Veronique de Rugy has a great blog post describing the hidden costs of corporate welfare. Federal budget numbers do not tell the whole story.
That cost, however, doesn’t include things like the higher price of goods and services that American consumers have to pay when the government grants special protection to special interests like it does with the sugar lobby.
Nor does it include the cost to our economy of the time, money, and energy that entrepreneurs and businesses spend asking politicians for those privileges, rent-seeking, as economists call it, instead of devising new ways to create value for customers.
Corporate welfare is more expensive than the tax subsidies and tax breaks calculated in the federal budget. It’s even more expensive than the cost of rent-seeking. The cost of corporate welfare also includes lost innovation and forgone consumer welfare that would have developed in the absence of government intervention.