In order to help you awake from you avian-induced holiday slumber, we thought we’d post the Townhall column on Thomas Sowell’s greatest quotes. There are timeless nuggets of wisdom throughout Professor Sowell’s many books, and some of the best are here:
Thomas Sowell is not only one of the finest columnists in the business, he’s a prolific author, a brilliant economist, and he has an incomparable knack for simplifying complex concepts that few other human beings can match. Enjoy the distilled wisdom!
We’re excited that our ‘I Want to Be a Crony’ video is a finalist for Reason’s Media Awards! The video was created by Owen Brennan, Justin Folk, and Robert Perkins.
Here it is, for your viewing pleasure.
The Foundry has found fifteen absurd cases of government activity. By no means is this an all inclusive list, but it’s a great starting point. My favorite example is the $300,000 spent by the USDA on caviar promotion in Idaho.
Ryan Young from OpenMarket.org has posted his latest blog-post in which we see the latest great investment that Arlington, Virginia has done.
Arlington, Virginia, recently caused a national stir when it built a $1 million bus stop. The prototype “super stop” was intended to be a model for future stops along Columbia Pike.
While the super stop does have a heated concrete floor, it is only partially enclosed, so it doesn’t shelter riders from wind. Riders also quickly found out that its rakishly angled roof doesn’t keep rain out. They still got wet.
The National Legal and Policy Center has called out the US Chamber of Commerce for cronyism with its website Faux Enterprise, and BuzzFeed, with its 50 million unique visitors per month, is listening.
BuzzFeed did a story on Faux Enterprise’s parody of the Chamber’s campaign, On the Road with Free Enterprise. This two month campaign seeks to “tell the story of free enterprise and what it means to the American economy.” Its chief sponsor is General Motors, one of the most egregious offenders of crony capitalism in history. Faux Enterprise mocks the idea of General Motors being associated with free enterprise and explains the difference between being pro-business and pro-free enterprise:
“Government Motors – still partially owned by the United States Treasury – is the absolute worst poster child imaginable for free market vibrancy. The taxpayer-owned company’s sponsorship of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Free Enterprise campaign should be viewed by American taxpayers as a bad joke.”
JR Ball, a writer for the Baton Rouge-based publication Business Report, discusses the latest goodies that a private enterprise is receiving from a local government. Costco is the latest beneficiary from the race to the bottom that showers corporations with tax benefits with the hopes of attracting them to their town:
The three great issues of our time in the Capital Region are these: 1) protecting our turf in the global economy by using any government means necessary to score jaw-dropping wins in the retail and hotel sectors; 2) whether the luring of big-box behemoth Costco secures Baton Rouge a much-coveted seat at the exclusive table of world-class cities (out of our way, Venice!)
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting lady Vermont, with her rolling green hills and soft snowy peaks. She likes to sample Vermont sharp cheddar cheese, gander up and down the Green Mountain trails and take a dip in Lake Willoughby Sunset. Her other favorites activities include touring one of the many wind farms, made possible by the all too guaranteed, corporate welfare-approved SPEED Program. Tax credits and guaranteed success? Ladies and Gentlemen, twin number one, Miss Speedy Vermont!
(View all the states in our subsidy pageant here.)
Crony Chronicles has five posts lined up starring North-eastern state corporate welfare queens. Watch out for the contestants and be sure to read their bios! Here’s our first contestant.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Madame Maine. Set sail off her jagged coastline, dine on her fabulous lobsters and join her as she strolls through Vacationland. Her favorite activities include napping by the fire in one of her many snow dusted cabins, moose watching and picking Maine’s very own wild blueberries. You can also find her trying out her business savvy with Maine’s BETR program. 20% of your state budget to business subsidies anyone? Lads and gals, Miss “Maine stay” Corporate Welfare!
(View all the states in our subsidy pageant here.)
Nick Sorrentino from Against Crony Capitalism has recently reported about the egregious case of corruption and cronyism that surrounded the government and presidency of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Apparently, the now deceased ruler, while spreading ‘socialism’ and ‘equality’ amassed near $2 billion for his personal wealth. Cronyism appears to be the easiest choice for despotic governments to become wealthy.
According to Jerry Brewer, president of CJIA, “the personal fortune of the Castro brothers has been estimated at a combined value of around $2 billion.” “The Chávez Frías family in Venezuela has amassed a fortune of a similar scale since the arrival of Chávez to the presidency in 1999,”
David Harsanyi writes at Human Events about the recent Super Bowl ad romanticizing farmers, and takes the opportunity to explain how the agricultural industry has become heavily dependent on government support:
Taxpayers spend about $7 billion a year on crop insurance alone, the largest farm subsidy, as if the industry apparently has the God-given right to operate in certainty. The Department of Agriculture hands out from $10 billion to $30 billion in cash to farmers every year – depending on the vagaries of the world around them.
Only 10 percent of farmers collect 75 percent of all subsidies. More than 90 percent of agriculture subsidies go to farmers of just five crops – wheat, corn, soybeans, rice and cotton. Government does not subsidize almost any of the fruits and vegetables we eat (also grown under the threat of unpredictable weather) or flat screen TVs we watch (also produced in a highly competitive marketplace) yet you can find any of them without worrying too much about serious fluctuations in price.