Sanctioning Government Plunder and Big Money in Politics

by Steve MacDonald

Bio Mess EnergyYou probably didn’t know this but in an offline thread Skip and Jim Rubens traded debate ‘punches’ on Mr. Sununu’s veto of Biomass subsidies. We have opposed the plunder. Mr. Rubens considered the Biomass bailout to be worthwhile.

In an email, via Jim Rubens.com, Jim gives a nod to that debate and perhaps others and then defends his support to override Governor Sununu’s veto.

I got lots of thoughtful pushback from free-market advocates. If not here, where do we draw the line on forcing consumers and taxpayers to prop up non-competitive industry?

Why did the legislature and Governor not draw the line on millions in tax breaks and subsidies in SB564 which passed the House by 241-50 for the nascent biofab industry in Manchester? Why not at the boat load of granted and pending subsidies, special permits and taxpayer funded highway upgrades for the proposed Balsam’s ski resort?

That (some) wood chip plants have weaker political connections than better-connected interests that have snared subsides from Concord proves the point made by market advocates like Josiah Bartlett Center or Americans for Prosperity. We drag down our economy and corrupt politics when politicians – not customers — choose winners and losers.

Nonetheless, I continue to urge the legislature to override the SB365 veto.

For the record, I opposed the bio fab carve-outs for corporate rent seekers, and we took issue repeatedly with everything having anything to do with the Balsams Boondoggle. But comporting SB 365 with SB 546, both of which we oppose doesn’t entirely make sense.

SB 365 uses government force to tax ratepayers through utility companies.

SB 546 leaves taxes the state would have taken in the hands of the favored industry under the guise of making it easier for them to succeed. But if that’s true, then we have to believe that 122 House Democrats said yes to a particular tax cut because it will help a business prosper. Where are the headlines pointing to a vote where 122 Democrats were more interested in “cutting taxes” than only 118 Republicans? Because it wasn’t about that.

Progressive support for SB 546 was about giving the legislature power and precedent to manipulate the tax code to pick winners and losers. To invite special interests to place their bets and spin the favoritism wheel to see how many votes they can tip or how often. And 118 House Republicans bought into a scam that encourages lobbyists to buy politicians to earn the same favor.

Biomass can’t compete on any level playing field which is why SB365 uses government force to give it a leg up. To transfer wealth directly from our pockets in support of the favored industry that can’t survive without it.

We’ve no reason to believe the Bio-fab favoritism will turn out any differently. What we can count on is them and others coming back for more. Which is where and when the two bills foment similar problems. At some point, somewhere, someone has to stand athwart the interests of taxpayers and yell stop.

Mr. Sununu signed off on one and not the other so it’s not him.

Nor is it Mr. Rubens.

No serious defense of the free market can condone any of it, least of all the act of laundering plunder through third parties to the benefit of a fourth. So, we will continue to support the veto of SB 365 because we’ll never even begin to roll back the encyclopedia of unconstitutional takings if we don’t start somewhere and make those who advocate them feel political pressure to stop.

Telling them to overturn this veto is everything but that.

Which brings me back to their commonality. Anyone who is even remotely serious about “getting money out of politics” or ending “out-of-state influence,” or “deep-pocketed special interests,” which unless I’m mistaken, Mr. Rubens is, should oppose these sorts of gifts in all their forms.

Corporate welfare is no less insidious when you like the recipients and exceptions or your excuses for supporting them. But regardless of their form or your favor, they only invite more takers to line up at the Statehouse door.

If you’d like to end that influence peddling, you don’t decide where to bend your principles but who we need to remove or add to public office to elevate the ideals. And at the end of the day Mr. Rubens may like green energy, but if he opposes money in politics or expressions of power that invite it, shouldn’t he support the veto of SB 365 not oppose it.

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