There is, of course, nothing particularly new about politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths. One of the favored hypocrisies of conservative Republican elected officials, for instance, involves railing on a daily basis about the evils of big gummint spending and then making a beeline to the latest ribbon-cutting announcement of a new military installation, school, agricultural center or some other public work in their district.
In these instances, the basic rule is a simple one: when public tax dollars come to your district, they prime the economic pump and help create jobs. When they go to another district, it’s a matter of wasteful bureaucratic spending. If North Carolinians had $1,000 for every time Senators Burr and Tillis went down this road, we might have enough to cover the cost of the new public incentive plan the state will provide to Apple Computer to locate its big new campus in Wake County.
All that said, most politicians usually try to provide some kind of plausible buffer between their statements. Rare is the lawmaker who both praises and criticizes the same deal.
And then there’s North Carolina State Rep. Jason Saine of Lincoln County. Saine, a Republican currently serving his sixth House term and who chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee, offered two very different takes on the big Apple announcement today.
At 10:03 this morning, Saine went on Twitter to “like” the tweet posted by John Locke Foundation President and Chief Strategy Officer Donald Bryson in which he blasted the deal.
I’m so glad that @NC_Governor is sticking up for a small startup like @Apple by giving them $1 billion in taxpayer incentives. Obviously to locate to an economically struggling part of the state – the Research Triangle. #corporatewelfare #NCGA #ncpol
— Donald Bryson (@donaldbryson) April 26, 2021
Thirty-nine minutes later, Saine issued his own tweet in which he, in essence, claimed credit for the announcement:
For Immediate Release: Rep. Jason Saine Responds to Apple Announcement — Office of Rep. Jason Saine https://t.co/pYgy958tek
— Rep. Jason Saine (@JasonSaine97th) April 26, 2021
Of course, Saine will probably try to argue that it was all his and the GOP’s doing that Apple is coming to North Carolina and that the incentive dough played no role (never mind the destruction he and his colleagues have wreaked on our schools, environment and public infrastructure). But that is, by any assessment, slicing the baloney pretty thin.
None of this is to say that incentives are always good or that the Locke people haven’t issued some valid critiques of the idea from time to time. It is to say, however that conservative politicians who tend to parrot the group’s positions ought to try and at least get their stories straight.