Top 1% Nabs $30B a Year in Federal 'Welfare'

Sen. Coburn investigates massive handouts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2011 12:23 PM CST
Updated Nov 19, 2011 11:30 AM CST
Tom Coburn: Millionaires Get $30B Yearly from US
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).   (Getty Images)

They’re already in the top 1%, yet they’re getting government handouts worth more than NASA’s budget. American millionaires rake in $30 billion a year from the feds, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn finds in a new report. That’s three times the EPA’s yearly allotment, yet it’s going to people like Jon Bon Jovi, who got US cash to raise bees, and Scottie Pippen, who received hundreds of thousands in agriculture subsidies while he was a Chicago Bull. Even billionaires like Ted Turner are cashing in, Newsweek reports.

People with seven-figure salaries have taken in $9 billion in Social Security since 2004. Unpaid taxes make up a vast portion of the money, with more than 1,500 millionaires avoiding paying a cent last year thanks to loopholes and accounting tricks. “The country is sucking wind right now,” says Coburn, who backs raising taxes on the rich. “We end up subsidizing the very wealthy and not helping the ones who really need the help.” Sure, he’s a deficit hawk—but Coburn’s “populist tenor could hardly be topped by an Occupy Wall Street protester,” notes Zeke Miller at Business Insider. (More Tom Coburn stories.)

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