August 9, 2022


On Corporate Welfare: Democrats and Republicans Are Waging the Same War

By: Jordan Smith

As the 2022 election cycle creeps closer and closer, candidates across the aisle have become increasingly more vocal about the issues they promise to either champion or fight back against if elected. This year, a recurring theme in numerous Republican campaigns has emerged centered on the boogeyman of corporate welfare.

So, what’s interesting about this fight against corporate welfare? It’s a battle that’s also being fought on the other side of the aisle.  

If the rhetoric of “putting an end to corporate welfare” and prioritizing “people over profit” sounds familiar, that’s because you’ve heard it for years from Democratic leaders who have maintained that industries such as oil, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, big technology, and defense manufacturers receive special treatment in the form of loopholes, tax breaks, and subsidies supposedly for spending millions on lobbying for right-leaning causes or making exorbitant contributions to Republican campaigns—all at the expense of American taxpayers who ultimately foot the bill.

More recently, Republicans have waged a war not against corporate welfare, but “woke” corporate welfare (also referred to as “corporate wokeness,” “woke capitalism,” “woke corporatism,” and “woke corporate capitalism”). The difference here is the emerging trend for large corporations to volunteer to serve as colossal agents of activism for the leftist agenda and then be rewarded for it by the Democratic majority in the form of these same loopholes, tax breaks, and subsidies. 

Enormous companies such as Disney, Coca-Cola, and Delta Air Lines have taken their opinions on American politics public and dedicated substantial resources to casting a major influence on policy decisions with intentions that align almost exclusively with those of the left. 

Because CEOs and heads of Fortune 500 companies are not elected officials, Republicans have been quick to take to the offense to warn against this “woke” corporate welfare that could too quickly become a Marxist system that makes room for large businesses, unions, and actual government officials to have a seat at the table when it comes time for government decisions to be made.

A huge issue that Republican leaders are finding with this rapidly spreading “woke” corporate welfare system is that large companies are not solely owned by those who are taking to the pulpit to declare their political stances on current issues. Even the smallest-dollar shareowners have a stake in the company, and through their investment, are inadvertently advancing causes that they may or may not agree with. 

Aside from shareholders, even the lowest-level employees of these large companies are investing their own capital in furthering these left-wing movements by showing up to work each day and spending their time and energy funneling money toward the causes.

With an economy like we’re facing today, paying attention to where your dollars and efforts are being spent is more important than ever, and it seems that as long as left-leaning government officials are offering incentives and political power to large companies, they will continue to expend resources toward promoting these leftist ideals.

A dangerous cycle is beginning to establish itself wherein big government offers handouts to big companies as long as they use their resources to promote left-wing causes. And with the overwhelming nature of cancel culture looming over America, corporations are only benefitting and gaining more business from appearing to be on the “woke” side of current events.

When it comes to the war on regular corporate welfare, Democrats are arguing that the special government handouts that large companies are receiving only hurt the American people by forcing industries such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure to suffer by not receiving the funding they need from the taxes brought in by big businesses.

In the end, the argument is this: the priority of big businesses should not be to abuse their stakeholders by using their influence to control American politics, and the priority of the government should not be to abuse taxpayers by allowing big companies to have a say in American politics. 

While the jargon can all be very misleading with the smallest nuance such as the word “woke” making the difference between one extreme of the political spectrum and the other, we are running out of terms to coin the same battle both sides are fighting. 

Try to keep up: Republicans are against most welfare programs, but are pro-capitalism and supposedly pro-corporate welfare, while definitely being anti- “woke” corporate welfare, also known as “woke” capitalism. Meanwhile, Democrats are pro-welfare programs, anti-capitalism, and anti-corporate welfare, but pro- “woke” corporate welfare, also known as “woke” capitalism. Confused yet? 

There’s a very common thread through all of these positions, but it would take some serious, patient, level-headed conversation from the top-down across the aisle to find it. In today’s polarized, uncompromising political world, finding that thread is not likely, and opposing candidates will continue to fight against each other using nearly identical rhetoric–all the while, confusing American voters.

As long as this confusion worsens, we will stray further from unification and continue to raise the volume on the voice of large corporations and, in turn, drown out the true voice that our nation was founded on: the voice of the people.