After doing some preliminary research on the 2016 Republican field about their positions on subsidies I'm left with the conclusion that Ted Cruz is the only reliably anti-subsidy candidate. Even Rand Paul has a questionable record on this subject.

Was there another major Republican candidate (they must have announced at some point) that has consistently rejected subsidies or made a plausible argument that his or her position has changed after making the mistake of promoting/voting for subsidies? Another valid answer would be one that finds an example where Ted Cruz promoted or voted for subsides.

The definition of subsidy would include any payment of money to a specific industry or company not directly linked to the business of government (ie private defense contractors, road builders ect.). Some common forms of subsidies supported by Republican candidates are crop insurance programs and energy subsidies. As Bobson pointed out, some of the "subsidies" I'm talking about are actually tax exceptions or credits that benefit a specific industry or segment of an industry, rather than an instance of the government transferring funds directly.

  • 2
    This might be tough to answer due to definitions. There are very few direct subsidy laws but a whole lot of indirect ones that may or may not count depending on one's definition. For instance, some could argue that his vote for the flood insurance act to artificially keep rates below what they should be is a form of subsidy benefiting companies. Or that the Keystone Pipeline is an indirect subsidy for the oil industry.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 19:53
  • @blip Flood insurance is very clearly a subsidy and is heavily backed by the national realtor's association. That might make for a good answer. The pipeline authorization in itself isn't a subsidy but the specific tax breaks that already exist and will go to oil infrastructure companies that will build it definitely count. I think these issues can be brought up on an answer by answer basis.
    – lazarusL
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 20:12
  • You also might want to expressly include tax incentives as subsidies. They're not payments, but they serve the same purpose. I'd probably use a definition like "Any action taken to reduce the cost of doing business of a company because of the industry they are in"
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 22:28
  • @Bobson Good point. Edited.
    – lazarusL
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 23:56
  • I understand why this is a hot topic and we are all tired of the backscratching going on but we have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to defining a subsidy. He was trying to help out Texans with high flood insurance premiums along the cost. I guess more than anything else we should judge a tree by it's fruit. If the only thing you can find on Ted Cruz is a flood insurance bill, and the people really do need relief, well then, i say hats off to Cruz and next to his name I would mark down a goose egg next to subsidies Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 4:07

1 Answer 1


No, Ted Cruz was not the only one

Carly Fiorina was reported by the Des Moines Register as being in favor of ending all subsidies:

"The right answer ultimately is that the government shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing anything," Fiorina said. "Subsidies and a variety of tax credits distort the markets."

Although the context was regarding ethanol subsidies, the argument she put forward applies to any industry, and later on in the piece was further quoted as saying:

Ultimately, she said, the answer is to phase out all subsidies. "But we need to do it at the same time. We need to phase out sugar, oil and renewable fuels but do it at the same time so that we're not disadvantaging any one state or industry," she said.

As far as I know, she did not deviate from this position.

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