TARP

Memo to Republicans: Offer to End Corporate Welfare As We Know it

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People always forget that first part

Over at the Washington Examiner, Timothy P. Carney offers a free-market populist critique of President Barack Obama in the run-up to the phoney-baloney debt ceiling deadline:

Obama delivered the game-winning RBI for the Wall Street bailout in 2008, and rewarded the bailout's authors, Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner, with renomination and a promotion, respectively.

The president's signature legislative accomplishment, the 2010 health care law, was championed by the drugmakers, the biggest single-industry lobby in Washington and one of the most profitable industries in America.

Obama in 2008 shattered fundraising records including the biggest-ever hauls from Wall Street, the defense industry, drug companies, tech companies, HMOs, and more—and he'll likely repeat that feat this time around.

So, on debt talks, if Obama can focus on tiny quirks in the tax code—such as five-year depreciation for corporate jets as opposed to seven-year depreciation for commercial jets—why don't Republicans declare war on corporate welfare, putting the president in the position of defending his Reverse-Robin Hood policies? Obama wants to soak the rich by raising their taxes? Why not soak big business by taking away their taxpayer-funded goodies?

Start with the handouts such as billions in direct grants, in the name of "green energy," to big, well-connected companies like Florida Power & Light. Then there are the green energy loan guarantees, also enriching revolving-door lobbyists and Big Business.

Along the same lines, Republicans could block this year's reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, a corporate-welfare agency that Obama has been steadily expanding. A majority of all of Ex-Im's loans and long-term guarantees subsidize Boeing sales. Banks love this agency, too, because it provides private profit and socialized risk.

Whenever there's a will, we have The Way

Imagine Republicans running to protect taxpayers and reduce the debt by abolishing Ex-Im, while Obama stands with Boeing, GE and Halliburton in preserving this Fannie Mae for manufacturers.

Speaking of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Republicans should try to end those sinkholes. Let Obama, the Realtor lobby and the banks stick up for corporate welfare. Ending ethanol supports would be another no-brainer.

But it's not just handouts Republicans should target. […] [T]he Mattel-backed Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act—a death sentence to small toymakers—is one of many other regulatory robberies that a populism-fueled GOP would target.

I have larded the above passage with relevant Reason links.

Sadly, as Carney points out (and as some of those links attest), "the GOP track record suggests this won't happen."

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  1. Ziggy zaggy, ziggy zaggy!

    Hoy, hoy, hoy!

  2. “the GOP track record suggests this won’t happen.”

    Because, as a party, the Republicans are no more interested in small government than the Democrats are. People forget that Reagan hijacked the Republican party, nearly defeating a sitting president for his own party’s nomination, then dominating the nomination the next cycle against the will of their leadership.

  3. Oh never fear, Obama will throw a speech at it and make it all good lol.

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  4. I just can’t stand how Obama proposes to end subsidies for oil companies and re-distribute the subsidies to “green” energy companies.

    Isn’t this the typical liberal pathology? “I don’t like this, but I like this, so let’s spend money on what I like!”

    They’re selfish little cunts, aren’t they?

    1. To people of the authoritarian mindset, picking winners is part of the legitimate function of government. That’s why they are so invested in partisan politics, because when the right people are in charge, they pick the right winners.

      1. But winners have already been picked. How do you make up for decades of subsidies and an entire infrastructure for fossil fuel energy? Pretty convenient for them to declare an end to all picking of winners right when alternatives are viable.

        1. Speaking of selfish little cunts…

        2. “declare an end to all picking of winners right when alternatives are viable.”

          You’ve neatly summed up libertarian philosophy for many. It applies to social issues as well: “Sure, blacks and women were held down by coercive measures for centuries and as a result face disparities in wealth and cultural stereotypes that still today lead to disparities in wealth and power, but any corrective action would be as wrong as the action that led to that result, so let’s stop picking winners right….now!”

          1. “It applies to social issues as well”

            And my critique of Tony’s point applies to them as well. We don’t really KNOW who would be a winner or looser absent this past history. We could GUESS, but we don’t know. Any attempt to artificially pick winners and losers merely creates resentment and hatred.

            1. I don’t think it’s fantastical to think that a guess that ages of enforced slavery, segregation and such has something to do with the consistent disparities between blacks and whites is not correct for example. It’s not that hard to make these connections.

              1. You can make an educated guess about groups, but which INDIVIDUALS within that group? That is my point. You might pick the wrong ones. Again, best to let the market work itself out.

              2. Yeah, and decades of welfare, drug war, and tough on crime has just sooo helped Black America!

              3. That’s why most Chinese immigrants are stuck in the low-paid railroad construction, mining, and laundry industries

              4. To believe that you must be inherently RACIST, MNG.

            2. Any wrong associated with distorting the market in this matter especially pales in comparison to the wrong being committed by current market realities. The market has failed to produce clean energy on a necessary scale, which is something that is necessary beyond reasonable dispute. If you don’t want government interfering then figure out how to make the market innovate in the service of human betterment like you claim it is supposed to.

              1. “market has failed to produce clean energy on a necessary scale, which is something that is necessary beyond reasonable dispute.”

                Let me guess, you define “clean” as sans carbon dioxide?

                Besides, we do not have a free market in energy so your “point” is mute.

                1. so your point is mute

                  It’s “moo”. “Your point is ‘moo'”.

                  See, it’s like a cow’s opinion — it’s moo.

                  1. so your point is mute
                    It’s “moo”. “Your point is ‘moo'”.

                    Well, it was mute as well. Just sayin’

              2. The market has failed to produce clean energy on a necessary scale, which is something that is necessary beyond reasonable dispute.

                If you’re using anything except market signals to determine what scale of green energy production is necessary, then you have your head stuffed too far up your ass to have an opinion worth listening to.

        3. ” How do you make up for decades of subsidies and an entire infrastructure for fossil fuel energy? ”

          If a market imbalance actually exists, it will correct itself over time. Problem is, we don’t really KNOW what the true market balance would be if we removed governmental incentives. The best thing to do is to let the market itself decide. Any attempt to pick NEW winners and losers would merely compound the problem.

          1. “The best thing to do is to let the market itself decide.”

            But the point is that government intervention is going to skew that market for perhaps ages.

            We have a crappy gas station near where I live that consistently charges 20-30 cents more per gallon and has terrible service. But the government put an interestate with an exit ramp right next to it and it flourishes. it will continue to flourish for ages by simply allowing the “market itself decide” in the context of that single, decades past government decision…

            1. So put up a gas station across the street and charge 10 cents less than they do.

              Wait, let me guess, there’s a zoning issue that prevents anybody from doing that.

              Seriously, what’s your solution to the problem you presented? Set a maximum price he can charge? Reroute the interstate? Not shop there? Or realize that you can’t change the mistakes of the past, but that’s no reason to keep making the same damn dumb mistakes? I’m partial to that last one.

              1. I don’t have any suggestions to fix that, I’m just noting that the market, working in the context of past government interventions, can perpetuate crappy situations/results for a looong time.

            2. “But the point is that government intervention is going to skew that market for perhaps ages.”

              Ages? No, not ages, absent government intervention the market changes quite rapidly. Know what the LEAST regulated industry is? It is the computer industry. When is the last time you saw a Commodore or Amiga for sale in a store? When is the last time you purchased a floppy disk?

              The petroleum industry is HEAVILY regulated.

            3. Was the gas station there before the interstate? If not, then it’s simply a case of someone locating their business in a clever way.

              No one says the market starts with a tabula rasa. It accommodates itself to the landscape it finds itself in. That’s like complaining that the Amish owning rich farmland in Pennsylvania is a market distortion, because their farming techniques wouldn’t work in North Dakota.

              1. It accommodates itself to the landscape it finds itself in.

                Part of that landscape is government policy. Since there is no clean slate ideal and never will be, who’s to say the status quo is more fair than some other arrangement?

                1. “who’s to say the status quo is more fair than some other arrangement?”

                  Who, may I ask, is holding pom poms, wearing a miniskirt and chanting “RAH RAH! Status quo! RAH RAH! Status Quo!”

                  1. Who, may I ask, is holding pom poms, wearing a miniskirt and chanting “RAH RAH! Status quo! RAH RAH! Status Quo!”

                    You guys, implicitly, by declaring an end to all government favoritism now.

                    1. “You guys, implicitly, by declaring an end to all government favoritism now.”

                      How is asking for a change from the Status Quo supporting the status quo?

                2. If we agree that govts should build roads, then the interstate has to go somewhere, and in many cases it is best to put it somewhere where people are already driving. It’s impossible to avoid someone profiting as a side effect of the decision of where to put it.

                  Subsidies and targeted tax breaks are another matter — having someone profit is the whole point of the decision.

              2. “Was the gas station there before the interstate?”

                Yes.

                1. Well that’s dumb luck then. The interstate had to go somewhere, and it’s unavoidable that someone is going to profit from the decision of where to put it. But that profit is a side effect, not the goal as it is with targeted tax breaks and subsidies.

            4. And of course if the gas station wasn’t there when the interstate was built, it’s completely implausible to say the govt “picked the winner” in this case. It created an opportunity for someone to be a winner and someone took that opportunity.

            5. In your gasoline station example, MNG, it is crappy only from your perspective.

              Apparently, motorists are more than pleased with having a gasoline conveniently situated near the interstate.

              Thus, all should see that the only “crappy” bit is your perception, MNG. Only you suffer from that false belief.

        4. Alternatives are viable? Did I fall asleep and wake up in 2030?

        5. Oil subsidies aside Tony, the market chose fossil fuel energy, not by some grand scheme but by the simple fact that carbon contains the most energy density per unit volume (i.e. It’s the most efficient). Alternatives are NOT yet viable unless the government massivly subsidizes them above and beyond what they do currently for the oil industry. Wake the fuck up and read a science book for God’s sake.

          1. It’s the most efficient when you socialize a huge bulk of the costs. We were lucky to get the payouts we got for the Gulf oil spill, even though most of the costs will not be borne by the industries responsible.

            1. Tony, do you know why BP was drilling in the ocean rather than on land?

              Here is a hint:

              It is NOT because there is no oil on land that is untapped.

              1. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say… that deepwater drilling is somehow less expensive than the regulatory environment of land drilling? The interesting question is why is Saudi Arabia drilling more offshore? You really think China and India’s increasing industrialization will mean oil is cheap indefinitely?

                I fully expect oil mouthpieces like reason to go on flailing about trying to defend the status quo as the best market option no matter what–there’s no reason you have to.

                1. Many plots of land have been put off limits to drilling for one thing – and yes, there are also many regulations as well. Remember ANWAR? Had that plan gone through we would by now be getting petroleum from there.

                  As for Saudi Arabia, it could be they are simply exploring for more sources given the increasing demand – and the fact that those foolish Americans are not drilling as much as they could.

                  1. We have like 3% of the world’s oil reserves and consume 25% of the world’s oil. It is pure ignorant fantasy to claim that we can even put a dent in worldwide supply by drilling up what remains in land areas. We and Saudi are going to the massive expense of drilling offshore because there isn’t enough left on land.

                    1. “because there isn’t enough left on land.”

                      …. that the government will let people drill for.

                      FTFY

                    2. So Saudi companies are going to the expense of offshore drilling because the Saudi government’s regulations are too onerous?

                    3. Tony, in case you are unaware, the oil market is GLOBAL. Saudi Arabia does not consume most of its own oil. That market is impacted by the regulations everywhere else. When government regulations distort the markets in one place it impacts the markets everywhere else.

        6. Name a better alternative to fossil fuels, and we’ll start talking. Don’t most of the “green energy” initiatives go to fossil fuel companies in the first place? So, ending them would end some corporate welfare for them, wouddn’t it?

          1. Solar. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s more expensive. The status quo is the most expensive choice at all, assuming you believe in physics. It may take tens of trillions of dollars to move to clean energy. So be it–it will only get more expensive the longer we wait.

            1. I have nothing against solar energy. Is it the best? That is for the market to decide.

              I am willing to give it a shot. What do you say we deregulate energy and find out?

              1. Not if the market doing the deciding is one in which much of the costs of non-green energy is socialized. A fair market is one with a substantial carbon tax.

                1. “Not if the market doing the deciding is one in which much of the costs of non-green energy is socialized.”

                  Any a free market you would not have to wory about such socialized costs. Again, what we have now is NOT a free market.

            2. How do you store and transport solar pwoer effectively, Tony? Answer that question and you may begin to understand why fossil fuels are so prevalent.

              1. Well we gotta have better batteries. I’m sure the magical market will provide that in due coarse. Probably a lot sooner than it will deliver infinite supplies of oil.

            3. Solar costs double what Oil costs, and nearly 4 times as much as Coal, even after removing the 4 bln in “subsidies” these industries receive. Please try again before making an uninformed argument.

      2. Guillotines are just fine as long as the right person is in charge of the guillotine. But we don’t want to execute the wrong people ? only the right people.

        1. That kind of talk about our policies will get YOU a date with the Guillotine!

    2. Well, they likely don’t object to subsdies or government aid in general, so of course they like it in some cases and not in others. That’s hardly remarkable. It’s only someone who thinks any assistance is wrong that is going to see that as so strange, like how an anarchist thinks minarchists are full of folly because while they talk anti-government they want to fund police and courts.

    1. Saw that last nite … first two postings are priceless.

    2. “Kept interrupting class to look in our lunch bags.”

      WTF???

  5. why don’t Republicans declare war on corporate welfare

    Good one. Now, seriously…

    1. Seriously. This article is right up there with “Why don’t Republications end the War on Drugs?”

      Because it’s not in their DNA, that’s why. Carney’s exercise in wishful thinking is a complete waste of time.

  6. why don’t Republicans declare war on corporate welfare, putting the president in the position of defending his Reverse-Robin Hood policies?

    It wouldn’t put him in that position, because he can just ignore it or lie about it and the MSM will not report on it anyway.

    And then the interests that are getting that welfare will retaliate against those who threatened to cut them off.

    Plus of course that most of the GOP has no problem with corporate welfare when it benefits them.

  7. “and the MSM will not report on it anyway.”

    I would expect better from you Tulpa. This idea of a monolithic MSM working for the left is pretty pathetic. Is Foxnews, the number one rated cable news channel not part of the ‘mainstream media? How about Newsmax, which made over 50 million dollars last year. Is Reason part of that? For that matter, is Mother Jones and the Washington Post on the same page?

    It’s a terribly simplistic and silly meme.

    1. Fox News and Newsmax have a (somewhat deserved) reputation as a biased news outlet, so most people avoid them. They’re essentially preaching to a very large choir when they criticize Obama. The other outlets you mention have relatively tiny audiences.

      I don’t think you can plausibly argue that the big three networks and CNN/MSNBC aren’t in the tank for Obama after the events of the past two years. That’s coming from someone who laughed at the idea of a coordinated liberal media as recently as 2007. It’s a new phenomenon and it’s carving up our republic like a pork roast.

      1. Let’s not forget our friend Ezra Klein and Journolist.

    2. Re: MNG,
      This idea of a monolithic MSM working for the left is pretty pathetic.
      ‘We’re all the MSM now!’

    3. It’s more like a monolithic block of lefties is working for the MSM (and as Tulpa says, Fox doesn’t really count, certainly not as most people use the term).

  8. The shame should be on Obama. Faced with a bad economy and an incredible debt and a public mood for government austerity he’s offered no liberal vision of smaller government, essentially reducing liberal thought to the tax and spend caricature liberals have denied for so long. He should have met the GOP challenge with a budget proposal that called for drastic defense and corporate welfare cuts along with means testing entitlement programs, but he didn’t.

    1. He should have done that when he first released a budget. This latest round of debt reduction rhetoric is even more hollow than usual considering the complete absence of debt reduction that was included in his original budget.

    2. The proposal he’s pushing for contains way more cuts to entitlements than the Dem rank & file will tolerate. As David Brooks put it, it is the deal of the century for Republicans. Most liberals think he’s a sellout and should use his bully pulpit to reject the Republican narrative altogether and make this an FDR-style class war. I don’t know about that for the purposes of raising the debt ceiling, but I won’t understand it in the least if he refuses to pick the low-hanging fruit of Republican defense of welfare for the rich in time for 2012.

  9. A majority of all of Ex-Im’s loans and long-term guarantees subsidize Boeing sales.

    But- AIRBUS DOES IT, TOO! OOGABOOGAAAAAAAAH!

  10. How do you make up for decades of subsidies and an entire infrastructure for fossil fuel energy?

    Nice try.

    The inconvenient basis of the market pre-eminence of fossil fuels is their efficiency as a store of energy. Why did the Detroit Electric Car Company go out of business? It wasn’t because the government was subsidizing Standard Oil.

    As corporations (and legislators) became more “sophisticated” it became easier and more effective to game the system and get little gifts slipped into the tax code. This should unquestionably be stopped.

    1. The question is, how is that done? Seems like restrictions would have to be placed on industry and legislators alike. We’d probably have to start by ending the idea that political donations are equal to free speech.

      1. The question is, how is that done?

        Dramatically shrinking the size, scope, and thus expense of government, which would in turn reduce tax rates, which would make tax breaks not worth the trouble.

        Was that so hard?

        But you’re right this far: an inevitable side effect (to be charitable) of Big Government is corpocratic collusion with Big Government. If you want Big Government, you will get special deals with various favored businesses. Full stop. No stopping it.

        Money and power will always find each other.

        1. You’re right about that last part. So wtf makes you think that reducing the expense of securing power will make corporate interests less powerful?

          1. Love how you read the last line without reading any of the preceding lines. Kinda makes you look really dumb.

            1. Not so much as assuming every problem under the sun fits into the ideological rubric of “big vs. small government.” Let’s face it, government will never be small enough for you, partly because you need the big government bogeyman in order to have a purpose for existing. A philosophy that’s almost entirely about what it hates has got to be bad for the heart.

              1. I don’t hate the government, I just love capitalism. Government is great as long as it’s not telling you what you can buy and what you can sell. I reserve that right for myself.

      2. Citizens United really did spin y’all off into a dimension of insane you didn’t know existed didn’t it?

  11. Just imagine the howls of outrage from that bastion of “unfettered free market capitalism” otherwise know as the Chamber of Commerce.

    That alone would be worth it.

  12. We’d probably have to start by ending the idea that political donations are equal to free speech.

    You’re a moron.

    An across-the-board “Gross Receipts tax” on every dollar of business revenue from any source at a uniform LOW (3%, max) rate eliminates the gaming. But that’s the last thing Team Red/Blue want to see.

  13. Solar. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s more expensive.

    I like it when you don’t even pretend to understand the things you opine about.

    1. There is another example of the inverse relationship between one’s understanding of basic economics and the likelihood of them being a hardcore lefty.

      1. It really makes me want to devise a way to power a car off of coal. Just to piss people like that off.

  14. But, when the sun shines we will have abundant energy, at half the efficiency of carbon! Now to fix that whole earth rotating around the sun problem… Fucking darkness, how does it work?

  15. The copious quantities of unmitigated bullshit flowing from the mouths of liberals and other assorted shitheads concerning fossil fuels are even more astonishing than the belief that the New Deal saved the world. It’s just a whole new dimension of God-Awfully Fucking Retarded (trademark).

  16. “The president’s signature legislative accomplishment, the 2010 health care law, was championed by the drugmakers, the biggest single-industry lobby in Washington and one of the most profitable industries in America.”

    But only after Obama offered to lower their liability cap. Quid Pro Quo.

    “But it’s not just handouts Republicans should target. […] [T]he Mattel-backed Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act – a death sentence to small toymakers – is one of many other regulatory robberies that a populism-fueled GOP would target.”

    Not likely. Even in the event that Obama loses, the very same lobbyists and corporative reps will simply switch alliances. The problem resides with the size of government itself and its reach, not with the bed-makers.

  17. FDR saved the world from financial doom!

    Obama is trying to save the world from an environmental apocalypse!

    The Republicans have gutted our education budgets!

    There is no disputing the above FACTS. Any attempt at debating these topics on their merits alone will only prove the agitator as being a racist, fascist, capitalist, earth hating, greedy, homophobic, right wing shill.

    1. wtf man, you forgot selfish.

  18. Re: Tony,

    Well we gotta have better batteries. I’m sure the magical market will provide that in due coarse.

    Or maybe in due fine. Anyway, what the market does is solve scarcity problems, and not ways to defy the very Laws of Physics.

    1. Congress will change the Laws of Physics.

      1. Re: Sarcasmic,

        Congress will change the Laws of Physics.

        Or maybe the Judiciary. Tony harbors this belief that judges get to set reality by their wise opinions.

        1. True.
          The Judiciary could declare the Laws of Physics to be discriminatory. After all, they do favor some energy sources over others, and that just isn’t fair.

        2. They get to decide what the constitution means even when they are unwise about it.

      2. It would help a lot if they would pass a law changing the value of pi to some nice round number. Physics problems totally suck when you have to use pi in nearly every damn equation.

        Maybe set it to 2. That way it would be easy to convert to binary and would really speed up any calculations done by computers.

    2. all in due thyme

  19. A fair market is one with a substantial carbon tax.

    Assume a can opener.

  20. Re: Tony,

    The market has failed [sic] to produce clean energy on a necessary [sic] scale, which is something that is necessary beyond reasonable dispute.

    Evolution failed to deliver Unicorns on a necessary scale. We need government!

    1. +99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999

  21. The U.S. has the highest or second highest corporate tax rates in the world (depending on the state). Knocking out the breaks and accounting gimmicks that lesson that pain a little for some companies isn’t the way to go.

    Taxes that are far lower, far less complex, and don’t contain a bunch of gimmicks and breaks are what we need. It won’t happen because politicians in both parties are well paid for those breaks.

    1. Not true. North Korea has higher corporate tax rates.

  22. A philosophy that’s almost entirely about what it hates has got to be bad for the heart.

    You should know.

    1. Indeed… my political allegiances of course are entirely provisional. Today they are forced to be almost entirely about stopping Republicans, and that means putting my support 100% behind their opposition. I am not happy about it at all. I don’t like that I have to worry about a party completely taken over by insane ideologues destroying my country. Among the many, many reasons I hate Republicans is what they have done to political discourse. I would be much happier if I had time to be for things rather than just against the barbarian hordes at the gates who state fully and openly their intention to destroy my country. It must be doubly stressful for you guys.

      1. I have the shittiest, most ineffective troll detector of anybody here, and I can detect the troll. Unless you’re really that God-fucking-awfully retarded.

        1. Why would somebody claim to be that retarded?

          Thank goddness the Dems are here to save the day. Things have been going so well since they took over in 2006.

  23. I don’t like that I have to worry about a party completely taken over by insane ideologues destroying my country.

    You’re just as pathetic as the people who think the TSA is “protecting” them from being blown up in midair by terrorists. Just go hide under your bed.

    1. You may not believe it but I am not prone to exaggerated claims. Yet, the Republicans are perfectly clear about their intentions to destroy the country. Oh they probably rationalize it with phony theories and bullshit orthodoxies, but I don’t think any evil person really thinks he’s evil.

      1. You’re prone to peddling statist horseshit. That’s enough for anybody decent to consider you a cunt.

      2. Really? The Republican Party I know is completely incapable of coherent ideology, action, or message. What country do you live in?

  24. It must be doubly stressful for you guys.

    In the sense that we have twice as many parties of insane ideologues to worry about, yes.

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