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Georgia Lt. Gov. To Delta: No NRA Discounts, No Corporate Welfare

Is this a blow against free speech or a win for free markets?

Curtis Compton/MCT/NewscomCurtis Compton/MCT/NewscomCasey Cagle—Georgia's lieutenant governor and Republican gubernatorial candidate—says he will not support any more corporate welfare for Delta Airlines until the company starts giving National Rifle Association members discounts again.

"I will kill any tax legislation that benefits Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with NRA," Cagle said on Twitter today. "Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back."

The Atlanta-headquartered Delta had previously extended a group travel discount of 2 to 10 percent to NRA members traveling to the organization's national conference to be held in Dallas in May.

On Saturday, Delta said via Twitter that it would be ending these discounts and asking the NRA to remove any information about Delta and its travel programs from its website.

Several corporations, including United Airlines and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, have likewise pulled special discounts they have given to NRA members in response to pressure from activists demanding companies cut ties with the organization following its adamant pro–Second Amendment stance in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting.

The revocation of these discounts provoked a bevy of criticism from right-wing media. Breitbart has spread calls for boycotts of Enterprise, while Fox News writer Todd Starnes livetweeted his call with Delta customer service to see if he, as an NRA member, could still fly with the airline.

Cagle's threat appears to be the first angry reaction to come with potential policy consequences for Delta airlines.

Currently the Georgia state legislature is considering a large tax cut bill that includes an exemption for jet fuel from state and local taxes. The provision is reported to save all airlines $50 million, $40 million of which would accrue to Delta.

The Georgia House of Representatives easily passed the bill last week. The measure is now being considered by the state Senate, where Cagle—by virtue of his position as lieutenant governor—serves as president. Should the 56-member state Senate have a tie on the tax cuts, Cagle would get to cast the deciding vote.

The lieutenant governor's threat has provoked a range of reactions on Twitter. Some have offered criticism of Cagle for threatening to punish a company through the withholding of state benefits solely because of their political expression.

Others have spotted a free-market silver lining. Business Insider's Josh Barro tweeted:

Libertarians would not be remiss for being split on the matter. One the one hand, a politician refusing to back a special tax break because of his pro–Second Amendment views sounds pretty good. On the other hand, making opposition to corporate welfare contingent on whether businesses themselves hand out special deals to favored interest groups sounds less appealing.

Photo Credit: Curtis Compton/MCT/Newscom

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  • Eidde||

    Notice that Josh Barrow referred to the battle over gun rights as part of the culture war. Which it is.

    I mention this because there are some people who think culture wars are icky distractions from *real* issues.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Gun nuts (like anti-abortioners) have tied their political wagon securely to the Republican-conservative electoral coalition. That places gun absolutists firmly on one side (backwardness, superstitious, ignorance, intolerance) of the divide.

    If those who prefer reason, education, tolerance, modernity, and inclusivity prevail -- as they tend to do in America, which has overcome successive waves of know-nothing intolerance tied to immigration, religion, and skin color -- the backlash should be rough for gun absolutists. This latest batch of bigots seems nothing special, its reliance on the charms, insights, and reliability of Donald J. Trump notwithstanding.

    I still hope an American is entitled to possess a reasonable firearm for self-defense in the home after the liberal-libertarian alliance prevails anew.

  • p3orion||

    Damn, Mary, I could tell this was one of your rants before I even looked at the "Reverend" nom-de-troll. You have taken obnoxious self-righteousness to a new level.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Isn't threatening an airline for political retaliation kind of silly? In terms of "how easy is it for this company to just move", you can't get much more mobile than an airline.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I don't know if it's that easy for them to move. I do think it's silly for a gubernatorial candidate to talk as if he pulls more water in Georgia than Delta.

  • RoyMo||

    Well keep in mind that Delta lost its sails tax rebate in 2015 after offending the legislature by calling for a gas tax hike to pay for airport improvements.

    This seems to imply that Delta has a uniquely difficult relationship with the Georgia legislature.

  • RoyMo||

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Unfortunately, as an airline, you kind of have to be... everywhere.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Your hubs don't have to be though.

  • grrizzly||

    Among the major US airlines, Delta is much more dependent on its main hub, Atlanta, than other airlines like AA or United with respect to their main hubs. It's not credible for Delta to claim that it can pull out from Atlanta.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You know who else pulled out of Atlanta?

  • eno.river.bend||

    General Sherman

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Bill Clinton?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    My bad. I thought Atlanta was the name of a stripper in Arkansas.

  • STSA||

    Right, each airline has a major hub. For United, I think it's Charlotte. Delta is not going to like that airport, they have no trains to move passengers and I don't think they have enough space to park all their planes. Delta needs Atlanta, and while the mayor of Atlanta is a commie, the governor of Georgia isn't.

    Let this be a lesson for corporations- ignore the crying and whining on social media! Just simply say that you are for everyone, you sell to everyone, and you're not going to discriminate against 5 million NRA members by pissing on the NRA.

    Delta even had the audacity to tweet they support the 2nd Amendment. Who are they kidding? They support political correctness, they support not pissing off their commie friends.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Not giving a discount is now discriminating?

  • p3orion||

    "Not giving a discount is now discriminating?"

    No, but neither is not giving a tax break. Governments should not penalize companies for who they choose to do business with, but I don't see much wrong with using that as a basis for not rewarding it.

  • retiredfire||

    You're about as libertarian as Stalin was.

  • SIV||

    Your hubs don't have to be though.

    Well let Delta move to Minneapolis, or their original home in Monroe, Louisiana.

    Any of their competitors would happily change their name to 2nd Amendment Airlines, AR15 Airlines or NRA Air for Delta's place at Hartsfield.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: Stormy Dragon,

    It would be much less costly for Delta not to move and reinstate the discounts considering such threat, than any missed income from angry Social Justice Warriors which are but a few.

    The problem for the airline is the logistics of their move. Move, where? That would be the first question.

  • Finrod||

    How many other airports in the southeast have 100 gates for Delta to use?

  • Rat on a train||

    Georgia Lt. Gov. To Delta: No NRA Discounts, No Corporate Welfare


    improved

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The governor's threat is also likely to have the opposite of intended effects. The airlines who never had a relationship with the NRA to begin with aren't being threatened by either side. Delta is being threatened by both sides. Obvious lesson is to never offer a group like the NRA a discount at all.

  • Rich||

    *** scratches head ***

    Are senior citizens "a group like the NRA"?

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Yeah and they're all boomers who fucked up America for the millennials. They should be paying a surcharge.

  • DiegoF||

    LOL imagine if the Millennials finally looked in their pockets and said, "Why the fuck am I giving you fuckers money as I struggle to get to my feet in this world? I will boycott any company that allows itself to be associated in any way with that morally repugnant organization, the AARP."

  • Bubba Jones||

    Airlines routinely offer discounts to large convention attendees.

    But these discounts tend to be bullshit. 2% off full fare.

  • Jerryskids||

    I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA.

    Can't get much more openly fascist than that.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    It's no more fascist than using the power of government to give Delta (or any other entity) tax breaks to begin with.

  • eno.river.bend||

    And this is part and parcel of why. Any special favors granted by government may be withdrawn if you displease your new masters. Targeted tax breaks are evil both on the giving side and on the withdrawing side.

  • Finrod||

    The government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Nice highway funds you have, too bad you will lose them if you don't raise your drinking age to 21.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Sort of, but this isn't being done capriciously. This is in retaliation for the attacks o the NRA by the progressives. Sometimes we have to fight dirty to stop them and their slaver ways.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I can't tell if this is sarcasm anymore.

  • XM||

    Delta shouldn't be forced to offer discounts to NRA members. But why do they insist the NRA must remove company information from their sites?

  • EscherEnigma||

    I suspect the "information" in question is directions towards the discounts (which are no longer offered) and claims of support (which is no longer offered).

    In short, Delta doesn't want the NRA falsely claiming that Delta is a sponsor when it has rescinded said sponsorship.

    Pretty standard "cutting ties" stuff.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    How about:

    1. Delta can do whatever the fuck it wants.
    2. The Government subsidizes no one.
    3. The government ceases to inhibit wealth creation altogether.

    How'd that be?

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Ideal, but Airlines want their cake and eat it, too. They want the corporate welfare but without the strings attached, so they can pretend to play SJW. A quick kick in the rear to remind them where the loot is really coming from should be sufficient to bring them down to ground level - no aviation disaster pun intended.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The best way to deal with the whole thing would really be to directly destroy all the progressives and therefore end the threat to the Bill of Rights decisively.

  • soflarider||

    Let's start with the leftists and see how things develop.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Well that would please no one but a few curmudgeons.

  • STSA||

    They can, but there are consequences. You want to be 100% free? Then reject all government grants, special tax breaks, etc. Ask for no favors and you're free, ask for special treatment and they own you.

    Hillsdale College is an example of a 100% free university. They want no ties with the government, they even reject the G.I. bill and other government scholarships. Why? Because they don't want government influencing them.

  • dave b.||

    Ask for no favors and you're free

    False

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh, the folly of businesses getting in bed with - and then jumping our of bed with - anything political. Personally, I don't see how anyone but Delta can lose on this.

  • ||

    Remember when airlines were the boogeymen for siccing airport police on innocent passengers? Neither do I.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    No wins situation really. One evil lose and the other evil wins.

  • Griffin3||

    Libertarians would not be remiss for being split on the matter.

    No, no, we can wholeheartedly wish they were all feeding the chipper ...

  • DiegoF||

    Well, I for one am appalled that favoritism is now being showed to corporations due to ideology instead of good old-fashioned wholesome cronyism and corruption. It's a sad statement about the polarized times we live in.

    On a more serious note, if we don't guard (what remains of) our free-market culture we can imagine a government openly adopting a policy of regulating companies so hard they are entirely dependant on government favor (whether out of cronyism or ideological sympathy) to even survive and operate in its jurisdiction. We know this because this strategy is not a hypothetical; there really is such a magical place. It's called Illinois.

  • DiegoF||

    ...You may recall that Cook County Democratic Regular Organization boss Rahm Emanuel had told Chick-fil-A that it would not be welcome to operate within Chicago city limits because of its use of conversion treatments on its gay poultry. You will also notice that, despite the fact that he has no legal right to threaten any such thing in the United States of America, he did so openly and without apology, and Chick-fil-A has not attempted to defy him and sell their wildly popular sandwiches anywhere in America's third-largest city. This is because it understands that Chicago is meticulously set up so that absolutely nobody can do anything there without the explicit, positive favor of local officials. (The principle is not so unique to Illinois, but its ironclad devotion to it is. It is the only modus operandi of the place. Officials openly talk like gangsters, and do not even try to hide it.)

  • Something new and witty||

    Long time listener, first time caller...

    As both a huge fan of chick fil a and a Chicago resident, I have to point out that the above comment is totally untrue. We've had multiple Chick Fil A's in the city as well as in the suburbs for years now. So, to anyone who was specifically avoiding Chicago due its lack of tasty fried chicken - feel free to make your way to the Windy City - just not on Sundays.

    That is all.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "", if we don't guard (what remains of) our free-market culture we can imagine a government openly adopting a policy of regulating companies so hard they are entirely dependant on government favor ""

    Health care?

  • LynchPin1477||

    Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.

    But if you scratch our backs we'll buy a back scratcher with taxpayer dollars and scratch yours. It's the conservative way!

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Delta should make an official statement saying this guy is an asshole. I think that's the only appropriate response.

  • croaker||

    Delta needs to disarm their pilots and cabin crews.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back."

    Since when?

  • Fairbanks||

    So a Republican is taking a page from the Dem playbook by claiming that removing a subsidy (discounted fares) is an attack. Just like Dems that claim a tax reduction is a cost to government.

  • markm23||

    The discounted fares weren't a subsidy, but a sale - a targeted discount to get more business, resulting in higher profits as well as higher revenues.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    On the other hand, making opposition to corporate welfare contingent on whether businesses themselves hand out special deals to favored interest groups sounds less appealing.

    Funny that, you seemed to have a much more sanguine view of out-and-out cronyism when it served the other side of Der Kulturkampf.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    That's different, 'cuz nazis or something.

  • Art Gecko||

    "Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back."

    A real conservative would be against corporate welfare, period. In the US, we have two types of progressives: the progressives and the anti-progressives.

  • STSA||

    Real conservatives are against lots of things, but they live in the real world and are willing to play just like everyone else.

    Thanks to Trump, conservatives are no longer getting screwed, they are fighting back!

  • SIV||

    You don't get elected Governor of Georgia by being any kind of "real conservative" but you also don't get elected governor without na shit-ton of "real conservative" votes. GA is gonna pass out the crony subsidies so may as well make Delta say the NRA is a patriotic civil rights org in order to get them.

  • STSA||

    When you do business in a red state, you must respect the values of the red state. When Volkswagen banned guns in their parking lot, Tennessee passed a law allowing employees to store guns in their cars. VW needs to realize that Tennessee is not Germany, so while we love German cars, we hate German politics.

    The same goes for Delta. You're gonna screw with the NRA? Fine, you can kiss $40 million good bye. I hope it was worth it.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Barro just wants less corporate welfare so he can get to the chewy center of a pure individual welfare state.

  • Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoo Boing||

    Companies in an industry that are constantly hovering above bankruptcy should probably do all they can to stay above the social justice-y din.

  • bacchys||

    If he were opposed to special tax breaks and was ending it for that reason, I'd applaud him.

    But he's trying to use the power of the government to compel a (legal) person to adopt views that he personally holds.

    He ought to be defenestrated and fed to a woodchipper.

  • SlyJeff||

    Exactly this.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""who think 2A is somehow superior to free speech, and all other rights, ""

    It would be nice if the 2A had equal footing compared to other rights.

  • Brendan||

    The 2nd amendment is not in conflict with the right to life.

  • Brendan||

    Nope, just refuting this idea you keep putting forward.

    The right to bear arms does not conflict with anyone's right to life.

  • Brendan||

    You haven't offered any explanation or proof that the two rights are in conflict, just baseless assertion.

  • Brian Whittle||

    Stop all corporate welfare, I'm down with that, I doubt you can lawfully single out one company though.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""disdain for Sanctity of Life, to advance a partisan political agenda.""

    No political agenda is more anti-life than would that would usurp your right to defend yourself when your life is threatened.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Retail politics, and this time they rang up a NO SALE!

  • Bill Goode||

    Government should not be dictating political positions to individuals or to corporations. Nor should the government be handing out corporate welfare in the first place. Corporate welfare is being used as a carrot here, when it should not exist in the first place.

  • mpercy||

    I imagine that if Delta had decided to drop a discount program for LGBT Alliance or somesuch,and if Cagle had told Delta that he was going to drop their special tax break for that action, the left would be hoisting him on their shoulders.

    I've been saying on other sites and FB that Delta is surely free to drop this discount program. And Cagle is free to stump against any pending bill for whatever his reasons. Both decisions are stupid on the face for reasons discussed.

    But let's not overlook the fact that we're actually talking about $40M of crony capitalism here. They were given the tax break before because they suck up to state government and cry that making *them* pay the tax is unfair, even though everyone else has to pay it.

  • mpercy||

    Once again, I find myself strongly wishing for an Ignore User option on this site.

  • General_Tso||

    You and me both.

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