Libertarians oppose welfare for (Met)Life

RALEIGH (April 18) – The awarding of nearly $100 million in “corporate incentives” to MetLife, one of the largest insurance companies in the world, is a classic example of state and local governments playing the game of Reverse Robin Hood, robbing from the rich to give to the poor, a state Libertarian Party spokesman said in a statement today.

J.J. Summerell, Libertarian Party of North Carolina chair, said the party denounces all such corporate welfare as fiscally irresponsible and the practices should be stopped immediately.

Here is his statement:

“By taking money from the taxpayers and giving it to businesses in the form of ‘corporate incentives,’ our state and local governments are playing a game of Reverse Robin Hood. They’re robbing from the poor and giving to the rich. The Libertarian Party of North Carolina denounces all corporate welfare programs as fiscally irresponsible and calls for their immediate abolition.

“Taking money from the working citizens of North Carolina and giving the money to giant corporations makes no sense economically, only politically. All financial incentive packages from public sector organizations to private sector organizations should be abolished.”

“Though Republicans have said this for years, now that they’re in power they approve the policies they once opposed . The good news is that some Democrats are now beginning to understand the economic destruction wrought by these incentives.

“According to an article in the News and Observer by Jesse L. White, former executive director of the Southern Growth Policies Board, MetLife made the decision to locate in North Carolina before the incentives were requested. How absurd would it be for Wake and Mecklenburg Counties to get into a bidding war against each other? The private interests of Mecklenburg versus the political interests of Wake – what a showdown!

“Millions of dollars are taken every year from taxpayers and stashed into various funds and programs at all levels of government. These funds are supposedly to attract businesses to our area and help them expand, under the theory that this will create jobs and promote general prosperity.

“This theory has two fundamental defects. First of all, the government has no place in deciding which jobs should be created and maintained. A free market is infinitely better equipped to respond to the economic needs of businesses and consumers. When the government starts funding already successful companies, it becomes harder to compete in the marketplace if you have a new company with an innovative idea or service.

“This is not capitalism, it is not the free market, it is not a ‘public-private partnership.’ It does not matter if the beneficiary is Google, Dell, the Global Transpark, or the Carolina Panthers. When you take money from the poor and give it to the rich it is cronyism, pure and simple, the corrupt and immoral practice of using the force of government to benefit the elite special interests.

Libertarians want government to sever its ties with corporate special interests, cut all unnecessary government spending, and free our citizens from the current oppressive level of taxation. The public policy of arbitrary economic meddling is not a healthy way of creating economic prosperity.

“Government has no place picking the winners and losers in the marketplace. That is the job of the consumers and sellers themselves. Libertarians believe that people, making their own decisions in a free market, are a better judge of what businesses need to be funded.

“When people are allowed to keep the money they earn, they’ll decide what they want to spend it on. The companies that are rewarded with this spending money are the ones which respond best to the consumers’ needs. There is no overhead for expensive bureaucracies to oversee and coordinate these transactions. The free market is far more efficient at creating opportunities for businesses that want to serve the actual needs of the people.”

The Libertarian Party, formed in 1971, is the third largest political party in the U.S. and North Carolina, as well as the only ballot-recognized alternative party in the state.

Libertarians believe their philosophy is a logically consistent approach to politics based on the moral principle of self-ownership. They believe that each individual has the right to control their own body, action, speech, and property. For Libertarians, the only role of government is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud, and to protect life, liberty and property.