Central Planning Through Tax Exemptions

Step One is to tax and regulate everyone into a state of complete economic paralysis.

Step Two is to grant limited relief to those businesses who either represent something politicians like or who promise to deliver something politicians need. The far-left politicians who protested Amazon establishing an HQ in Queens to some degree bit their own noses to spite their faces.

Companies like Tesla do both. First, they represent the green energy movement, the cause célèbre of politicians everywhere. They also promise to create a significant number of jobs in places they establish manufacturing or other large presences, which helps politicians get re-elected. Third, they provide what politicians crave most: new tax revenues they otherwise wouldn’t receive, even if they must give away a little to get a lot.

In Amazon’s case, the green angle isn’t so much a factor, although they likely say all the right things in their marketing literature. But they do provide the other two benefits to politicians: the new jobs to take credit for and the new tax revenues to spend. The far-left politicians who protested Amazon establishing an HQ in Queens to some degree bit their own noses to spite their faces. Amazon would have poured money into local and state tax coffers that would have been proportionally funneled into New York’s generous welfare state.

Who Are the Villains and Victims?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gleefully tweet-celebrated this as a victory against “Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.” To her and those of her ilk, Jeff Bezos and presumably all Amazon’s shareholders are the villains, although it’s never clear if members of the far left understand publicly traded companies are owned by people other than their founders. Bezos owns 16 percent of the stock. The rest is largely owned by mutual funds, investing for anyone with a 401K, including public school teachers and other people leftists like.

If the deal is passed by the legislature and signed by the governor or mayor, democracy is served, for whatever that’s worth.

Regardless, the owners of Amazon or any other corporation have no implicit obligation to open new locations anywhere. Their objection to Step One in the central plan is perfectly understandable and unquestionably within their rights. They also have the right to name conditions for doing business in any given locale. If the deal is passed by the legislature and signed by the governor or mayor, democracy is served, for whatever that’s worth. All Bezos or the other Amazon shareholders have done is act legally in their own interests.

The real villains are the politicians, who established the central plan in the first place. In a free country, the government is supposed to protect the right of everyone “to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man, or order of men,” as Adam Smith put it. Steps One and Two do exactly the opposite. They create a barrier to entry to the market that can only be breached via an admission ticket granted by the government. That ticket costs money only the largest corporations can pay.

Ironically, the very taxes and regulations anti-capitalists champion provide the means for corporations they say they hate to grow to unnatural size and eliminate the small, locally-owned competitors they claim to cherish. That’s not to say that in an honest, free market Amazon wouldn’t be dominant, but there would be more room for competitors in niches and on the margins to survive. Amazon’s competitors are one set of victims of these central planning schemes.

Consumers are victims, too, but not because they are “subsidizing” large corporations. The tax exemptions corporations get are more than offset by the new taxes they pay in the locales they relocate to. That’s why politicians are willing to offer the exemptions in the first place. The real loss to consumers is choice. They have less choice in a world where Amazon has fewer competitors, which is inevitable when the economy is centrally planned, and politicians decide who can play and who can’t.

Step 3: make sure Congresscritters can financially benefit through insider trading.

So… with very little fanfare, Congress quietly rolled back a big part of the law late last week. Specifically the part that required staffers to post disclosuresabout their financial transactions, so that the public could make sure there was no insider trading going on. Congress tried to cover up this fairly significant change because they, themselves, claimed that it would pose a "national risk"to have this information public. A national risk to their bank accounts.

Many years ago Bryant was to have said that no man could make a million a year honestly – though actually even then one could since with the exception of the banker Morgan most of the “robber barons” made their fortunes first by selling goods that people wanted, at a quality they wanted and for a price they wanted – but he never foresaw his beloved so-called “progressives” would become the most money grubbing, living off the churn-iest, corrupt and even murdering pikers ever seen on American shores.

But given that even early “progressives” were rooted in lawlessness towards our federal Constitution and contempt for the nation we were founded to be he really was without excuse for the oversight.

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