The last Republican Congress justly earned a reputation for wasteful spending, particularly when it came to corporate welfare. Yet it appears the current Congress may do them one better. The last Congress spent over $90 billion per year on various subsidy programs, according to the Cato Institute. Yet, as a W$J editorial reports, the current Congress appears set to break the $100 billion mark.
The handouts for the rich that have a good chance of passing include the most expensive farm bill ever; a rise in the mortgage limits on loans that can be securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; some $2 billion in loan guarantees to ethanol producers; and expansions in flood and terrorism insurance to benefit home builders, mortgage banks, and real estate developers.
Perhaps, the Journal suggests, this helps explain recent trends in corporate campaign contributions.
If you want to know how good liberals can tolerate such largesse for the rich, keep in mind that in Washington quids often come with a quo. The latest FEC fundraising reports indicate that industry lobbyists have shifted their allegiance from Republicans and are now funneling cash to Democrats they expect to hold their majority. Roll Call newspaper, which covers Congress, reports that in the first half of 2007 business lobbyists gave "all or most of their cash to Democratic candidates and party committees."