The Beacon Center of Tennessee is getting the word out about a short documentary it produced to educate the public about corporate welfare.
Called “Rigged: The Injustice of Corporate Welfare,” the documentary runs just under 20 minutes. It takes a look at the impact of corporate welfare on small business owners struggling to compete against corporations receiving taxpayer dollars.
The Beacon Center is a Nashville-based nonprofit that promotes free market research and solutions.
“Beacon Center’s hope is that the documentary will be a useful tool for people who are either undecided or against us,” said Mark Cunningham, the center’s director of marketing and communications, in a press release. “It offers a look at the issue from a perspective they may have never considered. They have heard about all the ‘job creation’ and economic benefits of corporate welfare deals. Our goal is to tell the stories of the real people whom tax incentives and handouts negatively affect—stories that haven’t been told. We believe that, for far too long, free market types have merely tried to dispute the economic claims and have failed to humanize the issue. The human cost is front and center in our video.”
The documentary features interviews with two furniture store owners in Memphis who had to compete against Ikea, which has received $9.5 million in taxpayer funding. The documentary also features Glenn Reynolds, the well-known “Instapundit” blogger and law professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
The Beacon Center has also sought to educate the public about corporate welfare through its annual Pork Report and its website, endcorporatehandouts.com. The website details the taxpayers dollars in Tennessee that have gone to corporations such as HCA Healthcare, Nissan, Bridgestone, Dow Corning, Amazon, Federal Express, General Motors, and the film industry.
In a piece for The American Conservative, Cunningham said that the center’s educational efforts aim “to show Tennesseans that while these incentive packages may create some (taxpayer-funded) jobs at big corporations in the state, they are anti-capitalist, and are giving an unfair advantage to big corporations at the expense of small businesses. It was also our goal to show people that government money should not go to private business. While our group, The Beacon Center, is a big fan of tax cuts, we want tax cuts for all businesses, not just a select few corporations with political connections.”