Matters of Scale - Subsidies: The Other Side of the Coin

Amount Indonesia received in 1990 for timber concessions, many of which were sold to wealthy timber magnates with close ties to President Suharto
$416 million
Amount by which the actual world-market value exceeded the price charged, and by which Indonesian taxpayers were therefore forced to subsidize the magnates' windfall
$2.1 billion
Amount Australia provides annually in subsidies to some of its most environmentally damaging industries
$4.5 billion
Amount the environmental impact of those industries is expected to cost Australian taxpayers each year, according to a report commissioned by the Department of the Environment
$5.9 to $6.7
Subsidies German taxpayers paid n 1982 to keep domestic coal production competitive with imports
$15,400 per coal miner
Amount paid in 1995, after subsidies doubled and employment dropped by half
$72,800 per coal miner
Amount oil and gas companies gave to political campaigns in the United States between 1993 and mid-1996
$10.3 million
Value of the special tax breaks oil and gas companies received over the same period
$4 billion
Average annual amount the U.S. Forest Service lost on timber sales from 1989 to 1994, according to actual net cash flows to the U.S. Treasury
$282 million
Average annual profits claimed by the Forest Service, after essentially ignoring the costs of road building and reforestation, among other costs, which amount to large subsidies to the timber industry, several Pacific state counties and the Forest Service bureaucracy itself
$510 million
Amount the U.S. government allows companies to give income-tax free to employees for free parking each month
Amount companies can give income-tax free to employees for mass transit each month
Sources: Gavin Gilchrest, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 July 1996. David Malin Roodman, Paying the Piper: Subsidies, Politics, and the Environment, Worldwatch Paper 133 (Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute, December 1996). Randal O'Toole, "National Forest Timber Sales Losses in 1993 and 1994," Different Drummer (Thoreau Institute, Oak Grove, OR, Spring 1995).