The federal government doesn’t just provide welfare to struggling families. On the contrary, it also gives huge sums of money to some of the biggest and wealthiest businesses in the world, amounting to about $100 billion per year through federal subsidies.

Corporate subsidies, or “corporate welfare” to its opponents, are supposedly designed to lower prices and employ Americans. But such well-intentioned justifications fail to materialize and the subsidies end up lining the pockets of corporate executives at no benefit to the consumers, or propping up unsuccessful businesses that aren’t meeting market demand.

The biggest recipients of corporate welfare are not struggling businesses, but rather very successful companies. The country’s top corporate welfare recipient is Boeing, one of the largest defense contractors in the world. Boeing receives a whopping $13.4 billion from taxpayers each year. Other household names at the top include Intel, General Motors, Ford, Fiat, Nike and Shell. Each rakes in between two and six billion dollars annually. Unfortunately, when businesses solicit money from taxpayers, rather than customers, incentives change.

In a free and open economy, consumer spending, not government rewards, signals businesses to act, and businesses are incentivized to listen to consumers. When the government intervenes, it creates artificial signals that are not based on market demand. Rather, they’re incentivized to make political friends and ask for favors. This does nothing for consumers and fuels cronyism and inefficiency.

Instead of focusing resources on customer satisfaction, companies now spend incredible amounts on lobbying. In the last eight years, American businesses have spent more than $3 billion per year on lobbying, more than doubling what was spent annually in the late ‘90s. On top of traditional lobbying, companies also spend millions of dollars funding the campaigns of candidates like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to get a friend in the White House. Companies make generous campaign donations sometimes to maintain federal subsidies.

Despite ethics laws, favors are granted to the companies and lobbyists who have the most connections. Such corporate subsidies rarely add value to the economy, nor do they benefit consumers.

If the United States ended federal subsidies today, these problems would largely go away. Corporations would go back to making money by pleasing customers instead of pleasing politicians. If the money spent on subsidies was left in the hands of taxpayers, they would spend it wherever they think is most valuable for themselves instead of having it spent wherever the politicians think is most valuable to their personal careers. Removing federal subsidies would result in better market efficiency and more valuable goods in society. Eliminating these subsidies would also take away more than 20 percent of our current deficit spending.

Some of the inefficiencies are not visible, because we’ve never had a truly free economy. However, some of the inefficiencies are very apparent.

One of the clearest examples is the Obama-connected Solyndra scandal. The company received guaranteed loans, and an investigative report showed that the company was constantly playing politics, instead of producing services, until it went bankrupt in 2011. Even as they were going bankrupt, top CEO’s were still receiving tens of thousands in  bonuses, on top of their already high salaries.

Another lesser-known example is the government’s attempt to subsidize broadband in rural areas, which led to much poorer results than promised. Forty percent of the projects were not even started by the time they were supposed to be completed. Analyses found that the subsidies did not have an effect on rural penetration and “that about 60 percent of subsidies went to rural providers’ overhead rather than to investment.”

Regardless of the business model, the free market will always be a better solution for people overall.

Tyler Arnold is a communications associate at Cause of Action Institute