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Donald Trump: When Cutting Deals Exceeds Vested Powers

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So there’s no misunderstanding, allow yours truly to stipulate a few things upfront:

1. We are blessed Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton for president. As objectionable as you may find him, she would have been far, far more disastrous.

2. Trump’s promise to lower taxes and lift the burden of government regulations is good and long overdue.

3. Taxes are merely legalized theft when imposed to pay for things government is not authorized to do. If you doubt this, do you think your neighbor has a right to your money simply because he says he has a better use for it than you do? Do you think that bogus claim on your money gains any credibility if your neighbor can persuade a majority of your neighbors that he should be allowed to take your money?

4. Likewise, the government has no authority to regulate your behavior as long as you do what you do without harming others. Clearly, by this measure alone, the vast majority of what government does is illegitimate.

5. Finally, how do we determine what government’s legitimate role is, what it properly can do and what it cannot? For Christians, this shouldn’t be difficult. The Bible clearly limits government’s behavior to suppressing evil and punishing evil-doers. That obviously means police and military authority. Any government action beyond that is illegitimate. Any taxes and regulations to support such illegitimate government acts are improper.

Having stipulated all of those points, we already see troubling signs in the Trump administration, a month before he is sworn in. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that many Trump supporters cheer these troubling signs.

Trump claims he saved 1,000 jobs from fleeing the country by offering Carrier, an air conditioning manufacturer, a “deal” to persuade the company to stay in Indiana, where Trump’s vice president still is governor. Trump fans celebrated, giving the president-elect credit for allowing 1,000 families to celebrate Christmas by keeping their jobs in Indiana.

How did Trump “persuade” Carrier? Initial news reports including in the Wall Street Journal, say Carrier was promised $7 million in tax breaks.

There were no reports that Indiana’s hundreds of other manufacturers were offered similar tax breaks. Trump supporters claim their man has promised to lower taxes for everyone. If so, why was it necessary to offer Carrier a specific deal that applies only to Carrier? The justification for this special deal is that Carrier was planning to move its manufacturing to Mexico.

Ask yourself how many other company CEOs and boards of directors around the nation today are pondering what kind of “deal” they might extract from the Trump administration if they threaten to move to Mexico. Or Canada. Or China. Or anywhere.

It’s a bad precedent, inviting more extortion.

Let the extortion and payoffs begin!

When the government plays favorites – doing something for some and not for others – it’s not governing. It’s tyranny. Just because “the good guys” benefit doesn’t change that truth.

There always will be “emergencies” used as an excuse for the government to wield its heavy-handed preferences. When we allow government to get away with it, we are giving carte blanche to do it again.

A nation of laws enforces its laws without respect to special interest needs, even when we sympathize with the need. If we permit the government to get away with it because we like who benefits, we lose the moral high ground to complain when government decides to favor a group we don’t like. We become a nation of men, not of laws.

The $7 million “deal” offered Carrier is a bribe by the government to one company that excludes other companies in order to persuade the preferred company to do what the government wants it to do.

That is precisely what Obama has done for 8 years – reward companies on a case by case basis for doing what he wants them to do, which effectively punished those companies who refused to toe the line by denying them the same breaks.

This isn’t brain surgery. It should be transparently obvious. To excuse such government behavior because the result in this case pleases us by rewarding a company we feel good about is precisely what the Democrats have always done when they selectively benefit their cronies. It’s the kind of special treatment for special interests that Trump supposedly ran against.

Cutting deals company by company isn’t governing. It’s criminal manipulation. It’s what is done in crooked countries, despotic countries, the old Soviet Union: special deals for specially selected beneficiaries.

Using taxpayers’ money to pull it off adds injury to the insult. It’s a different flavor of what Hillary Clinton has done with her pay-to-play foundation, in which she dangled the promise of taxpayer-financed rewards to entice corporations to donate to her operation. Hillary Clinton has no legitimate authority to promise taxpayer-financed rewards to anyone, for any reason. That’s improper. It’s favoritism.

Trump has no legitimate authority to cut “deals” with any business by offering tax breaks. A tax break for one company that is not enjoyed by all companies is improper. It’s favoritism.

The reason the Clintons and Trumps in government can do what they do is because government illegitimately does too much. Strip away government’s authority over lives (regulations) and government’s ability to steal money (taxes) for illegitimate uses, and government would be left with no leverage to make “deals.” Companies would compete on a level playing field, and the most efficient and economic that meet consumers’ demands would prosper.

My guess is the wrongfulness of Trump’s special treatment will become blindingly obvious to even his most devoted fans as soon as he cuts a special deal with some company they don’t like. But by then, complainers will have lost the high moral ground to complain, having previously endorsed the same illicit behavior when it benefitted their friends.

In short, if this behavior continues, Trump will become the Republican version of Clinton, rewarding cronies and punishing enemies by wielding illegitimate government powers: To the victors and their cronies go the spoils. That’s the precise brand of politics people thought Trump was elected to end in Washington.

If Trump wants to cut deals, he should have stayed a private business man, where that is legitimate behavior. But you don’t cut deals with other people’s money, especially taxpayers’ money. Trump should stop cutting deals and instead roll back government and reduce taxes for everyone.



 

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