Appearing on “The Young Turks” Thursday, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) agreed with Republicans that cuts are needed to restore the nation’s fiscal outlook, but he wants to look in the last place conservatives are interested in curtailing: corporate welfare.
“If Republicans want to have a conversation about cuts, we should have a conversation about cuts,” Ellison, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told host Cenk Uygur. “Let’s start with Medicare Part D and say, ‘If you want to save money, you want to cut the deficit, let’s let there be competitive bidding for Medicare Part D prescription drugs. That would save about $150 billion.”
He added that eliminating oil, gas and coal tax breaks and subsidies would leave “another $100 billion” in government coffers. Ellison also suggested that America’s nuclear arsenal could be trimmed down to save even more money.
“My point is, if Republicans want to do cuts, we should do cuts, but we’re not going to hurt America’s working class and poor to do it.”
Excluding items Social Security and Medicare, which are paid for by participants, the government spent about $16.5 billion in 2011 on actual welfare, better known as the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, according to budget numbers compiled by the Congressional Research Service.
Conversely, the U.S. spent about $100 billion on corporate welfare in 2012 — defined as individual subsidies to corporations or industry groups — according to the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute.
This video is from “The Young Turks,” aired Thursday, January 3, 2013.