Diary

So Begins The Rent-Seeking

The degree to which special interests are seeking breaks and assistance in the stimulus bill should appall people of reasonable sensibilities:

Craig Silvertooth, the president of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, said he’s concerned that lawmakers have failed to include tax incentives for energy-efficient roofs using solar panels. But the geothermal heat pump industry — represented by lobbyists for one company, Oklahoma-based ClimateMaster Inc. — said it won equal footing with solar and wind companies through a 30% homeowner tax credit in the House bill for installation of a geothermal heat pump.

Lobbyists for U.S. footwear makers and retailers want lawmakers to wall off their drive to scrap import taxes on cheap shoes from a competing push to lower tariffs on all imported clothing and textiles.

The shoe lobby sent a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday asking for a stimulus provision abolishing the import tax on synthetic, fabric and canvas shoes. The American Apparel & Footwear Association, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America and retail footwear companies say the tax can reach 67.5%.

Once this kind of behavior commences, it is pretty difficult to stop it. Of course, the last thing we need in a recessionary economy is legislated protectionism and other such antediluvian policies but so long as Congress and the Obama Administration open the bidding to parochial interests, the chances that such godawful policies will get implemented goes up by several orders of magnitude.

“Reality-based” economics at its finest. Aren’t you glad we are giving government this much power over our lives?