This is how Washington works. This is how those people actually behave who tirelessly, tiresomely lecture us here in flyover country about paying one’s fair share.
Look at all the green nonsense in there: This is an industry that would not exist were it not for taxpayer hand-outs. Little Bobby Kennedy’s firm even says as much in SEC filings. Its business model is to keep the taxpayers’ money rolling in, in the form of grants, low- or zero-interest loans, and of course piles of tax breaks.
It’s not just the great big Cinderella’s pumpkin that is the Green Boondoggle that made out, however. General Electric — you know, the cottage industry — gets an extension of a tax break that allowed it to offshore enough of its profits that, while it made $5.1 billion in U.S. profits in 2011, paid exactly $0 in U.S. income tax. Don’t get me wrong: I think the entire corporate tax scam should be repealed. The U.S. has among the very highest corporate tax systems in the world, and in a global economy that hamstrings them. They lose a good chunk of the comparative advantage they’d otherwise have from being U.S. based, solely because of the tax code. So I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that G.E. managed to pay nothing in taxes on over five billion in profits. What chaps me is that G.E. managed to get that break . . . and those tens of thousands of companies who can’t offshore their profits haven’t, didn’t, and won’t. G.E. may lose some comparative advantage relative to its foreign competition, but it makes a bunch of it back up at the expense of other Americans, their owners and employees.
Isn’t that comforting?
Crony capitalism is not a tax code-specific disease, either. If giving you a clandestine leg up through the tax law is one manifestation, another important one is simply to legislate your competition off the playing field. Like hooking up the Wal-Marts of the world by prohibiting bogus “loopholes” that really aren’t loopholes in anything. So Dear Leader is looking to enlist the biggest players to stump up spurious support for gun control by promising them to get rid of those pesky gun show sellers.
I have a question, and I’m sure the data exist out there, somewhere, to answer it: How many felons committing a crime with a gun (and not a crime in which the mere ownership or possession of the gun is itself the crime) used a gun which they bought at a gun show? If you want to show how god-awful dangerous gun show sales are, then surely there would be piles of statistics showing that the guy who decides to shoot up the crack house, or the school playground, or his former employer’s front office, went to a gun show and bought that gun with some sort of criminal intent to use it. It doesn’t count if he stole it from someone who bought it at a gun show; he could just as easily have stolen it from someone who bought it only after being waterboarded to disclose any criminal tendencies or other Wrong Thinking. I also don’t think it would be very important if, say, this fellow bought the gun eight years ago at a gun show. The whole objection to gun show sales is that they don’t allow for vetting of the purchaser. If, however, there’s nothing in the purchaser’s background to flag the system, then no matter where he bought the gun you wouldn’t catch him. So what I want to know is, for the last ten years or so, how many violent criminals who used a firearm in their crime had gone to a gun show and bought the weapon they used within, say, six months before the crime. If that answer is zero or some very small number, then there just isn’t a “loophole” that needs closing.
And then of course you’ve got the final leg in the triad of crony capitalism, the direct hand-out. Like Solyndra, in which $535 million of taxpayers’ money was “loaned” to Solyndra, but was subordinated to the equity position of the donors to Dear Leader who owned the bulk of the company. If there is one single lodestar in the firmament of commercial lending, it is that debt trumps equity. In fact, in the world of bankruptcy, it’s called the “absolute priority rule” (or at least it’s absolute unless you’re a labor union and Dear Leader decides he’s just going to hand the shop over to you). I’m not saying that there are no exceptions, at all,ever, to that rule. But there sure aren’t any when, according to the lender’s own evaluation of the borrower, the borrower is already going down the tubes and will not be going anywhere other than down the tubes even with your loan in his pocket. As was the case with Solyndra.
And there you have the Holy Trinity of Dear Leader’s administration (note that it was at Dear Leader’s express demand that Baucus’s tax code give-away to his donors was pasted verbatim into the final “fiscal cliff” deal).