EditorialsKevin King

Where’s the outrage?


By Kevin King –
Managing Editor

The Buncombe County Commission and Asheville City Council are about to spend millions of your dollars. Your money, hard-earned no doubt, is going to an existing company. A company that has promised to bring countless benefits to this fair community. In fact, these benefits will far exceed the cost, so it is told.

However, when all the grand pageantry is cast aside, it’s one simple thing: corporate welfare. This is the same thing that nearly everyone decries. Whether it’s incentives, tax breaks, or bailouts, it’s all the same. Redistribution of money from individuals to companies. The premise is, companies are too big to fail and without tax money, they will fold up and leave everyone unemployed.

This fact may be true, or it might not. No one will every know as long as the government creates a false market. Perhaps their competitor would have overtaken them as a stronger, more viable option, but instead the government has now subsidized them. There are tons of hypothetical situations that arise as a result of the government meddling in the free markets. No one will never know true success or failure because of this interference.

There was a movement that swept the nation that fought against this corporate welfare. The name Occupy Wall Street was plastered across newspapers and televisions for months. This band of iPhone wielding warriors decried the tax breaks and bailouts of big banks and investment firms. They occupied public property in Downtown Asheville for weeks on end. Strangely enough, this crowd is silent on Project X.

Then there are the free market Republicans. The purveyors of limited government who claim to fight against intervention in the private sector. Strangely enough also though, the three Republicans sitting on the Commission have voted in complete agreement with this corporate welfare. Perhaps not so coincidentally so, the county and local GOP groups are silent on the issue.

Then there are the big government types. They have to be assumedly happy with this intervention in the private sector. Though it is suspected that they would never admit to supporting tax-dollars going to a big corporation. After all, corporations are evil, so they say.

Out of all of these groups, one has to ask, where’s the outrage? It seems to be absent from three distinct segments who should, by all stretches of the imagination, be upset about this whole Project X venture. Yet they are all silently. Why is this so?

It must simply be that this fits their agenda. It is dangerous to be politically courageous. Occupy Wall Street probably has a tree to chain themselves to somewhere. The Republicans, well they will be able to say they “saved or created” these jobs during their reelection (unless the company goes belly-up after tax-dollars go to golden parachutes). The big government types? Well they are seeing bigger government. Supporting big corporations may not be their prime choice, but more government is more government, so why complain?

Perhaps Project X will exceed all expectations and create the best living-wage environment that Western North Carolina has ever seen. Maybe it will be largely beneficial. But as long as government can pick and choose the winners and losers, taxpayers better hope they are never the losers. As long as government continues to expand and consume more and more, no one will be a winner.

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