Daniel J. Mitchell
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One of my first posts on this blog featured this video showing how big government breeds corruption.

I’ve periodically provided examples of how this process works, citing Alaska, Chicago, Wall Street, and Washington.

Here’s another example, explicitly showing how big business and big government get in bed together to rape and pillage taxpayers. The sleazy details have been reported by Bloomberg.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and its partners in a $15 billion Papua New Guinea gas project last year paid the travel expenses for employees of the U.S. Export-Import Bank as it considered whether to help fund the venture. The four workers ran up $97,367 in bills traveling to London, Tokyo and the South Pacific, according to data compiled by the bank. They flew business class, viewed the project’s route by chartered aircraft and were entertained by costumed villagers. Eleven months later, the bank approved $3 billion in financing for the liquefied natural gas facility, the biggest transaction in the agency’s 75 years.

I posted last month about why it’s important to shut down the corrupt subsidies at the Export-Import bank. This story is a good example of why handouts for big companies are a carousel of sleaze.

Pay close attention to this issue. When the votes happen, you’ll be able to tell which Republicans understand the difference between free markets and cronyism – much as a pair of votes last year showed which Republicans believed in free markets instead of government subsidies for well-heeled housing interests.

Against 3-1 Odds, Promoting Good Tax Policy on Government TV

With the clock ticking ever closer to the tax-filing deadline, this is the time of year we should be especially cognizant of America’s awful tax system.

Disdain for the corrupt tax code certainly motivates me. As such, even though the panel was stacked against me with three proponents of Obama’s class warfare approach, I hope I did a decent job of defending good tax policy against the statists in this debate on government-subsidized TV.

My most effective moment (I think) was when I explained that “rich” taxpayers declared much more income and paid much higher taxes after Reagan reduced the top tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent.

I also had a couple of good lines when discussing the value-added tax.

Nonetheless, I think I was disadvantaged by the editing process since many of my comments from our hour-long taping got cut out. If you are sufficiently masochistic, you can listen to the entire program at this link.

I’ll close with an observation. If you support freedom and liberty and work in public policy, you better get used to being outnumbered. When I testified to the Ways & Means Committee about the VAT, I was a lone voice against this pernicious tax while the other four witnesses supported making America more like Greece.

And when I appeared on an English-language French TV program to debate tax havens, I had to battle three statists.

But at least I have truth on my side, so that compensates.

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Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.
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