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10 Welfare-Case Companies

Everyone knows solar companies depend on government handouts. But so does Big Oil. The list of who's on the dole, and why, might surprise you.

Should the government subsidize any industry? Most people would say yes. For all but the staunchest of free-market defenders, some amount of government spending is seen as necessary to spark growth and significant job creation, especially in budding industries.

But when the focus shifts to who is being subsidized, and why, opinions are quickly divided.

Should companies like Tesla (TSLA) and Chevy receive massive subsidies for electric-car production when certain practicalities about the technology haven't yet been nailed down, or when the cars being made are too expensive for the average buyer?

Do Americans feel that coal companies like Peabody Energy Corp (BTU), Rio Tinto Energy America (RTP), and Arch Coal (ACI) deserve taxpayer dollars when many would rather see the dirty industry shut down?

Is it logical that food-stamp money, which can't be used for cigarettes or alcohol, can be spent on sugary Coke (KO) or Pepsi (PEP), which leads to obesity and its associated costly diseases?

And why would BP (BP) and other Big Oil companies have access to tax cuts and subsidies at every stage of production, as was reported this summer in the middle of the BP gulf disaster? (Potentially more offensive: BP is planning to use tax credits to offload $10 billion of the cost of cleaning up.)

Here, Minyanville looks at 10 industries and corporations that accept some form of handout funding. Read carefully -- this is your dime.

Soft Drinks
  • Photo by SMC
Coke, Pepsi, and the Soda Industry
One argument says that allowing people to buy sugary soda with food stamps creates an industry subsidy.
By Matthew Mallon
Ocean Drill
  • Photo by Match Zimmerman
BP and Big Oil
Oil production is one of America's most heavily subsidized industries, and even this spring's disastrous spill may not change that.
By Diane Bullock
  • © Tesla Motors Inc.
Tesla and Electric Car Makers
Before holding its high-profile IPO, the electric car maker received a jolt of government funding.
By Diane Bullock
  • Photo by Fletcher6
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Big Banks
Have the big banks become addicted to the taxpayer-backed funding known as TLGP?
By Minyanville Staff
Home Products International
  • © Home Products International
HPI, America's Last Ironing Board Maker
Without tariffs on its Chinese competition, America's last ironing board manufacturer wouldn't survive.
By Diane Bullock
Coal Mining
  • © PRNewsFoto
Peabody, Rio Tinto, and Big Coal
Providing tax breaks for "clean coal" -- an oxymoronic concept -- is just another way to subsidize a dirty industry.
By Matthew Mallon
Nuclear Power
  • © PRNewsFoto/IBM
Southern Power Company and Nuclear Energy
Think nuclear power is risky? That point is indisputable -- if you're talking about the economics.
By Justin Rohrlich
  • © The Boeing Company
Boeing and Airplane Manufacturers
The airplane maker dares to complain about the competition's use of government handouts.
By Lisa LaMotta
  • © Archer Daniels Midland
ADM and Big Agriculture
More than 40% of the company's annual profits come from products that are either heavily subsidized or protected through trade tariffs.
By Justin Rohrlich
IBM Corporation
The company makes $100 billion in annual revenues, but it's not above accepting millions in taxpayer-funded incentives when cities bid to win Big Blue business.
By Diane Bullock
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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