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Friday, May 29, 2009

Outrage of the Day: "Subsidymagination"

Writing in the Washington Examiner, columnist Timothy Carney exposes General Electric's penchant for lobbying the federal government to force us to pay for its products.

Carney writes:
GE is not simply taking advantage of subsidies that exist -- the company lobbies, with its $18 million-a-year lobbying outfit, to create or protect these subsidies. On greenhouse emissions restrictions, GE is leading the pro-regulation charge.

But these "green" profits for GE don't come out of nowhere. Regulations force businesses to buy GE's products. Subsidies incentivize them to buy GE's products. In either case, regular people foot the bill -- either through higher prices for electricity, shipping, and manufactured goods, or through higher taxes.
Pathetically but hilariously, Carney quotes the head of GE's "Ecomagination" scam, Steven Fludder, trying to pass off GE's lobby-robbery of taxpayers with a little spin:
I'd prefer not to think of words like 'subsidies' and that type of a construct. I think it is more supporting the creation of scale.
We'd prefer not to think of words like "subsidies," too, Mr. Fludder, if only parasites like General Electric and others who prefer not to earn their bread through honest trade would just mend their ways.

The column quotes Steve Milloy, who co-directs the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, which has written extensively about GE's brand of game-the-system legal extortion on its FreeEnterpriser blog, crediting him with coining the term "subsidymagination." (Steve is also the author of the excellent new book about the harm environmental lobbyists due to ordinary folk, Green Hell, and he runs JunkScience.com.)

In the Washington Times today, Jerry Seper writes about a decision by political appointees at the Justice Department to overrule career lawyers, who wanted to prosecute men who allegedly stood outside a Philadelphia voting booth and intimidated voters with a stick.

I think of General Electric as the genteel lobbyist version of the men with sticks. We don't want to buy their products, but if we don't, the men with sticks -- Congress and the regulators backed by the tax men -- will see to it that we do.

I don't believe Obama's appointees are on our side on this one, either.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:32 AM

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