OC Supervisor Shawn Nelson Endorses ‘King of Corporate Welfare’ for President


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PHONY AS A THREE DOLLAR BILL: Supervisor Shawn Nelson, a self-described “Republican with lots of libertarian views” and “grandfather of the tea party in Orange County”–a movement that supposedly favors “limited government” and “taxpayer accountability”–endorsed Rick Perry during his recent visit, ignoring the fact the Texas governor has a track record of giving away millions in public funds to corporations.


According to the Los Angeles Times, Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas and wannabe Republican presidential nominee, made a campaign stop at Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach, a city that is home to mega-billionaires like Donald Bren, a swindler who got filthy rich from a real estate boom created by the massive Cold War-era expansion of California’s taxpayer-subsidized defense and aerospace industries.

OC Supervisor Shawn Nelson, a self-described “Republican with lots of libertarian views” and “grandfather of the tea party in Orange County“–a movement that supposedly favors “limited government” and “taxpayer accountability”–endorsed Perry during his visit, ignoring the fact the Texas governor has a lengthy track record of giving away hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds to multi-billion dollar corporations.

Last month, Glenn Garvin, a libertarian columnist for the daily newspaper, the Miami Herald of Florida, wrote an opinion piece dubbed “Rick Perry–king of corporate welfare,” noting the Texas governor has far more in common with Democratic president Barack Obama than most people believe. Both men, he observes,  ”see taxpayer money as a giant trough for feeding their political pals“:

As governor of Texas, Perry controls hundreds of millions of dollars in state handouts to corporations for “job creation and economic development.” Not surprisingly, it turns out that the funds are especially good at developing one particular sector of the Texas economy: Perry’s campaign funds.

The Texas Observer revealed earlier this year that of the 55 companies that have dipped into the $345 million Texas Enterprise Fund controlled by Perry, 20 have been have donated money either directly to Perry’s political campaign funds or to the Republican Governors Association, his Washington posse.

We’re not talking chump change: The Observer counted donations over $2 million. Meanwhile, The Dallas Morning News looked into the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, another of the taxpayer teats under Perry’s control, and found eight companies that received $16 million in subsidies who, totally coincidentally, donated $1.4 million to the governor’s campaign.

In addition, Garvin, a Contributing Editor at Reason magazine, a publication that prides itself as being a staunch defender of private property rights, attacked the “pay-to-play” governor for supporting a “new form of eminent domain” for a now-cancelled super-highway project. If it had become law, it would have allowed the state to seize “any land it wanted with just 90 days of notice, then ‘negotiate’ the price later“:

And Perry is not content to merely pick taxpayer pockets on behalf of his corporate friends; he’ll resort to strong-arm robbery when necessary. The biggest controversy of his decade in the governor’s mansion was an arrogant attempted land-grab called the Trans-Texas Corridor, a $185 billion system of super-highways for which the state would have had to acquire as much as a thousand square miles of territory.

To deal with troublesome property owners who didn’t want to sell, Perry persuaded the legislature to pass a new form of eminent domain known as “quick-claim,” in which the state could have seized any land it wanted with just 90 days of notice, then “negotiate” the price later. The super-highway plan died in 2010 only because the federal government showed more concern for the rights of bugs and bunnies than Perry did for the property rights of his constituents, pulling the plug on its chunk of the budget out of environmental concerns.

I’m not a libertarian, but I find it amusing how Nelson, who spends most of his time bitching that public employee unions are bankrupting the government, has absolutely no problem endorsing a crook like Texas Governor Rick Perry, who plunders the state treasury like a piggy bank and freely dispenses taxpayer money to multi-billion dollar corporations in return for campaign contributions.

But I’ve long since learned that “free marketeers” like Nelson are about as phony as a three dollar bill with Donald Duck’s or Minnie Mouse’s face engraved upon it. Such people love to suck on the teats of the “nanny state” as long as it enriches them and the wealthy businessmen who help keep them in their comfy government jobs. In Nelson’s world, its free market for thee, but not for me.


About Duane Roberts