Originally published on the Libertarian Party of Minnesota (LPMN) website on July 17, 2013:
There are an excess of benefits to being a libertarian in 2013. First, there’s the whole minor party status thing. Then you consider the huge number of ladies that fill our ranks which makes Ladies Nights at any local bar look tame. But, if I was to pick just one thing that makes being a libertarian great, I’d have to say it’s the corporate sponsorships, the fat bonus checks, and court side seats that make fighting for liberty so great. Would be critics of libertarianism try and discredit the movement by claiming that we’ve been bought and paid for by corporations to create pseudo-economic arguments in their favor. If only they knew the half of it.
A quick look around my house and you’ll see all the Koch (pronounced Coke) money has not gone to waste. You’ll see a television purchased from the soul sucking demon spawn Walmart sub-corp, called Sam’s Club, furniture from what can only be described as an invading Swedish multi-national corp known as IKEA, and finally the multitude of Apple I-products that lay around as the companies’ profits fly offshore through the Double-Irish Dutch Sandwich. Corporate economics has never looked so good, and I wanted to share some tips with those of you that are neophytes to the movement. The double life of a Libertarian Corporate Shill can be treacherous.
Here are a few topics that you should NOT bring up when at the lavishly extravagant retreats that keep us so youthful and well fed.
Corporate Subsidies: It isn’t polite dinner conversation to bring up the fact that the U.S. farm subsidies don’t actually go to small family farmers as the proponents would have you believe. About 10% of our behemoth Agro companies line their coffers with over 70% of the total subsidies awarded. But this is nothing new and the agro-industrial complex is not nearly as old or well versed as the aged and politically adept military lobby (dubbed the War Machine). Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics are just a few of the names that have made the rounds for collecting massive payouts from the government for defunct projects.
Selling out had never been so lucrative. Two prime examples are when a former Air Force Procurement officer and a Boeing executive only spent a short time in prison for illicitly making a deal for a $23 billion air tanker contract. Or the case of Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) who plead guilty to charges of bribery and tax evasion. But not before admitting to receiving money from defense contractors in return for using his seat to push business their way. This is without mentioning the flock of lobbyists who find work in the government and vice versa, each year and with each turn of the administration.
Limited Liability Privilege: Most of the younger bucks that you may meet weren’t taught the bases of the modern day corporate structure or its various incarnations. Nevertheless as a ladder climber you shouldn’t bring this topic up around the older gray hairs. Don’t talk about the moral hazard caused by limiting the potential damages associated with risky behavior, whether they are environmental/health damage or incorrect assessed financial risks. (Read as BP Oil Spill and the alleged needs for derivatives and mortgage backed securities) The profit margins of our benefactors may hurt for a year or two, but you’d be silly to think that the individual risk takers in management would have to personally compensate people for the damage they caused. Such is the nature of a the government sanction.
Regulatory Smack Downs: Another Taboo subject is the use of regulatory requirements to push out new/smaller competition from the market. Why did Wal-Mart back the passing of Obamacare, or Phillip Morris congratulate the administration in passing new laws restricting the sale of cigarettes? Doesn’t it hurt their bottom line? While it does raise their costly slightly, large corporations can more easily defray the costs over the number of employees/business lines. For example, hiring 10 or 20 new employees to deal with new regulation is not so tough when you have tens of thousands of them already employed.
In the same vein, the use of sales/licensing taxes often causes corporations to de-specialize its workforce and allows them to more easily deal with diseconomy of scale (the management tax for getting bigger). By raising the barriers to entry, corporations protect themselves from innovative, small budget, startups that would be nipping at their heels for a piece of the market. And in many cause entire sections of the economy have cartelized by a few key players.
These are just a couple guidelines to keep you on the straight and narrow when going to dinner or the country club with the corporate elite that allegedly funds the liberty movement. Now before you get all uppity and get yourself blacklisted by our most gracious benefactors, just remember that pooling capital for shared interest/projects is not the same thing as using the government to protect you from losses when you make boneheaded mistakes or by putting your competitors out of business.
Concerned about the expansion of government control and the erosion of individual liberty? Please consider joining and becoming active with the Libertarian Party of Minnesota. Libertarians support liberty on all issues, all the time! Libertarianism is a philosophical and political movement to promote personal freedom, strong civil liberties, a genuinely free marketplace, and peace.