Shine the Spotlight on the Left’s Corporate Cronyism Agenda

In my Foundry column this week, I argue that the left has a record of voting in favor of corporate welfare, which is often overlooked, and that they should be exposed for their dishonesty on the issue of corporate cronyism:

Though it was reported as news, the left’s 2014 blueprint isn’t novel – it is the same strategy they’ve employed with varying degrees of success for decades. The New York Times providesa helpful summary:

House Democrats are reassessing their electoral strategy based on a major internal research project that shows their candidates stand a better chance when they portray Republicans as unsympathetic to the economic situation of working Americans while protecting the wealthy.

If “protecting the wealthy” is code for corporate welfare, then these so-called strategists may want to check some congressional voting records. America’s political left – from Blue Dog Democrats to radical progressives – tend to be among the most supportive of corporate welfare.

Read the whole column here.

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How Do Taxpayer-Backed Government Agencies Market Themselves? With Misleading Interactive Maps.

Using an interactive map, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is marketing itself as a supporter of small and women-owned businesses.

Like many emerging markets, Turkey has a base of small businesses that provide a key source of employment, but still struggle to access financing. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), defined in Turkey as those with less than $20 million in revenue, collectively account for about 78% of all employment in Turkey but receive only about a third of all loans.

In 2012, OPIC provided $400 million in financing to Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S., in collaboration with MBIA Inc. of New York, to support lending to SMEs in general and female entrepreneurs in particular. 

A compelling tactic though this may seem, they conveniently leave out something Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner brings to light — OPIC also gave $50 million in financing to subsidize a Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey.

If you’ve ever visited Istanbul and stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, however, you’ve enjoyed the benefits of OPIC.

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Taxpayer Money: The Glue That Binds the Friendship Between Politicians and Their Cronies

This year, conservatives are building momentum to tackle and combat cronyism. Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham penned a Fox News op-ed that puts the fight against cronyism at the center of the conservative movement’s agenda. “Conservatives must put forward an anti-cronyism, anti-corporate welfare agenda that uplifts all Americans, not just the elites,” he argued.

So what is cronyism and how does it affect us? If you’re not one of the cronies, you have reason to be concerned.

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Farm Bill: Dangers of Conference

According to multiple reports, many conservative lawmakers believe they have secured sufficient promises from their Republican leaders to justify a “yes” vote on the revised farm bill (Key Vote: NO).  As a result, many conservatives appear willing to ignore the creation of new permanent farm law (a permanent entitlement to the agricultural community), which is more costly than the Senate-passed policies and those proposed by President Obama.

Regardless of what was promised by House Republican leaders with regard to a conference committee (remember, motions to instruct aren’t actually binding), it is imperative these conservative lawmakers remember what happens in conference committees.  Even during the Bush-era, conference committees did not produce legislation that was more conservative than the legislation sent into the conference.

Not surprisingly, that trend has continued with divided government.

On June 29, 2012, the House voted to approve a conference report on the “surface transportation extension,” which was originally passed by the House on April 18.  The bill that came out of the conference committee was significantly different and contained several unrelated items, including: 1) extension of the student loan interest rate, and 2) a five-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program. In the House, Democrat support for the conference committee version was unanimous (only 69 supported the original House-passed version), whereas Republican opposition nearly quadrupled. 

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Farm Bill’s Bogus “Savings”

Don’t be fooled by suggestions that the House and Senate farm bills contain any real savings.  They don’t.  Reuters, for example, reports that the House bill aimed to cut spending by roughly $32 billion to $35 billion.  To be clear, those areWashington “cuts,” not real cuts.  Nonetheless, there are reports these so-called savings may become part of a grand Christmas bargain.

The estimates are loosely based in reality only before new spending is added; that’s right, new spending is included in this bill.  It just takes a new form.  Why would a bill that contains new spending be included as part of a deficit reduction deal?  That would be entirely counterproductive.  Only in Washington could a nearly $1 trillion be added to a deficit reduction package!

The last long term farm bill was passed in 2008 after President Bush’s veto was overturned. That bill was estimated to cost $604 billion over ten years and expired on September 30 of this year.  At the time, Heritage said, “President [George W. Bush] should veto this farm bill for its backwards steps on reforms.”

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