Having helped to engineer the mother of all “shellackings” against President Obama and Congressional Democrats, the Tea Party has acquired its next target. Tea Party activists proposed to go after big business.
According to the Daily Caller:
“‘If you look at President Obama’s healthcare legislation and cap and trade, there’s only one reason those things got as far as they did – they had big business support,’ said Tom Borelli, Director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project. Borelli is teaming up with Freedomworks President Matt Kibbe to promote responsible, sound business practices, and beginning next year, the two will begin encouraging supporters to boycott big business that lobbies for a ‘progressive’ agenda.
“According to Kibbe and Borelli, companies that get involved in lobbying for legislation that hurts consumers should feel the consequences in their balance sheet. Now, they are doing everything they can to make sure that happens.
“Their primary focus will be on companies that lobbied for legislation like cap and trade and healthcare reform – two cornerstones of the Obama agenda.”
On first glance it would seem incongruous that the Tea Party, known for its support for free market capitalism, would target private businesses for a boycott. But one of the dirty little secrets of politics in America is that big businesses often benefit from legislation that restricts the free market and choices available for consumers.
Banks and car companies that have found themselves failing because of bad business decisions can count on government bailouts. Some insurance companies have found ways to profit from health care legislation. Some brokerage companies see ways to make money on cap and trade, should that ever become law.
Even the Obama space policy proposes to grant special subsidies to companies such as Boeing and SpaceX in order to create “commercial” space launch systems.
Recently a group of the super wealthy proposed that taxes be raised “on the rich”, taxes which they would personally avoid by using loop holes but which might fall on potential competitors. Indeed the added benefit of legislation like health care reform and cap and trade is that it tends to stifle the competition for the kinds of big businesses the Tea Party now proposes to punish.
Companies that benefit from legislation such as health care reform and cap and trade are ready sources of campaign cash for lawmakers willing to pass such legislation.
If the Tea Party campaign gets off the ground, it should have two salutary effects. First, the boycott would demonstrate that there are financial consequences for private business getting too close to government to the detriment of the public good. Second, the campaign would have a shaming effect, damaging the public image of the companies so targeted.
Finally, if a wedge can be driven between business and state, it might redound to the benefit of both. Government would not meddle as much in the free market. Businesses will have a level playing field on which to compete. Government gets smaller. The private sector grows. The only losers will be those companies who have been taking unfair advantage to the detriment of the rest of us.
Sources: Tea Party targets big business, Amanda Carey, The Daily Caller, November 27th, 2010
Why Obama’s Commercial Space Initiative is Not Commercial, Mark R. Whittington, September 6th, 2010
‘The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength’ — Raise Our Taxes!, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, November 26th, 2010