It’s gotten real crazy out there with local Republicans accusing each other of straying from the fold with one faction even talking about pursuing some kind of recall against Tim Lee. It’s hard to tell who the real Republicans are because each faction has its own guidelines that are considered gospel. There are always the social conservatives that put social issues above all else. Then there are those who profess that the free markets must be free, that government involvement in the marketplace can only corrupt it, and that cutting taxes and regulations is the best way to put people back to work. These are all legitimate positions for political debate, but it doesn’t help to figure out who the “real deal” Republicans are.
Locally there are two transactions going on simultaneously. The first is the new Braves stadium, and the second is the ten year tax abatement given to prominent developer John Williams just in time for Christmas. I’m not questioning whether either of the taxpayer supported enterprises will be beneficial for Cobbians: I don’t know. What I do question is why, in each instance, we are told that both are such good deals, yet those pushing these ventures want government gimmees. (As I’ve written many times before, I am an Eisenhower Republican that believes some private/public ventures can be beneficial, but I am challenging modern day Republicans who reject that notion. Eisenhower Republicans are extinct. ) I would think that there would be no shortage of investors willing to put up their money on what they tout as a sure win. In John Williams’ case, he’s building a massive office/condominium complex in a very desirable area, one conveniently located near the site of the new stadium. It’s not like we are talking about a potentially risky urban redevelopment project.
Tim Lee is a prominent Republican, but I’m not sure what that label means anymore since he is identified with both of these taxpayer enterprises. For two years, and especially the past two months, we’ve heard nothing but condemnation of Obamacare. It’s the most convenient punching bag out there today. I can’t wait for Lee and some of his supporters to remind us just how bad Obamacare is as he tries his hand at three card monte to keep our attention off of his political maneuvering in both deals. One recent letter writer to the MDJ, a very conservative Republican to all who know him, defended John Williams’ tax abatement with a novel argument. With zero evidence to support his conclusion that Williams’ project will have “obvious and immediate benefits” to the county, the writer continues in effect stating that Williams deserves the break because of all of his generosity and charitable contributions to the community.
The letter writer seems to overlook that Williams has justifiably prospered for his labor. For those biblically inclined for guidance, perhaps Luke 12:48 says it best: For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” I’m willing to bet that there are countless small business owners in Cobb County that contribute mightily to payrolls and also pay the full freight of their taxes. They just don’t rise to the level of Williams in financial success, but arguably they too deserve tax abatements for contributing to the economy and providing jobs. Where is Lee, et al to suggest some breaks for them?
On the national level, we have budget negotiations that continue. The Republicans support another farm subsidy bill that may be a sticking point with Democrats, and rightfully so in my opinion. The same Republicans, though, want to cut the food stamp program known today as SNAP. One Republican congressman from Tennessee said in support of the food stamp cuts, quoting the Bible, that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. It took the media to disclose that this same hypocrite has taken upwards of a million dollars in farm subsidies while not lifting a finger to sow his fields.
There are so many more examples of Republican hypocrisy when it comes to handouts, subsidies, and tax breaks for their special interest groups. It’s a target rich subject. And it’s a subject that should make all voters angry, especially those that adhere to the belief that their political party is about free markets unfettered by these handouts. At least that’s what they want you to believe.