December 13, 2016

#Hypocrisy alert? Sanders vs. Trump on Carrier and eco devo policy

Hey, if St. Bernard of Sanders wants to fight with Donald Trump over the exact amount of economic development incentives he and Mike Pence are giving Carrier to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana, that's fine. And that's one thing.

But ...

If you are trying to claim Trump has done something wrong in general, or been pwned by business, period?

St. Bernard of Sanders is wrong on this one, and I presume acting as Democratic (because he really is a Democrat) apparatchik first, labor backer second.

As Matt Stoller has also noted, as have others, in the case of Carrier, presidential administrations both Democrat and Republican have given trade preferences to defense-related industries. And (although I disagree with them) states and municipalities have long had economic incentive grants. Bet you did as Burlington mayor, Bernie.

Survey says?

Per this piece, Mayor Bernie supported a bond issue that helped benefit a high-end development. When it didn't get a two-thirds majority, he used an eminent-domain lawsuit in conjunction with the state. Per The Nation (which mentions part of the Lake Champlain development but "overlooks" the suit) Bernie provided seed money for start-up businesses. The Nation also says he "helped" other businesses, not just start-ups, but again, no details, except in one case where it says he "provided capital." This was all part of the Community and Economic Development Office that Sanders created as mayor.

Yes, Bernie did help nonprofits, help get affordable housing, and more, but! He gave already established businesses money — possibly after hints they'd move elsewhere or something.

As a member of the media, I have long opposed municipal economic development incentives of the type Bernie apparently gave. (I have never personally reported on an eminent domain lawsuit, but I'm generally leery of those, too. And, given that Bernie's lawsuit there was hatched along with the state of Vermont, I certainly have opposed most state-level economic development handouts, like CPRIT here in Texas.)

And we haven't even mentioned Senator Sanders voting to increase federal handouts to Big Ag dairy farmers, and Rep. and Sen. Sanders lusting after F-35s. (That's even as Trump has now taken to Twitter to do what I "invited" Sanders to do a week or so ago: bash the cost of the plane.

As for Bernie's claims about Carrier, or parent United Technology, now "holding hostage" the government and showing other businesses how to do it? No more, and no less, true than businesses have long done with local, county and state governments. Again, Bernie knows this, too.

So, too, do Tweet-blasters like Stoller. As I tweeted back to him, you either truly drain that swamp from the bottom, too, or else you have a strong-arm prez using executive orders and more to force states and municipalities to cut off the economic development incentives.

As for Sanders?

Sometime before the 2018 midterms, he's going to have to make a clearer decision whether he truly supports something called "Our Revolution" before the Democratic Party, or not.

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