Haley Barbour's Crimes Against Capitalism


Writing at The Daily Caller, Chris Moody reports that Mississippi governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Haley Barbour thinks farm subsidies should trump the free market:

The federal government doled out about $20 billion to farmers last year, including some with net worth in the millions. Barbour made a trip to Iowa this week where he said he could support some kind of cut in those subsidies, but in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, the seven-year governor said he's in favor of keeping the Depression-era welfare programs going.

"Some of them are very important," Barbour told TheDC when asked if he supported taxpayer subsidies for farmers. "What we want to have in the United States is abundant food at a responsibly low price. To do that, we have to have an appropriately large supply of agricultural products. When sales volumes are good, prices are reasonable, there shouldn't be any farm subsidies. But for natural reasons, nature, or what other countries are doing in terms of how they're handling their markets, sometimes it is appropriate to have farm subsidies."

As The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney points out, this isn't the first time Barbour has rejected the free market in favor of crony capitalism:

He touts job growth down in Mississippi under his governing, and some of that is due to tort reform, but some of it is do to rank favoritism and special-interest deals more akin to Obama than Reagan—for instance, subsidies for a biofuels plant.

Let's add eminent domain abuse to that sorry list of Barbour's misdeeds. As I noted in this column, Barbour vetoed a much-needed state law in May 2009 that would have prevented the use of eminent domain "for the purpose of taking or damaging privately owned real property for private development or for a private purpose; or for enhancement of tax revenue; or for transfer to a person, nongovernmental entity, public-private partnership, corporation or other business entity." In other words, the law was specifically designed to prevent Mississippi from engaging in Kelo-style eminent domain takings where private property was seized from its rightful owner and then handed over to some politically-connected developer. As an explanation for this shameful betrayal of property rights, Gov. Barbour said it was necessary in order to lure corporations to the state. In fact, in his veto statement, Barbour admitted that if he hadn't promised Toyota that he would use eminent domain to secure a piece of contested land for its Blue Springs facility, "Toyota would have broken off negotiations with us and chosen one of the other states competing with us for the project."

So there you have it. Haley Barbour supports farm subsidies, corporate welfare, and eminent domain abuse. Not exactly an attractive presidential platform.