The term "corporate welfare" entered the lexicon about three years ago. It aptly describes the wide range of federal programs that subsidize private industry.
A coalition was formed, across partisan lines, to weed out such programs - ranging from publicly built logging roads to crop subsidies (even for tobacco) to various federally funded research projects that benefit particular industries.
Success has been elusive. Nearly all the targeted programs are still in place. A few, we'd argue, should remain so. IMF funding, for instance, doesn't fit our definition of corporate welfare. But much of the $65 billion spent each year to aid corporations should go. It doesn't because the political clout of those who benefit protects this form of welfare.
That $65 billion may be a fraction of what government spends on various programs to aid the poor. But the latter programs are under constant fire and threat of reduction. The political untouchability of corporate welfare says a lot about Washington's skewed sense of fairness.