The N&O shows it crony corporatist stripes in this editorial cheerleading the collusion of big government and big business – this time advocating for an extension of North Carolina’s film tax credits.
It is especially enlightening to read their comments in light of the arguments they made last year in opposing a reduction in the state’s corporate tax rate.
The N&O warns that film companies “would be gone” if they found more favorable tax treatment in other states. But that is the same argument the N&O scoffed at last year when made by advocates of cutting the corporate tax rate (and income tax rates, for that matter). When we said that a more hospitable tax rate would ensure more businesses staying or locating in North Carolina, the N&O and their left-wing brethren insisted that “taxes don’t matter.”
The N&O also says that film production is good for local economies because “on those locations, local carpenters will be hired to build the set designs movies require. Doctors might be called in to tend to crew and cast. And folks walking down the street might find themselves pulled aside by assistant directors to appear as extras, walking away with a few extra dollars.” But guess what? The same thing can be said about the businesses that would expand or move to NC due to the general cut in tax rates, as more business investment is encouraged, more economic activity and job growth will occur in local communities. But again, the N&O dismissed these arguments last year as extreme right-wing talking points.
Lastly, left-wing progressives like the N&O argued, and continue to argue, against tax rate reductions for corporations because the main benefit will accrue to out-of-state shareholders of the company. But can’t the same be said about film companies? What makes them different?
In short, the N&O makes many of the same arguments in favor of NC’s film tax credits (i.e. lower taxes encourages more economic activity, business investments improve local economies and job markets, meaning these benefits hit home rather than just accruing to out of state corporate shareholders) that were made by those favoring across-the-board tax cuts.
So why the self-contradiction?
The answer is control. Through across-the-board tax cuts and a tax code that treats all business activity the same, control over the means of production falls into the hands of consumers who direct these productive resource via their purchasing decisions. On the other hand, by opting to put big business and big government in bed together via targeted tax breaks and privileges to the politically-connected, more control over the means of production is shifted into the hands of the political class as entrepreneurial decisions are distorted by politics rather than being responsive to consumers.
The agenda of the progressive corporatists is clear – centralizing control into the hands of the politically-connected few and away from the rest of us. They favor the enrichment of politically-connected corporations aided by government elites, rather than a competitive market place which rewards entrepreneurs who best serve the needs of their fellow man.
And still they have the nerve to label free-market advocates as favoring only corporate interests.