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  • Judge Jim Gray

Crony Capitalism

Recently John Stossel wrote an Op-Ed piece entitled “Corporate Welfare Just Helps the Rich at Our Expense,” and I believe he is right. Who usually gets these tax breaks and subsidies that comprise corporate welfare, otherwise known as crony capitalism? Some common ones are Amtrak, sports stadiums, agricultural commodities, green energy and even fossil fuels. So almost always the subsidies and tax breaks are given to big businesses that have the money to lobby government officials, to which the smaller businesses legitimately say “Well, what about us?” For example, the City of Memphis, Tennessee gave Swedish furniture maker IKEA a $9.5 million tax break in exchange for its promise to create 175 new jobs. This logically resulted in a complaint from a local furniture store that said “Hey, we pay taxes here, so where’s our tax break? All you are doing is helping our competitor!” And, by the way, two years later IKEA still has not created all of the jobs they promised, but several competing furniture stores have gone out of business.

Similarly, it is estimated that in 2019 large agribusinesses spent over $135 million on lobbying, which basically means donating money to the campaigns of politicians. And you know that those businesses would not spend that money without the strong expectation that they would get much more back from the government than they had “invested” in their lobbying. Yes, there should be taxes, but they should be spent on things that improve the lives of us all, such as police and fire protection, schools and other essential services. By now everyone should understand that the government is not equipped beneficially to interfere in the marketplace. And politicians that believe otherwise for their own political benefit, wherever they are, should be firmly voted out of office! Please help spread the word!

This article is a reprint of an original post published on Judge Jim Gray's site. The views expressed in it are those of the author and not necessarily the views of the Libertarian Party of Orange County.

James P. Gray is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and presently works as a private mediator and arbitrator for ADR Services, Inc. He was also the 2012 vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, and can be contacted at, or through his website at

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