by Brian Balfour
Senior Vice President of Research, John Locke Foundation
WRAL TechWire yesterday published my column on the surge in billion-dollar corporate welfare giveaways in North Carolina over the past year.
Some highlights from the piece:
Big government and big business in bed together represents the politicization of our economy. Productive resources like land, factories, machinery, and labor are scarce, and most efficiently utilized when they are in response to consumer desires. …
But these government incentive deals represent productive resources being directed by the political class, not the people. Making matters worse, the largest handouts are to companies or projects that wouldn’t exist without government mandates to begin with…
What we’re witnessing is the government attempting to forcibly override consumer preferences via mandates and taxpayer handouts. It smacks of central planning, which has resulted in widespread poverty wherever its been tried on a large scale. And this is a bi-partisan problem, as Democrats and Republicans alike broadly support these corporate incentive plans.
Imagine being a homegrown business owner paying your full tax bill for years only to see state politicians granting special handouts to multi-billion dollar mega-corporations. The unfairness of corporate welfare schemes is palpable.
And not only are political corporate giveaways unfair, they make for bad economics (driving toward central planning away from free markets) while inviting political corruption.
Conservative legislators did the right thing in legislating the phasing out of the corporate income tax by 2030. They should combine this with the phasing out of corporate welfare programs to usher in a level playing field for all businesses.