Another Corporate Welfare Scandal
In the midst of a record-breaking budget deficit in 2005, who is most deserving of welfare handouts from the government? According to Congress, the answer is Wal-Mart.
Here is a news update from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
The highway bill they passed is a 1,132 page mammoth that contains something for almost everyone in the nation. In fact, the legislation contained 4,128 political earmarks at a total cost of $12.4 billion. Nearly every member of the House got a few projects for their district, and the billís authors cashed in big.
Some of these projects that received earmarked funds are important, such as the $2 million for the rebuilding of the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati. But thereís one earmark tucked into the bill that will make your head spin. In our ten years of congressional oversight, we rate this as one of the worst examples of corporate welfare weíve ever seen.
First, think about the following question. If there is one company that is so big, so rich, and so powerful that it should never get a federal dime, who would you name? A short list that might spring to mind would include GM, ExxonMobil, Microsoft and a few others. Did you think about Wal-Mart? If so, you get our gold star.
In our mind, there is no one that is less deserving of federal support than Wal-Mart, yet it gets $37 million from Uncle Sam in the transportation bill. Last year, Wal-Mart made $20,000 profit every minute of every day for a total of $10.3 billion dollars on the year. Other retail giants didnít do nearly so well: Targetís profit per minute was $6,084, and Costcoís profit per minute was $1,711.
Here are the details. The federal highway bill contains $37 million for widening and extending the road in Bentonville, Arkansas that is the main access point to the headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Republican Representative John Boozman (R-AR), whose district includes Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s headquarters, was largely responsible for getting the earmark. He proposed an amendment to the highway bill to exempt retailers, such as Wal-Mart, from federal truck driving rules. To get this amendment to go away, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) offered Boozman an additional $34 million for the road in his final revisions to the bill.
Wal-Mart says the project will make it easier for their workers to get to their jobs. The company has grown at a much faster rate than the street has been improved they say. Weíre trying to empathize, but the bottom line is that Wal-Mart is the largest company in the world, and they should be able to afford their own road.
To put it in perspective, Wal-Martís one project comprised 35% of all Arkansas earmarks. One Arkansas Highway Commissioner that represents northwest Arkansas told the Associated Press that the $37 million is too much to spend on one project when the state has so many other priorities.
As the largest, most profitable corporate giant in the world, Wal-Mart should not get a penny of taxpayer money. If they need a new road, they can build it themselves, and let Uncle Sam send the money to someone who really needs and deserves it.
For more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500 ext. 110
or by email at email@example.com
TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
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