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Corporate welfare for corporate polluters in Michigan

June 24, 2010

According to the business journal Michigan Senator’s Levin & Stabenow have announced that the US government is providing huge taxpayer subsidies to major corporations in Michigan for energy-efficient building technologies.

The US Department of Energy funded projects in Michigan total $6,641,523 and will go to just four companies. Three of the four companies to receive taxpayer funded welfare funds are Dow Chemical (will receive $2,955,156), Dow Corning Corp. (will receive $1,241,120) and the Whirlpool Corporation (will receive $2,042,700) all have a record of pollution and deceiving the public.

Dow Chemical has been producing toxic substances that have caused a tremendous amount of disastrous consequences for human health and environmental integrity, not to mention the suffering caused from napalm production. Dow Corning is partly owned by the Dow Chemical Company and they have a long history of testing on animals for their silicone-based products.

The Whirlpool Corporation has a long history of anti-union activity and in recent years has also been involved in racist campaigns of gentrification and displacement in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph area.

The business press reported this corporate welfare as “good” for Michigan, but it is important for us to seriously question this reality. First, why is it celebrated when corporations receive taxpayer money, but when poor people receive welfare they are vilified? Second, doesn’t government/taxpayer subsidies fly in the face of so-called free market principles, which call for limited or no government intervention with the economy? Third, why does the government and specifically Michigan Senators reward corporations with funding for energy efficiency when they have demonstrated not only a complete disregard for the environment, but a primary interest in increasing their own profits?

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