate tax rates from 2008 to 2010. The report [PDF] examines over half of the Fortune 500 companies

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the richest industries get the biggest subsidies, starting with finance and Big Energy.  That’s how the 1% operate.

Notably, 56 percent of the total tax subsidies went to just four industries: financial, utilities, tele-communications, and oil, gas & pipelines.

But hey, Solyndra got a $500 million loan and went bankrupt so that is story the media focuses on over and over again, rather than the big robbery in broad daylight.

h/t Think Progress and Daily Kos

18 Responses to Over Half of All U.S. Tax Subsidies Go to Four Industries. Guess Which Ones?

  1. MarkfromLexington says:

    This is a very important point.

    Can you help us put this in context?

    Where would the renewable energy and solar energy subsidies fit on this chart? What percent of the total subsidies we provide to industry?

  2. David Smith says:

    What is the total tax collected under this table? Only total subsidies are listed I was trying to money in vs money out for industries. If the financial effective tax rate is 15.5% and the subsidy is 16.8%, what does this mean in $$. My industry, engineering & construction, is clearly getting the short end of the stick @ 27.4% in and 0.2% out.

  3. Joe Romm says:

    Remember, these are tax subsidies, not all subsidies. They didn’t break out renewables. I’ll see if I can find those.

  4. Mike Roddy says:

    In 1997, I testified before two Congressional committees on timber industry subsidies’ skewing of the market, making it tough on competing materials. These take many forms, including basically free access to National Forest timber, historical giveaways of railroad land to timber companies in the West, and, worst of all, encouragement of clearcutting, the default method in the US.

    If a landowner cares for his forest and logs gently, he gets no breaks. If a timber company clearcuts, herbicides, tractors, laboratory seeds, and all the rest of it are tax writeoffs. These are taken soon after “harvest”.

    The result is that you can still buy a two by four for less than $2 in Home Depot, an absurd price. I’ve seen US fir for sale in forested countries like Venezuela, since they don’t have our subsidies.

    We use 25% of global wood products. This is a major contributor to deforestation and the IPCC estimated 18% of CO2 emissions. It’s happening here and in Canada, not just in Third World countries, as the press would have us believe.

  5. Mike Roddy says:

    Timber subsidies bear an obvious similarity to extractive industries such as gas and oil.
    They are based on the notion of unlimited resources, as if it was still 1890.

    These subsidies remain in place because of the political power of the industries who benefit. In the case of timber, NAHB works hard to perpetuate them. Oil and gas simply pay retail for their Congressmen and Presidential candidates. The same principle works for banking subsidies, which in theory deserve no help at all.

  6. Martin Palmer says:

    That 30 billion for the utilities must mean we’re subsidizing coal.

    And, with only a few percent leakage, natural gas is as bad as coal, and we must be subsidizing that, too, both in the utilities category and in the oil and gas category.

  7. Leif says:

    Every one of them is working hard to perpetuate the status quo and miss inform the public to their benefit.

    I ran across this ten minute TED talk this morning and it has made my day. Please take the time to watch it and pass it on.

  8. Steve says:

    Wouldn’t solar and wind subsidies be included in the electric utilities?

  9. here is a link to a graph that illustrates how much in federal subsidies go to 4 major types of energy related businesses

  10. moxy says:

    Your Obama, the Man of the Little People–
    & here I thought Tea Baggers were Hobbits

  11. Joe Romm says:

    Just the tax credits, if a utility got them.

  12. katym. says:

    “Citizens for Tax Justice has analyzed corporate tax rates from 2008 to 2010.”

    and what about the previous years?
    would be interesting to establish the great migration of funds from the needy to the greedy…

  13. mymy says:

    Thanks for making the comment section better!

    The part about subsidies for renewable energy seems important because of all the yelling these days in the newspapers about how these renewables like wind and solar are ‘subsidized’ as they start up — subsidies are making them economically viable. The claim is that this is anti=competitive, anti-free market.

    I guess the yellers only expect companies that are already super profitable, like oil, coal, timber and the financial industry should be subsidized?

  14. EDpeak says:

    Here’s a thought: it probably surpasses the 16.8% of Financials if you combine the oil/gas with the _portion_ of utilities that comes from fossil fuels (coal, ng,..)

    This is a reasonable combining of very closely related categories (

    I’m not sure if coal gets 50% of subsidies but it’ 50% of electic generation. Then add NG… It would be a significant fraction of that “14.0%” under utilities

    So fossil fuel and its utliity infrastructure would be _#1_ in receiving subsities


  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Paying the rich to destroy forests is common here too, although the MSM liars always talk of ‘jobs’, never profits as the driving force. The jobs are few, growing ever fewer as automation is introduced, and generally poorly paid, but the serfs are well-trained in hatred of ‘Greenies’ and are endlessly paraded to testify to the loss of their ‘way of life’. A system perfectly adapted to the process of life destruction, and nearing a hideous apotheosis. The grimmer grows the news, the more ferociously do the destroyers pursue their own, and our, destruction.

  16. Paul Revere says:

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. Get rid of ALL the subsidies. That can lower the federal deficit. Then have a carbon tax to raise revenue to allow the GOP to cut the top income tax rate.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The so-called ‘Free Market’ does not exist. What you have is a capitalist market where the weight of money always prevails. The organisation of society under this system is crony, insider, capitalism at its worst, with politics entirely bought and controlled by money power. Nothing trumps profit maximisation, not even, obviously, human survival. We are being destroyed, as a species, as coldly and deliberately as were the indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola, the passenger pigeon, the bison and the great whales.

  18. Artful Dodger says:

    “miss inform” – Brilliant, Lief! Just what we need to spread the word on Climate Change: Calendars! Thanks for that, bumper stickers should be provided!