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Crony-in-chief?

December 4, 2016

Peter Suderman writes an interesting column at Hit & Run about Trump, politics, and free markets.

Yes, We Should Worry About Donald Trump’s Business Conflicts of Interests—and His Whole Approach to the Interaction Between Government and Business

The president-elect was a crony capitalist businessman. Now he’s set to become a crony capitalist politician.

As a real estate developer, Donald Trump made and sought special deals designed to use the power of government to improve his personal bottom line.

The first building project he ever developed, the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan, was completed using a multi-decade tax abatement obtained using his father’s connections. This was not a broad-based tax cut so much as a state-granted subsidy that granted Trump’s project the financial wherewithal to proceed. In 1994, Trump proposed that the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, become a partner with him on a $350 million theme park project, allowing him to get access to land by declaring a number of businesses as condemned properties. Over the course of his career as a developer, he repeatedly pressured the government to use eminent domain to clear private property owners out of the way, including one instance in 1994 in which he requested that the government kick an Atlantic City widow out of her home in order to replace it with a limousine parking lot. While campaigning for president, he aggressively defended the use of eminent domain, calling it a “wonderful thing,” and describing it as necessary for construction projects that create jobs.

For Trump, this is not merely a business strategy. It amounts to a working theory of how government and the private sector should interact. And it is one that should worry anyone concerned about maintaining a fair and proper division between the state and the private sector. […]

He doesn’t believe that the government’s role is to set clear ground rules and let market competition work things out. […]

Remember all the well-deserved grief Obama took for Solyndra and Fisker?

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

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