The Carrier bailout is awful, of course. It is a case of two politicians’ using public funds to bribe a business into doing things that benefit them personally and politically while creating no real long-term economic value. Pence, who dropped his free-market principles like the world’s hottest potato once he got within sniffing distance of presidential power, can burnish his populist credentials at the taxpayers’ expense, and Trump can get ready to flit on to the next publicity stunt.
But the emerging “Superman” politics here are truly poisonous. One of the genre conventions of superhero stories is the compression of all the world’s drama into the immediate presence of the hero — only his actions and intentions are relevant. People may be dying all over the world, but Superman saves Lois Lane. (Comic-book movies have lately subverted that convention by focusing on the collateral damage done by superheroes to the cities in which they live.) What that means in the context of our contemporary presidential politics is that no one takes any note of the fact that Carrier is not the only HVAC company in the United States or the only industrial concern in Indiana. Carrier has competitors that employ Americans, pay taxes, and produce real economic value, and they have been put at a relative disadvantage by the political favoritism extended to Carrier. What about them? They’re not on the stage, so they do not matter.
What is important to understand here is that this is not part of an economic-development agenda: It is theater. It is an adolescent fantasy of political power, and wherever Superman happens to land is where the action is. Nothing else is relevant. It does not matter that there is no broader logic at work: Small displays of efficacy can work to create an illusion of general efficacy. It is busyness as business.
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Trump’s big idea so far is spending $7 million of other people’s money to delay an embarrassing headline. Some deal. Some deal-maker.
Politically connected billionaire investor Warren Buffett has been unwavering in his support for millionaire presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but this weekend Buffett pledged to go to greater lengths to get his fellow 1-percenter elected.
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[Hillary] Clinton endorses subsidies for green energy, and [Warren] Buffett is positioned to profit from such subsidies. Clinton opposes the Keystone pipeline, which could make Buffett’s railway more profitable. Hillary supported the Wall Street bailout, which directly benefited Buffett. Hillary is on board with Buffett in supporting the death tax, which has meant much profit for Buffett — he owns part of a life insurance company, and he’s bought profitable businesses whose owners were forced by to sell because of the death tax. Buffett is invested in ethanol giant Archer Daniels Midland, and Clinton supports federal ethanol mandates.
Pres. Obama: Greatest recruiter for libertarianism, best gun salesman, Moral Preener in Chief, President Asterisk, President Big Brother, Crony Capitalist in Chief, BushObama, Obamaworld, President Drone, Golfer in Chief, Comedian in Chief, Plutocrat in Chief, Phony in Chief, Black Mascot of Wall Street, Obama Thugocracy, Statist in Chief, President Daddy, President Clunker, President Chicago Way, President Philosopher King, Constitutional Law Professor in Chief, President Food Stamp, Crony in Chief, Idiot in Chief, President Shakedown, ….