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article imageOp-Ed: Corporate Welfare outpaces Social Welfare in Canada

By Daniel Lick     Nov 21, 2011 in Politics
Although accurate statistics are difficult to find, what stands out from any accounting of government spending over the last decade is that expenditures on corporate welfare are almost twice that of expenditures on social welfare.
Corporate welfare costs approximately 15.6 billion a year while social welfare costs around 8 billion a year.
Corporate welfare statistics are based on a 13 year assessment of business subsidies. Between 1994 and 2007, the federal government gave away 66.6 billion, the provinces - 110.3 billion, and municipalities - 25.8 billion, for a total of 203 billion, or 15.6 billion dollars a year.
That’s almost half of Canada's 500 billion national debt
Social welfare was calculated by the amount dispensed, the same way that corporate welfare was calculated. Based on the 2008-09 year, non-disabled recipients are being provided with a total of 8 billion dollars a year.
Giving wheelbarrows of cash away to corporations is usually justified by by the long discredited “trickle down” theory or vague references to “job creation.” In reality it produces few, if any, jobs and goes mostly to executive bonuses, where it is socked away in various securities and offshore bank accounts.
Money spent on social welfare, however, has an immediate payback.
According to the National Council of Welfare, if 12.6 billion had been spent to raise every Canadian above the poverty line, it would have resulted in a saving of almost 24 billion dollars.
It is important that Canadians are aware of one of our most expensive spending patterns—paying top-dollar on temporary fixes for the problems that grow out of poverty,” said Dr. John Rook, Chair of the Council.
Indirect costs drive up the cost of poverty.  Stable housing costs less than shelter, ambulance, police, hospital and other bills resulting from homelessness. Similarly, basic medicine costs far less than emergency wards, where people end up when they can’t afford medicine.  This pattern can be found in the justice system, education, employment, business and other areas.
In other words, social welfare spending actually results in an overall saving of taxpayer dollars; what's spent with one hand returns doubled to the other, in the form of decreased costs for health care, education, unemployment insurance, and policing.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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