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The big American banks get all of the scrutiny for taking bailout funds during the great recession of 2008. It wasn’t just the big banks and U.S. automakers that went begging to the government for loans during the financial crisis. There were many foreign banks and American firms outside of the banking sector that needed Uncle Sam’s money to stay afloat. So, what firms would have gone under without government funds?

According to an article in The Washington Post, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Barclays (NYSE:BCS), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Toyota (NYSE:TM), Harley Davidson (NYSE:HOG) and UBS (NYSE:UBS) all needed bailout money to stay afloat. Add them to the list with General Electric (NYSE:GE) and every other company that was in danger of going under in 2008 and 2009. Companies were so desperate for access to government funds that I expected to read that Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) was converting to a bank holding company.

These companies get deals that you and I would never qualify for. They borrow money at interest rates that are so low that they basically pay nothing in interest. Once things are normal, they go back to doing business as usual. How did these companies qualify for a bailout? What systemic risk did Toyota or Harley Davidson impose to the U.S. economy? Too many companies are engaging in the practice of privatizing their gains and publicizing their losses.

Why is it when firms like these get trillions of dollars in assistance from the government and those loans are never referred to as corporate welfare?