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    Sarah Palin may be the one liberals have been waiting for

    Sarah Palin may be the one liberals have been waiting for

    I made the point the other day that Sarah Palin’s speech in Indianola, Iowa, went to the core of the Tea Party movement:

    I don’t know what the future holds for Palin, whether she will be a candidate or just a powerful voice against crony capitalism.  I also don’t know whether the two are compatible.  I am not convinced that even the Republican electorate is ready for the message.  That’s for another day.

    What I do know is that in attacking crony capitalism, Palin gave voice to those of us who refuse to buy into the Democratic narrative that the answer to Democratic union pandering is Republican big business pandering.  It’s not about them, it’s about us.

    Pigs fly today.  Anand Giridharadas at The NY Times picks up on this theme, recognizing that in vilifying Palin liberals have closed their minds to Palin’s ideas, which are liberal (in the traditional sense, not the modern Democratic Party sense):

    Ms. Palin’s third point was more striking still: in contrast to the sweeping paeans to capitalism and the free market delivered by the Republican presidential candidates whose ranks she has yet to join, she sought to make a distinction between good capitalists and bad ones. The good ones, in her telling, are those small businesses that take risks and sink and swim in the churning market; the bad ones are well-connected megacorporations that live off bailouts, dodge taxes and profit terrifically while creating no jobs.

    Strangely, she was saying things that liberals might like, if not for Ms. Palin’s having said them.

    A severe injustice has been perpetrated on the American people not by the vile derangement directed at Palin by the mainstream media, left-blogosphere and establishment conservatives, but by the closing of their collective minds.

    The author also hints at possible things to come:

    Is there a hint of a political breakthrough hiding in there?

    The political conversation in the United States is paralyzed by a simplistic division of labor. Democrats protect that portion of human flourishing that is threatened by big money and enhanced by government action. Republicans protect that portion of human flourishing that is threatened by big government and enhanced by the free market.

    What is seldom said is that human flourishing is a complex and delicate thing, and that we needn’t choose whether government or the market jeopardizes it more, because both can threaten it at the same time.

    Ms. Palin may be hinting at a new political alignment that would pit a vigorous localism against a kind of national-global institutionalism.

    On one side would be those Americans who believe in the power of vast, well-developed institutions like Goldman Sachs, the Teamsters Union, General Electric, Google and the U.S. Department of Education to make the world better. On the other side would be people who believe that power, whether public or private, becomes corrupt and unresponsive the more remote and more anonymous it becomes; they would press to live in self-contained, self-governing enclaves that bear the burden of their own prosperity.

    No one knows yet whether Ms. Palin will actually run for president. But she did just get more interesting.

    This probably will not signal a sea change in media coverage of Palin, or among conservative pundits.  Liberals and conservatives alike have been played for fools by their media and their parties.

    But hopefully it is a starting point of the recognition that Palin stands alone among major political figures in the United States seeking a transformation of the country consistent with its founding principles, not against them, principles which used to appeal to liberals.  Palin’s anti-statist anti-crony capitalism message has the power to reach across parties, which is why that message gets buried in Palin Derangement Syndrome.

    With Palin, liberals will not get their nanny state, but that nanny state is disappearing by economic necessity anyway.  But they also will not get a crushing corporatist/unionist state serving the interests of the politically well-connected, which is where we are heading rapidly, and there is no offender worse than Barack Obama.

    Oddly enough, Sarah Palin may be the one liberals have been waiting for.


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    Always ahead of the curve, Professor! That’s why we come here.

    An aversion to crony capitalism is hardly a Palin innovation. It’s a fundamental point that conservatives have been making since Bill Buckley was still at Yale. Indeed, hostility to the bank bailouts, the favoritism of the auto bailouts, and the endemic cronyism in the “green jobs” scam is arguably the driving force behind the 2010 conservative upsurge at the polls.

      Pat D in reply to JEBurke. | September 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Her innovation is to destroy crony capitalism by eliminating corporate income taxation.

      “I propose to eliminate all federal corporate income tax. And hear me out on this. This is how we create millions of high-paying jobs. This is how we increase opportunity and prosperity for all.

      But here’s the best part: To balance out any loss of federal revenue from this tax cut, we eliminate corporate welfare and all the loopholes and we eliminate bailouts. This is how we break the back of crony capitalism because it feeds off corporate welfare, which is just socialism for the very rich.”

      From her Iowa speech.

        Viator in reply to Pat D. | September 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm

        Palin’s “No Corporate Income tax” idea. It would decomission one of the great sausage machines in the pork factory. It would make US based corporations much more competitive. The ramifications for job creation might be substantial. No more would lobbyists and politicians be able to trade exemptions and tax breaks for donations.

        $225 billion in corporate income taxes vs. about $95 billion in corporate subsidies with the second number hard to pin down – my guess it may be larger. A $130 billion gap – not very revenue neutral. If Palin ever makes it to Washington there may be enough chairs rearranged that far larger figures than that will appear in both the positive and negative sides of the ledger. Depending on the congress it might be doable?

        No corporate income taxes – would that shake some substantial Palin 2012 campaign donations loose?

        And would that policy repatriate the reputed $2 trillion sitting offshore resulting in a $2 trillion positive jolt to the US economy?

        That’s five wins. There may be more. For example, US corporate decisions might become more productivity based rather than tax based.

        retire05 in reply to Pat D. | September 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm

        “corporate income tax” Do you even know how those taxes are determined? “corporate welfare?” How does that work? “crony capitalism”, just another catch phrase for people who don’t understand the taxes businesses pay or how it works.

        We hear a lot about “subsidities”. Do you know what they are? Do you think it is the federal government handing a company a check with money taken from the taxpayers?

        How was that speech nothing more than catch phrases about things you know little of? Were you aware that the “subsidities” that the left complains oil companies get are nothing more than tax deductions that ALL companies are allowed? How is Palin’s railing on “corporate welfare” any different than the left’s railing on “corporate welfare” for the industries they love to hate?

        I am constantly amazed how people think they can get by without large corporations. Can you provide your own oil well with the ability to refine that oil into gasoline for your car? Can you provide your own cell phone service or your own cable TV? If you don’t like big companies, don’t buy their products are services, but I bet you are not willing to do without them and don’t have the means to produce them.

        Do you not see the conflicting statements? How do you justify getting rid of both taxation and loopholes? If there are no corporate taxation, there is no need for loopholes.

        So now Palin is adopting the Democrats philosophy of demonizing corporations, and you think that is conservative?

          bw222 in reply to retire05. | September 10, 2011 at 8:06 am

          The systems that is currently in place where corporations like GE receive government business, subsidies and even have the power to have special laws and regulations introduced for their individual benefit is hardly a conservative concept.

          Jeffrey Immelt wasn’t seated in the Predisent’s box for any other reason than he is a friend of Obama and the Democrats and symbolizes the special and unfair advantage GE holds over other corporations.

            retire05 in reply to bw222. | September 10, 2011 at 9:10 am

            And because we live in a free market, you have the option of not buying GE products. I don’t. Simply because I think Jeffrey Immelt is such a schmuck.

            But to use general terms to describe ALL large corporations is wrong. Americans are now at a point where they want specifics, not generalities. They want solutions, not vague references to the problems. We already know the problems.

          dad29 in reply to retire05. | September 10, 2011 at 8:53 am

          Again….while what she says is interesting, I’m still at a loss to figure out what she means.

          One way to look at ‘subsidies’ is Fed/State rule/policy-making which benefits some, but not all, corporate entities. To my mind, that stuff is wrong. That’s not the same as direct purchases–which is to say e.g., military hardware, staples, paper, etc.

          “Bailouts” is clear, I think; but that’s a much more murky swamp in which to tread.

            retire05 in reply to dad29. | September 10, 2011 at 9:17 am

            A prime example of what you are pointing out is the oil industry. The “subsidities” that the Democrats keep harping on are nothing more than the same tax deductions that other industries are allow to use.

            But it seems to be en vogue to pick an industry and demonize it, be it the oil industry, AT &T, the drug companies, and now Gibson Guitar. It is nothing more than class warfare. Yet we continue to pour more and more money into that dry hole called the U.S. Postal Service, and no one ever mentions them.

          Viator in reply to retire05. | September 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

          “A ripe target for reform is the sugar program, which protects sugar growers and inflates domestic sugar to twice the world price. This racket costs U.S. families about $2 billion annually, hitting them whenever they buy chocolates, breakfast cereal and the like.”

          “Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) issued its weekly spending cut alert aimed at the federal government’s peanut subsidy. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), commodity programs such peanut subsidies, are expected to cost taxpayers $51 billion over the next ten years. Eliminating peanut subsidies, which is among the recommendations advocated in CAGW’s Prime Cuts database, would save taxpayers $55 million in one year and $275 million over five years.”

          “the 45-cents-per-gallon ethanol tax credit doled out to blenders of this unnecessary and inefficient gasoline additive that costs taxpayers $5.7 billion a year.
          With only 68 percent of the energy content of gasoline, ethanol does nothing to improve fuel efficiency or make cars run better.”

          Under the rum cover-over program, the federal government imposes a $13.50 excise tax on each gallon of rum produced in a U.S. territory and sold in the U.S. The federal government returns more than 98% of the revenue it collects from this excise tax to rum-producing territories (like the U.S. Virgin Islands) as economic aid — and there are virtually no strings attached to how that money is spent. Recently, this program has become an even more outrageous corporate welfare scheme designed to line the pockets of foreign companies at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.

          Earlier this year, the Obama administration confirmed a new loophole in the program that not only increases the program’s cost from $700 million a year to nearly $2 billion a year but also puts in jeopardy the jobs and competitiveness of corn growers and distilleries throughout the Midwest.

          In 2008, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) entered a 30-year agreement (renewable for up to 60 years) with the British alcohol firm Diageo. In return for relocating its rum production facility to the USVI island of St. Croix, Diageo will receive almost half of the Virgin Islands’ rum tax money, a 90 percent income tax break, and a property tax exemption. The government will also build Diageo a new state-of-the-art distillery and guarantee — subsidize — sugar prices (sugar is a key ingredient in rum) for the next 60 years. The deal could be worth well over $6 billion to Diageo.

          The Comptroller’s office estimates that the total amount of federal energy subsidies for 2006 was $13.6 billion. Ethanol had the largest share, at $4.7 billion, or 34.6 percent of total subsidies.

          “General Electric CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt is super-close to President Obama. The president named Immelt chairman of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Before that, Immelt was on Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He’s a regular companion when Obama travels abroad to hawk American exports. (Why does business need government to do that?) Jeff Immelt is perhaps the CEO who is most cozy with President Obama,” says journalist Tim Carney. “General Electric is structuring their business around where government is going … high-speed rail, solar, wind. GE is lining up to get what government is handing out.”

          The federal government spent $92 billion in direct and indirect subsidies to businesses and private- sector corporate entities — expenditures commonly referred to as “corporate welfare” — in fiscal year 2006. The definition of business subsidies used in this report is broader than that used by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, which recently put the costs of direct business subsidies at $57 billion in 2005. For the purposes of this study, “corporate welfare” is defined as any federal spending program that provides payments or unique benefits and advantages to specific companies or industries.

          The northeastern Republican establishment is still cartelizing, controlling, regulating, handing out contracts to business favorites, and bailing out beloved crooks and losers. It is still playing the old “partnership” game–and still, of course, at our expense.

          Weirddave in reply to retire05. | September 10, 2011 at 9:28 am

          Hey Retire, you OK? This Palin thread was up for more than a day before you came in here to bash her, that’s at least 23 1/2 hours slower than normal, you been sick or something?

          Hawk in reply to retire05. | September 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm

          I think you missed the train on this one. Listen to her speech in Iowa very carefully.

    “Sarah Palin…strongly supports the ideas of Hyde Park economist Luigi Zingales in America By Heart, her second book.

    Palin cites Zingales, a University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor, as a champion of the type of free market principles she supports.

    “Professor Zingales makes the crucial point that there is a difference between being pro-market and being pro-business,” Palin writes. “Both political parties are at fault in failing to acknowledge this distinction.”

    Zingales said Tuesday, when Palin’s book debuted, that she had accurately captured his theory.

    “I’m impressed that she knows me because I’m not sort of a national figure and somebody on the front page of magazines all the time,” he said. “Not only that she knows my name but she seems to have gotten my ideas right seems remarkable.”

    Zingales had no idea he would be mentioned and quoted in the book, which follows Palin’s best-selling Going Rogue.

    “I sort of am about ideas, not making money out of ideas,” he said. “If that promotes my idea I’m happy. . . . When you are an academic you spend most of your time writing to change the world and nobody notices.”

    When any of my progressive/liberal friends begin ragging on Palin, I love goading them by saying, “I AM SARAH!”

    Oh, I almost forgot – Nice post Professor.

    Corporate welfare: (this is old, which makes the issue even more scary, because it’s become far worse):

    An example: federal funding of drug and other research. No benefit comes back to the taxpayer in the way of price breaks (not even for access to the research data.) In fact, American companies may even sell the products abroad for less than Americans are charged. The public collectively is not providing either a loan or an equity infusion, but a gift. Why. Private companies receiving such funding may turn all of it into private profit. This is not “capitalism”. It’s theft. Welfare. Taking from the public for private benefit. E.g. the federal government funded the research of Bristol-Meyers Squibb to develop Taxol, an anti-cancer drug. After developing Taxol, the corporation sold it at 2000% the manufacturing cost.

    Here’s another example, a dinosaur, never removed from the books: The Mining Act of 1872, intended to encourage development of natural resources. Not only American, but also foreign corporations basically can take public land for their own profit. E.g., in 1the 90s, American Barrick (a Canadian company), glommed hundreds of acres of public land in containing large gold reserves in Nevada, paying taxpayers less than $10,000.

    Another: ball stadiums for sports teams. No, they don’t bring in business and jobs to the jurisdiction in question that warrants the giveaway, which goes to private profit.

    More: giving away valuable contracts to public infrastructure, such as roads. In the short term, public property is essentially sold or rented for a period of time to private industry in return for a cash infusion. Toll roads are a biggie. (This is typical Republican corporate cronyism, sometimes done to obscure budget problems following tax cuts without comparable spending cuts.) Any deal that is not balanced and concocted behind the scenes like this, often to benefit campaign supporters, is, essentially part-gift.

    Farm subsidies. Once upon a time, family farms may have needed help, but now taxpayer money goes to corporations, often subsidiaries of conglomerates, that have swallowed up the little guys.

    And just what were the recent bailouts about.

      retire05 in reply to janitor. | September 10, 2011 at 9:04 am

      You bring up some valid points. I am not a supporter of bailouts for private companies. Didn’t like it when the taxpayer bailed out the airlines, didn’t like it when the taxpayer bailed out failing banks and car companies. Had GM been allowed to go into standard bankruptcy, they would not have gone under. They would have been managed by a bankruptcy court which would have forced them to reorganize and get their act together. The only people who benefitted from the GM/Chrysler bailouts were the unions while secured bond holders got the shaft.

      I also don’t support grants for drug research. Another area that the free market should be allowed to flourish or fail on its own.

      But you are wrong about stadiums. Those are generally paid for by the citizens passing local bonds, and they do create jobs with the businesses that support the area; hotels, restraurants, shops, etc. The building of stadiums is a local, not a federal issue.

      Toll roads are also a local issue. Tolls roads have been in place in Oklahoma since 1947, when the state did not have the money to build roads. Same in the City of Houston, that built a toll road all around a large city. Those roads were said to be donnybrooks, but now they pay for the own maintainence and are not a tax burden to the citizens of Oklahoma or Houston, yet, they are well kept roads.

      I also don’t support farm subsidities. It is a system that is abused in many cases.

      There are a lot of things that came out of the New Deal that needs to be reevaluated. But that is up to Congress, not the President to do. The CBO recently did a report on the duplicity between agencies. As taxpayers, that is one place we need to start demanding the budget be cut.

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