In the depths of the Great Depression, the U.S. government decided to intervene heavily in the private sector to stimulate economic growth. A favored mechanism was to restructure an industry, through the use of subsidies.

The technique worked so well that the concept of subsidy expanded to the point where it is being used to aid much of American industry. Subsidies can take the form of tax abatements, loan guarantees, and direct investments by the government.

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