Friday, January 8, 2016

WHO BENEFITS?!? Corporate WELFARE in Texas....

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

TPPF Policy Orientation -- If you ever doubted the importance of local and state elections, you needed to watch Councilmember Don Zimmerman and Senator Konni Burton disembowel some yutz from the Texas Association of Business on a panel this morning.

Burton and Zimmerman are the most prominent voices in their respective legislative bodies in opposition to corporate welfare and other forms of cronyism and rent-seeking (*).  Both represent districts that are competitive in a general election.  Burton and Zimmerman's success proves that disgust with rent-seeking for purposes of "economic development" extends beyond Republican primary voters into the general electorate.

Senator Burton drew an important contrast between competition between businesses and "competition" who between governmental entities over who can offer the sweetest 'economic development' deal.  The former incentivizes hard-working entrepreneurs to create products that serve their fellow human beings while the latter incentivize political connections.  It shouldn't surprise anyone that politicians and bureaucrats like a system that incentivizes connections to them.

Councilmember Zimmerman focused primarily on the politics of the issue.  The public despises when government at any level uses their tax dollars to lavish subsidies those the government deems more deserving.  During his campaign, Zimmerman made an issue out of the subsidies Austin gave to APPLE computers.  Zimmerman's opponent, meanwhile, was boxed in on the issue because as the former vice President of the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce he had publicly supported the subsidies.  There's a lesson, with a deep Biblical foundation, in the fact that opposition to cronyism overwhelmed the Rainbow flag that Christian conservatives would be wise to learn.

Both elected officials also pointed out that every firm that has received 'economic development' incentives in recent years would have moved here anyway.  Senator Burton correctly characterized this as taking capital from small businesses to help big businesses to get even bigger.  That's why big businesses like the status quo.

The gentleman from TAB spoke in buzzwords and cliches.  At no point did he acknowledge the concept of deadweight loss.  He made several over the top assertions about the alleged economic benefits of these types of subsidies.  The crowd was NOT impressed.  Zimmerman, meanwhile,  explained that bureaucrats often produce these selective 'economic impact' studies to justify their activities.

The morning's panel was a banner display from two of this website's favorite elected officials.


* - Senator Bob Hall, who was in the audience for this panel and asked a FANTASTIC question, also deserves credit on this issue.

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