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    Baucus and Obama are Complicit Predators with Big Business

    01/04/2013
    Democracy and Power 114: The Power Players

    Who actually controls the force of government? Politicians and interest groups control the American political process. Special-interest groups – i.e. big business, big unions, education, seniors, and a multitude of others - seek favors; tax breaks, subsidies, exclusive legislation, etc. Interest groups give enormous amounts of money to political campaigns and receive gigantic benefits in return.

    Baucus and Obama are Complicit Predators with Big Business

    The fiscal cliff “deal” made gigantic money for big businesses and their wealthy lobbyists.  According to The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner, the White House directed Senator Harry Reid to give tax breaks to a slew big businesses.  When Senate Republicans resisted – sort of, the White House insisted on legislation already passed in the Senate Finance Committee and controlled by Democrat Max Baucus of Montana.  Baucus' legislation had a least 50 special tax gifts for big campaign donors. Thus, in the frenetic last minutes of rushing the cliff “deal” to the Senate, Baucus' bill was inserted.  Within two days, the “DC” corruption between big special-interest predators and complicit politicians passed the Senate and the House and was signed by the President!

    Here is a partial list of the complicit businesses and their elected patrons, as paraphrased from the WSJ:

    Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow - a tax write-off for owners of Nascar tracks (cost: $78 million).

    New Mexico's Jeff Bingaman  - a tax credit for companies operating in American Samoa ($62 million), including a StarKist factory.

    Chris Dodd, the former Senator of Connecticut and lobbyist for Hollywood's movie studios.  "The bill extends for two years, through 2013, the provision that allows film and television producers to expense the first $15 million of production costs incurred in the United States ($20 million if the costs are incurred in economically depressed areas in the United States)."

    Of course President Obama's green energy gets special tax breaks.  

    The wind production tax credit - GOP Senators John Thune (South Dakota) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa). The big winner is General Electric and Siemens —which benefit indirectly by making wind turbine gear.  This credit now 20 years old and total cost is $12 billion.

    Cellulosic biofuels... had their tax credit continued, and the definition of what qualifies was expanded to include producers of "algae-based fuel" ($59 million.)

    The WSJ lists other industries and special-interest groups:

    Distillers -  a $222 million rum tax rebate.

    Businesses located on Indian reservations will receive $222 million in accelerated depreciation.

    And there are breaks for railroads, "New York Liberty Zone" bonds and so much more.

    Baucus, Obama and many more politicians are complicit partners with big business.  Plus, there are many former Senators, Members of Congress and staffers also leveraging their associations with elected members to extract special favors for big business.  Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner explains:

    Former Sens. John Breaux, D-La., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., a pair of rainmaker lobbyists, pleaded for extensions on behalf of a powerful lineup of clients.

    General Electric and Citigroup, for instance, hired Breaux and Lott to extend a tax provision that allows multinational corporations to defer U.S. taxes by moving profits into offshore financial subsidiaries. This provision -- known as the "active financing exception" -- is the main tool GE uses to avoid nearly all U.S. corporate income tax.

    Liquor giant Diageo also retained Breaux and Lott to win extensions on two provisions benefiting rum-making in Puerto Rico.

    Immorally, big business contributes big money to political campaigns – Democrats and Republicans alike.  In return, big business get enormous tax breaks.  The WSJ explains the good investment in former Senator Dodd by the film industry:

    Investing a couple million in Mr. Dodd in return for $430 million in tax breaks sure beats trying to make better movies.

    Beyond being immoral, these corrupt and complicit relationships prevent responsible and prudent long-term public policy.  For over a year, the entire fiscal-cliff imbroglio focused politicians and special-interest predators on their immediate rewards and victories.  Good and prudent long term policy be damned – like reforming the debt ridden entitlements. Tragically, this corruption will continue because our politicians and special-interest donors both profit. Only when We the People expose and protest against this corruption will it be stopped.