“They like our public policy when we’re doing things that benefit them, and they reap the rewards of those benefits . . . as all of you know, I can’t resist a country boy line or two, you don’t feed a dog that bites your hand.” This is a quote that seems to presently represent the progressive left’s agenda. But this was not from some progressive bureaucrat nor some union lackey. This was made by the Republican House Speaker in Georgia when the Delta Airlines CEO made a political remark. The GOP in Georgia decided to wield their political power against a company that disagreed with their voting bill and republicans across the country celebrated. But we must ask if it really should be something to celebrate?
What if the left exerted this power against, say, Hobby Lobby and wanted to remove or force them into a health care policy against their will? Would we not be in a righteous uproar? What if the government forced small businesses to only be open at 25% capacity and constantly change when this mandate would be removed? What is the difference? No company in a true free market can possibly operate when the whims of public officials change the rules of the game whether it is a tax credit, antitrust exemption, emergency decree or constantly changing regulations. It is not morally right to force a company to agree with your politics; in fact, we have an amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting freedom of speech. It does not matter if the CEO is inaccurately portraying the bill, spewing lies or even if he is verbally attacking the House Speaker. Free speech is either completely free or it isn’t.
To be clear, it is not that I disagree with removing government exemptions or tax credits (two ideas that are cut from the same cloth of government picking winners and losers). I just completely disagree with the reason listed by the Georgia GOP. And I completely agree with the first half of Senator Mike Lee’s tweet supporting the removal of Major League Baseball’s antitrust immunity, “It’s time for the federal government to stop granting special privileges to specific, favored corporations – especially those that punish their political opponents.” The problem is when we agree with the premise that special privileges should be granted to ANY corporation, individual or business, then we are taking steps away from believing in the morality of free market capitalism, the Bill of Rights and essentially the grand idea of the American Founding.
So here is what we should do. Don’t stop with the MLB, Senator Mike Lee and Senator Ted Cruz. Draft legislation to remove ALL antitrust exemptions. Draft legislation to remove ALL special privileges, be it tax credits, tax breaks, regulatory immunity, any exemptions, etc. Don’t stop at just the tax credit for Delta Airlines because the CEO came out against your political preferences; let’s remove all tax credits on the basis of allowing the free market a winning chance. And in the process maybe even consider lowering the taxes on the small businesses that bore the brunt of the tax burden in the first place? IF we truly want to be the land of the free, then we cannot continue to play progressive chess and use legalized force against those who disagree with us (ahem picking winners & losers), no matter how wrong we know they are. We must play the long game and propel the ideas of our founding forward, that every person and entity be treated equally because freedom is how we all win.