The federal government collected $3.7 trillion in tax revenue in fiscal 2020. That money was used to fund a wide range of basic public services, including infrastructure and social safety net programs as well as defense. Not all government entities are taxpayer funded, however.
There are currently over a dozen institutions in the United States that, though they were created by the federal government, operate like a for-profit corporation. Though the U.S. Congress created these government corporations, they are typically run by a board of directors or an executive, and exist to meet needs that have not been met by the free market and achieve specific goals.
Using publicly available government reports, 24/7 Wall St. identified 14 businesses run by the U.S. government. Each of these entities provides market-oriented products or services and is designed to be financially self sufficient.
Several of the wholly-owned government corporations on this list were formed during the Great Depression under President Franklin Roosevelt. They were established to foster economic growth and instill confidence in financial institutions during a tumultuous time in U.S. history. By and large, they serve the same purpose today as they did in the 1930s. Here is a look at some of the worst market collapses in U.S. history.
While each of these entities was designed to be self-sustaining, not all of them are. Year after year, institutions on this list, like the U.S. Postal Service and Amtrak, are operating at a loss. According to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, without meaningful reform, the USPS will run out of money in 2022. Of course, accumulation of debt is by no means limited to companies created by Congress. Here is a look at the private sector companies with the biggest corporate debt.