Stories

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Search results for "subsidies" ...

  • The New Food Economy and The Intercept: Amazon employees and the safety net

    As food stamps go online in the coming years, Amazon is poised to collect a large proportion of sales from the $70-billion program. Yet our investigation found that in at least five states, the company's own employees are disproportionately reliant on the program to feed their families. We framed these findings in contrast to the vast subsidies states and local governments provide the company in exchange for "good" jobs. Months before the conclusion of Amazon’s HQ2 search prompted mainstream outlets to wonder whether or not the company’s presence really benefits the communities that compete to host its operations, our reporting revealed that taxpayers subsidize Amazon's expansion every step of the way. It remains to be seen whether or not those investments pay off.
  • Growing Influence

    The passage of the 2014 Farm Bill was a two-year process that pitted farm subsidies against food stamps. The 2008 Farm Bill expired in 2012 and was set to be updated but easy passage was thwarted as Congress focused on the $17 billion in federal crop insurance payments issued to farmers that year due to a massive drought; meanwhile, lawmakers also focused on food stamp fraud. Growing Influence highlighted the bill’s impact on taxpayers by uncovering at least 600 companies that helped influence the trillion-dollar 2014 Farm Bill and the murky spending behind it between 2012 and the first quarter of 2014.
  • Adoption Subsidy

    Because of a confusing tangle of bureaucratic rules, adoptive parents in New York City continue to receive monthly government subsidies even after sending their adopted children back to foster care or kicking them out onto the street. The subsidy is meant to encourage parents to adopt "hard-to-place" children out of foster care and to provide for the children’s care. But in the event that an adoption does not work out, the city’s children services agency will not cut off the subsidy even when it learns that the parents are no longer caring for their kids, blaming restrictive state and federal rules for its inability to act. This means, as one NYC Family Court judge said, that a child in foster care “would not have enough money for a winter coat while their parents were getting a thousand dollars a month from the city.”
  • Adoption Subsidy

    Because of a confusing tangle of bureaucratic rules, adoptive parents in New York City continue to receive monthly government subsidies even after sending their adopted children back to foster care or kicking them out onto the street. The subsidy is meant to encourage parents to adopt "hard-to-place" children out of foster care and to provide for the children’s care. But in the event that an adoption does not work out, the city’s children services agency will not cut off the subsidy even when it learns that the parents are no longer caring for their kids, blaming restrictive state and federal rules for its inability to act. This means, as one NYC Family Court judge said, that a child in foster care “would not have enough money for a winter coat while their parents were getting a thousand dollars a month from the city.” The city’s refusal to act also means the government is in many cases double-paying for the children’s care: one set of payments going to the children’s new foster homes and another set going to the parents who have turned their backs on them.
  • Profiting Off the GI Bill

    “Profiting off the GI Bill” exposed how the landmark education benefit for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans had been stolen by for-profit schools that had received billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, despite leaving veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects.
  • Deals for Developers, Cash for Campaigns

    D.C. routinely awards real estate subsidies to encourage development but there has been little scrutiny of them and plenty of questions. For instance, how much have the subsidies cost taxpayers over time and are they really needed when the city has one of the country’s hottest real estate markets? The reporters examined thousands of pages of city documents on 110 developments receiving city subsidies in the past decade and nearly 100,000 campaign contributions for council, mayoral and other local races over that time. The investigation found the city awarded $1.7 billion in subsidies in the past decade — and more than a third went to ten developers that donated the most campaign cash over that time. A dozen developers spent the most campaign cash the year their subsidy was approved and there were 10 dates in which three or more companies developing a project together donated to a single candidate on the same day. What’s more, less than five percent of the subsidies went to the city’s poorest areas with a fourth of the city’s population, and developers failed to deliver on pledged public benefits for at least half the projects examined.
  • Deals For Developers

    A WAMU investigation found the D.C. City Council awarded $1.7 billion in real estate subsidies to 133 groups in the past decade — and more than a third of the subsidies went to ten developers that donated the most campaign cash over that time. What’s more, less than five percent of the subsidies went to the city’s poorest areas with a fourth of the city’s population, and developers failed to deliver on pledged public benefits for at least half the projects examined.
  • Can You Fight Poverty With A Five-Star Hotel?

    My story is about the World Bank’s private investing arm, the International Finance Corporation, the IFC. It reveals that the IFC is a profit-oriented, deal-driven organization that not only fails to fight poverty, its stated mission, but may exacerbate it in its zeal to earn a healthy return on investment. The article details my investigation through hundreds of primary source and other documents, dozens of interviews around the world and my trip to Ghana to see many projects first-hand, to recount that the IFC hands out billions in cut-rate loans to wealthy tycoons and giant multinationals in some of the world’s poorest places. My story details the IFC’s investments with a who’s who of giant multinational corporations: Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsubishi, Vodafone, and many more. It outlines that the IFC funds fast-food chains like Domino's Pizza in South Africa and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jamaica. It invests in upscale shopping malls in Egypt, Ghana, the former Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. It backs candy-shop chains in Argentina and Bangladesh; breweries with global beer behemoths like SABMiller and with other breweries in the Czech Republic, Laos, Romania, Russia, and Tanzania; and soft-drink distribution for the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and their competitors in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mali, Russia, South Sudan, Uzbekistan, and more. The criticism of most such investments -- from a broad array of academics, watchdog groups and local organizations in the poor countries themselves -- is that these investments make little impact on poverty and could just as easily be undertaken without IFC subsidies. In some cases, critics contend, the projects hold back development and exacerbate poverty, not to mention subjecting affected countries to pollution and other ills.
  • Deals for Developers, Cash for Campaigns

    Construction cranes can be seen throughout Washington, D.C. Less visible are the symbiotic relationships between land developers and city officials awarding tax breaks and discounted land deals. Those government subsidies are meant to revive neighborhoods, and to create jobs and affordable housing. But in some cases, the benefits never materialized, or the subsidies simply weren’t needed. And what began as a targeted economic development tool now looks to some like government hand outs that could have paid for other city services. A WAMU investigation found the D.C. City Council awarded $1.7 billion in real estate subsidies to 133 groups in the past decade — and more than a third of the subsidies went to ten developers that donated the most campaign cash over that time. What’s more, less than five percent of the subsidies went to the city’s poorest areas with a fourth of the city’s population, and developers failed to deliver on pledged public benefits for at least half the projects examined.
  • Daycare Deception

    This series of reports shows how lax government oversight has allowed state subsidized child-care centers to fraudulently collect millions of tax dollars. We found new centers popping up like dandelions to bilk the system. In one case, a former county welfare worker used her connections to open a daycare that collected more than 2 million in subsidies while offering very little actual child care. In another case, a provider hired her brother to provide food to the child care center at double the normal cost. That brother is now serving prison time for supporting a Somali terrorist organization.