Big Business Liberals

One of the most amazing things about our political system is that liberals and Democrats have a reputation as being the champion of the little guy and the foe of big business. You would think their enthusiasm for eminent domain and regulatory capture would disabuse us of this notion. But it persists. And, this month, we have another illustration of why their nobel reputation is entirely undeserved.

The GOP Congress is trying, for once, to keep a campaign promise and get rid of some corporate welfare. They are fighting to shrink the transportation bill. They are refusing to renew tax subsidies unless they are paid for with spending cuts. They are targeting the Export-Import bank for closure.

And what is the response from the Left? Are they applauding this? Are they cheering it on? Are they saying, “Hooray! At last the Republicans are doing something right!” Are they glad that someone has listened to their gripes about GE’s tax bill?

Not exactly.

As Radley Balko points out, The Nation has come out swinging in favor of the Ex-Im bank, a New Deal relic that was designed to loan money to poor countries so they could buy US goods. It’s no longer needed. Our private lending industry is so huge it lends money to such unlikely people as unemployed home-owners. What the Ex-Im bank — and its counterparts around the world — really does is subsidize exports for favored businesses like Boeing and Wells Fargo. It is heavily politicized, beset with lobbyists and expensive. Eric Cantor has suggested a 13-month extension to give Obama time to negotiate with other countries to cancel their banks. I’ll take that, but it’s not necessary. I’m happy to let other countries finance uncompetitive businesses. I’m happy to let their businessmen spend their time lobbying government rather than inventing.

And the Ex-Im Bank is just one aspect of this. All over our government, people have their hands out. And it is the Left that are wailing and gashing their teeth that, God forbid, we should stop giving piles of money to politically-connected businesses. (Of course, there’s always the likelihood that this is pure partisan bullshittery, but we all know the Left are too principled for that).

You should really read the NYT article in my first link. It’s a perfect illustration of why government spending is hard to cut: concentrated gain; diffuse cost. The people who get money from Ex-Im, the highway bill, green subsidies or whatever are very interested in keeping that money flowing. But the taxpayers are only dinged for a few bucks on any particular bit of largesse so we’re not very motivated. Thankfully, for once, someone is fighting for us.

I do understand that ending these things suddenly may cause some problems and job losses. The transportation bill, in particular, is hung up in a GOP house that can’t get something out and does affect hundreds of thousands of jobs. And it’s not like we don’t need roads. But I am glad to see that these bills are no longer automatic gimmes; that someone — anyone — is starting to consider costs.

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  1. Mook

    Excellent CATO comments on this here.

    And from the NY Times comments:

    How many are aware that the E/I Bank helped Air India to finance their Boeing jet fleet? This sounds like a good deal to aid one of the US’s biggest exporters. But how many are also aware that while aiding Boeing, the financing of India’s jet fleet at below market rates made it impossible for Delta to compete (because Delta did not get preferred financing on their fleet) and they subsequently withdrew from servicing US/India routes?

    Whenever govt. intervenes to distort free markets, worse offsetting negative consequences ALWAYS occur, despite the wishes and predictions of ignorant utopians.

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  2. Mississippi Yankee

    Whenever govt. intervenes to distort free markets, worse offsetting negative consequences ALWAYS occur, despite the wishes and predictions of ignorant utopians.

    You Sir, deserve to be internet WINNER OF THE DAY! BRAVO!

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  3. AlexInCT

    Look, let’s not beat around the bush about this. The left talks their little guy/anti-big business talk because it plays well with the rubes, but most importantly, because it then allows them to use emotional appeals directed at the rubes to allow them to use the power of government to pick and choose who wins and who loses. And while they claim this is being done out of some sense of trying to promote justice, this usually is plain bullshit. It takes big payments to get them to do it. And it irks me to no end that democrats that live by these means have convinced so many that the other side is the one that does this despicable stuff.

    Look at Obama’s current attack on the oil industry and their evil profits (as if profits by anyone that isn’t an approved nanny stater is an evil thing), which is being done to confuse people that are not happy with how the energy policies of these watermelons have driven the price of gas at the pump to new record highs. The Community Organizer in Chief tells the rubes that the oil industry is getting an unfair advantage because they are getting a tax break that all but is a subsidy from government. Unfair! Justice would be repealing that tax break since oil companies make, according to the narrative, so much profit. Profit is a dirty word unless you are one of the approved A-listers like GE. And this is profit that that the nanny staters can’t just up & confiscate with justifiable ease like they want to, so it is double evil.

    That the deductions the oil companies are taking is one that universally applies to ALL companies that reinvest in machinery and infrastructure, including the green technology wastrels whom we subsidize to a much higher rate with far, far worse returns, gets. And Team Obama is now advocating taking it away just from the oil industry because they haven’t ponied enough cash to buy off the nanny staters. Neither is the fact pointed out that while oil company profits account for a few pennies on every dollar, that taxes account for anywhere from 28 cents or more of each dollar, when they discuss price. Wouldn’t less taxes instead of an attempt to deny them any profit that the nanny staters don’t feel they should be allowed, have a bigger impact on price at the pump?, That is, if your intention really was to impact price at the pump in a way that you drive it down. But that’s not the agenda. So we get this smoke & mirror show to make people feel that the profit oil companies make is unjustified, the left gets to steal the money, and then when prices stay the same or go up, they can just blame it on the oil companies again. And the LSM damned well knows all of this is the case, as they parrot the DNC talking points.

    Nothing frightens me more than a government that has abrogated itself the power to pick who wins or loses. And it is far worse when you have a bunch of narcissistic credentialed marxist assholes that think they are the cream of the crop and the ones that finally will make command economies work. And if you think I am wrong to call these assholes credentialed and narcissistic just take a look at their reaction to the SCOTUS debate about the unconstitutionality of the Obamacare mandate. Their echo chambers told them there was nothing to worry about, so now that even the moderates and some of the hard core leftists on the SCOTUS are pointing out that this pile of shit is defineitly looking unconstitutional, the problem isn’t that these credentialed narcissist marxist nanny staters are dumb fucks, but that the SCOTUS is a hyper partisan bunch of hacks.

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