Some kinds of crony capitalism are obvious. Planes that cost billions of dollars but don’t fly. Subsidies to corn farmers. Bailouts for banks that blow themselves up. Patents and regulations that protect PHARMA. Government employee unions.
But some crony capitalism is not so obvious. Our current welfare system is many respects deeply crony. It encourages dependence on the state and in so doing incentivizes voters to support politicians who then seek to expand the welfare system. This in turn creates yet more dependence and more bureaucracy which then in turn helps the crony politicians. But it’s not just this crony welfare loop we are talking about.
Welfare is big corporate business. Companies seek to get their products on the list of items that can be purchased using food stamps. Consider for a moment how much Coca-Cola makes thanks to food welfare. Welfare feeds a significant part of the company’s bottom line. And as these sugary and starchy products are made that much easier to purchase many poorer folks develop weight issues. The poor in this country are much more likely than others to be overweight. This state of affairs then often creates health issues down the road, which are then again often paid for by taxpayers. There are companies that then benefit from these health welfare programs. It’s a weird bad health cycle and it is facilitated and perpetuated to a large degree by our crony economic system.
And when over half of children are on these programs it is that much tougher to break out of this cycle. But that is what many interests would prefer. (Though from the politicians to the corporations they’ll never say it.)
(From CNS News)
Twenty years ago, in 1998, according to Census Bureau data, only 36.9 percent of Americans under 18 lived in a household receiving means-tested government assistance…
…America has now seen four straight years — 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 — during which a majority of those under 18 lived in a household taking means-tested benefits.