Unwinding the Shroud of Secrecy Covering Rick Perry’s Corporate Socialism

Aug 26 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Rick Perry Shrouded in Secrets

More from Governor Rick Perry’s closet: He is Marxist, statist, Socialist.

Perry uses government money to prop up private corporations by loaning government money back to businesses owned by folks who contribute to him. Plus, they get an extra bonus of a side-by-side equity investment. All of this is kept secret from the “investors” (the people) and it is touted as “job creation”.

I’m referring to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, created in 2005 at Perry’s urging. Apparently if you are a conservative Republican, you can do as you wish with public money, put a tea bag on it and pass it off to the voters as anything you wish and they will eat it up. We all recall the outrage when President Obama helped General Motors with government money. But when Rick Perry does it, only in secret without public disclosure, it’s called job creation.

On October 30, 2010 the Dallas News reported:

An investigation by The Dallas Morning News found that more than $16 million from the Emerging Technology Fund has been awarded to companies with investors or officers who are large campaign donors to Perry…. The fund gives taxpayers’ dollars to promising high-tech startups… The governor’s office administers the tech fund, and the governor must approve each award – a system that most other states with tech funds avoid to guard against political influence.

The News found that tech fund money has been awarded to companies with which at least eight significant Perry donors are affiliated.

The donors and the millions given to them by Perry are listed in detail by the Dallas News. Here are a few examples (it’s definitely worth reading their entire expose):

•$2.75 million to Terrabon Inc., a Houston company. Its backers have included Phil Adams, a college friend of Perry’s who has given his campaign at least $314,000.
•$1.5 million to ThromboVision Inc., a Houston company. One of its investors was Charles W. Tate, who has donated more than $424,000 to Perry.
•$4.5 million to Convergen Lifesciences Inc. of Austin. The company was founded by David G. Nance, a former Perry appointee who has given the governor $80,000.

While many states have such funds, the Texas fund is set up so that all of the recommendations regarding who gets the funds are secret, and the top political leaders (Perry as Governor, the Lt Governor and the House speaker) are the “deciders”. They don’t act on an application until Perry backs an applicant. Perry’s process for backing an applicant involves a private advisory committee made up of Perry appointees, which does not disclose their meetings to the public and consists of some political donors to Perry. They do not keep minutes of their meetings either.

Here’s the part that has some folks naming this Socialism:

The tech fund is structured so that the state gets the right to buy stock in each company that receives an award. The state can cash in when a company is sold or goes public. That has happened at least once. CardioSpectra Inc., which was $1.35 million in 2006, was bought by Volcano Corp. in 2007. Perry spokeswoman Cesinger placed the return on the state’s investment at $2.2 million.

Now, you might be thinking, OK, so he’s hiding who gets the money but hey, if it’s making money for the people, who cares, right? Unfortunately, many of these ventures are speculative in nature and some of them have gone bankrupt, such as the above mentioned ThromboVision, which received a 1.5 million dollar “investment” of the “collective resources” of taxpayer money.

Perry is gambling the people’s money on his political donor’s speculative enterprises and not disclosing it to the very “investors” whose money he’s using. The irony is that while he could keep his investments private in a private business, if it were a publicly traded business, he would most certainly have to disclose the companies in which he were investing and the “free market” would determine whether or not he was doing a good job with his picks, whereas in this scenario, the free market has been eliminated and the conservative notion of the markets self-correcting has been thwarted by the use of privacy and backroom deals.

In response to the criticism in the Dallas News story of 2010, Governor Perry refused to disclose the investors in Texas Emerging Technology Fund recipients.

Here’s Perry touting his ETF in October of 2009, selling it as how Texas handles economic troubles, calling it a job creation system and saying that “investing resources” is a way to do that (hello, this is what the Tea Party calls socialism when President Obama does it):

We don’t know if the ETF created any jobs, because while “job creation” is listed as one of the reasons for the fund, the state has refused to disclose how many, if any, jobs were created as a result of the state’s investment in private firms.

But Perry is also picking the winners and losers, using government money to prop up favored companies – something that flies in the face of free market ideology. The market is supposed to pick the winners and losers. They sink or swim based on their performance – survival of the fittest. Instead, Perry is offering welfare entitlement programs to favored companies, which not only hurts the competition and is unfair to them, but also is using government money to invest in private firms. While many states do this, a Governor who professes to hate the fed and hate big government and claims to be a free market conservative is facing legitimate accusations of hypocrisy, not to mention charges of misusing public funds.

Republicans run their candidates on the notion that they have “business experience”, but private business can operate in the dark, without disclosure and accountability, whereas when the government uses taxpayer money, they are supposed to be accountable for how that money is used. It seems clear that when Republicans talk about running government like a business, they mean using taxpayer money to fund their political donors’ private firms. We’ve seen this from Cheney’s Halliburton to Walker’s Koch brothers to Rick Scott’s Solantic in Florida and so many more.

This granting of special privilege to a favored group can be called Mercantilism, which is in opposition to everything a free market conservative stands for. Murray N. Rothbard (1926–1995) was dean of the Austrian School of economics (the absolute God of Libertarian, Tea Party ideology) and an economist, economic historian, and libertarian political philosopher. He explains the meaning of mercantilism and its “Marxist roots”:

Marxists, constitutionally unable to distinguish between free enterprise and special privilege, hail mercantilism as a “progressive” step in the historical development of capitalism; socialists and interventionists salute mercantilism as anticipating modern state building and central planning.

Mercantilism, which reached its height in the Europe of the 17th and 18th centuries, was a system of statism, which employed economic fallacy to build up a structure of imperial state power, as well as special subsidy and monopolistic privilege to individuals or groups favored by the state.

So by Libertarian economic thought standards, Governor Perry is a Marxist, Socialist statist. This should alarm the Glenn Beck Tea Partiers. If those words sound familiar, it’s because the Tea Party repeated those charges (first made by Fox News, Glenn Beck and other allegedly conservative pundits) against President Obama when he saved General Motors (which was done in the open and the loan has been repaid).

What the Tea Party (which is nothing but a rebranded version of the far right and Republicans in general) really wants is another George W Bush; a Big Daddy authoritarian who drawls about how exceptional America is and God is on our side.

We are seeing the factions of the Republican Party backing their favorite horse in what looks to be an utterly doomed race for them based on national Tea Party polling. What Perry’s record really tells us is that the modern day Tea Party candidates don’t really stand for anything they pretend to stand for. They don’t give a hoot about Marxism, statism, or Socialism. They don’t even understand the concepts in the most cursory of ways. They aren’t fiscally conservative, they aren’t for the free market, and they aren’t really even true believers save Bachmann. They are white, social conservatives who speak to the angry, fearful heart of the far right.

The modern day Republican Party has nothing to do with fiscal conservatism and their base could care less. It’s not the “fed” they’re upset with. They’re upset because they can’t bear to be out of power. They are so unstable that when faced with two years of not having the White House, that they have broken down into a quaking mass of paranoia too often touched with violence. They see Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin as saviors, and it’s not because any of the three are fiscal conservatives, small government conservatives, or free marketers. Not a one of them walks that talk.

They all share the common trait of resentment based on a manufactured persecution complex stoked by ginned up fears that their values and religion are being forced out of power. The Republican Party is nothing more than a tent revival for alleged “Christians”, who behave more like cult worshipers, being run by con artists who know how to feed the angry mob justifications for their inherent anger and confusion. David Brooks wrote of Perry yesterday in the New York Times, “He does very well with the alternative-reality right – those who don’t believe in global warming, evolution or that Obama was born in the US.” Psst, David – that’s the new GOP base.

Governor Rick Perry gave at least $16 million in taxpayer money to political donors and refused to disclose the recipients. The only way the diligent reporters at the Dallas Morning News were able to uncover that 16 million was by pouring over court filings and private financial disclosures since the private firms are not forced to disclose their financials.

What I find so egregious about Perry and the Tea Party is that in the name of purity, their so-called values caused this country’s credit rating to be lowered because they could not budge from their principles. And yet, the Tea Party supports Governor Perry for President in alarming numbers and they do not care one whit that he has committed all of the sins they have accused President Obama of and more. And those “sins” are sins against their supposed value system that they feel so strongly about, they feel they may have to take this government over with arms. These same people back Perry by a majority.

Where’s the Tea Party purity now? Gone, with nary a trace. And that, my friends, is how you can tell that this was never about their alleged principles.

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