Remember when “corporate welfare” was the worst sin of Republican presidents? The Left railed about it endlessly. Much of what they said made sense. Limited government and capitalist freedom are equally offended when the government pumps blood from taxpayers to rescue corporations from the judgment of the free market.
Corporate welfare is back with a vengeance. In fact, it is the defining feature of Obama’s economic policy. Geysers of bailout money and subsidies are blasting out of Washington.
Why isn’t the Left howling in rage? Because the sin of corporate welfare has been sanctified by painting it green. Welfare to environmentally friendly fat cats is a wise investment in the future, not a shameless looting of the public treasury.
This is one of the most remarkable ideological reversals in history. It’s not discussed very often, because it was so total and complete. Liberals spent the Bush years criticizing corporate tax breaks, and scouring every government agency for the tendrils of Halliburton. Now the Obama Administration has poured over half a trillion dollars into the pockets of the failed Solyndra Corporation, and the Left does not have a word to say, because it was supposed to be “creating jobs” by manufacturing solar panels.
Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner published a profile of green super-lobbyist Steve McBee, who has steered millions of taxpayer dollars into the coffers of his clients. He is said to have written the clause in the 2009 stimulus bill that allowed the Department of Energy to toss out taxpayer-guaranteed loans without requiring a down payment, which “opened the spigot” of government cash to hungry “green” corporations.
The free market has no use for these companies. They were created entirely to absorb federal subsidies and become bullet points in blue-state re-election campaigns. They depend on people like McBee, who sell influence with top Democrat politicians, to survive. Even the largest corporations have hung out “green” flytraps to capture a piece of the Washington money hurricane.
The Left’s mute acceptance of these emerald corporate welfare queens – indeed, their vocal support of Obama’s “green investments” – demolishes all the old rhetoric about evil companies sucking blood from Uncle Sam’s neck. When corporations become a mechanism for controlling the public and distorting the free market, they can have all the subsidies they want, with the blessing of people who normally regard a tax cut as a “handout.” The agenda of the Left has an unlimited claim on your income. To get into your wallet, they are prepared to celebrate what they would ordinarily despise.