Friday, September 23, 2005

National Review Advocates...the Elimination of Corporate Welfare??

Got this in the mail from George. What a bizarre turn of events. The real question, I suppose, is how they define corporate welfare. Here's the relevant portion:

President Bush is in a perilous political state. His slipping poll numbers are partly a result of softening support from his Republican base. If Bush doesn't take decisive steps to try to offset the billions of new Katrina spending, the forecast will be: Danger, more softening ahead. Never in the Bush years has conservative discontent been so high, nor so justified. With a few false moves in the crucial weeks ahead, Bush could see even more of the life-blood squeezed from his presidency.

It doesn't have a natural base of support, and cuts in it will be much harder for Democrats to oppose. Republicans should have taken it on long ago. Now is a perfect moment. According to the RSC, eliminating corporate welfare would cut $5 billion in 2006 and $50 billion over ten years. Take one example: The Advanced Technology Program was instituted in the late 1980s, an overwrought response to the Japanese economic tiger. This program, funded to the tune of $150 million per year, gives grants for research and development on products with "significant commercial payoff." That is, the money funds research on only the most marketable products, those that companies have the most incentive to fund anyway. General Motors, Motorola, and IBM have all cashed in. Over 35 percent of ATP funding has gone to 39 "Fortune 500" companies, whose combined 2003 revenue was $1.4 trillion.

It's not sexy, but Bush and anti-spenders in Congress should also be pushing to reform the congressional budget process, which favors free spending. Making the budget resolution binding, for instance, would rein in appropriators who ignore it to lavish money on their own priorities. Cuts in pork-barrel spending are important, but history tells us when the current anti-pork moment passes, pet projects will be back with a vengeance. The trick is to create the basis for savings over time.

The most important ingredient at the moment, however, is presidential leadership. It has been absent for five years on spending. Bush is said to rise to the occasion when confronted with crises. He is about to confront one within his own party on spending. Let the rising begin.

George put it best: "The National Review calling for the end of the corporate welfare state borders on the revolutionary. I don’t have a subscription to the WSJournal, but if they start saying the same thing, the establishment has undergone a massive sea-change."

Posted by crimnos @ 2:10 PM