Data: Handout Bonanza


Since the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush has often said that taxpayers spend their money more wisely than the federal government. That sentiment seems to clash with the administration's willingness to prop up businesses and programs with federal subsidies, rather than leaving that money in citizens' hands to spend as they see fit.

The Cato Institute's Chris Edwards looked up the total number of subsidies handed out by the federal government since 1970. The chart below includes subsidies for states, cities, individuals, nonprofit groups, and businesses. The total number of subsidy programs has increased 25 percent since 2000.