This morning, I had CNN’s Starting Point on in the background as I got ready for work. On it was an interview between CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and one of Mitt Romney’s top surrogates, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
I usually tune interviews like this out, because of the nuttiness that is increasingly common from those on the political right. But in this interview, Johnson said something so absurd that I couldn’t help but pay attention.
He said, “President Obama simply doesn’t understand that it’s the free enterprise systems, the private sector, the productive sector, not the government sector that creates long-term self-sustaining jobs. Take a look at the Soviet Union, Venezuela’s economic basket case, and is anybody moving to the island paradise of Cuba?”
O’Brien, visibly perturbed, asked Johnson if this was indeed what he meant. She asked, “You’re surely not suggesting that the idea and the concept behind Solyndra and other green energies like Solyndra is comparable to the Soviet Union and Cuba, right?”
Johnson replied, “No, I am suggesting that, because when you take taxpayer money and you invest that into business, that’s the taxpayer money put at risk. And let’s face it; the lesson of the Soviet Union and other socialist nations is that governments are very poor allocators of capital. It’s an economic model that doesn’t work.”
There are so many things wrong with this that I’m not even sure where to start. For example, one of the biggest problems we face is that private industry isn’t “creating long-term self-sustaining jobs.”
Those arguments aside, my real question for Senator Johnson is, if government subsidizing green energy companies is communist, what does that make government subsidies to fossil fuel companies? What about government subsidies the agriculture industry?
What about the LA Times article detailing evidence that Mitt Romney benefited from government subsidies while he was head of Bain Capital? Or when, as Governor of Massachusetts, he offered subsidies to attract businesses to his state? Does that make Romney a communist?
Of course it doesn’t. Government subsidies to green energy companies aren’t communist either. Subsidies are common practice at the federal and state level, and are given to companies in nearly every industry.
That Romney and his surrogates are making claims this absurd, not to mention categorically false, is evidence of how little they think of the American public.
Here’s the video: