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Tea Party Senator: Government Subsidies Are Communism (Unless They Make Me Rich)

Memo Pad

Tea Party Senator: Government Subsidies Are Communism (Unless They Make Me Rich)


Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson — a Tea Party favorite who serves as a prominent surrogate for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign — raised eyebrows on Tuesday morning when he said on CNN’s “Starting Point” that investing in green energy makes America just like the Soviet Union.

“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,” Johnson told host Soledad O’Brien. “Take a look at the Soviet Union, Venezuela’s economic basket case, and is anybody moving to the island paradise of Cuba?”

“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?” O’Brien asked incredulously.

Johnson replied in the affirmative.

No, I am suggesting that, because when you take taxpayer money and you invest that into businesses, 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.

Aside from the obvious absurdity of claiming that investing in green energy will transform American into the country that brought us the Chernobyl disaster, Johnson ignores the fact that his candidate also invested state money in solar companies while he was governor of Massachusetts.

“Didn’t it work in Massachusetts?” O’Brien asked. “Isn’t that exactly what Governor Romney did in Massachusetts in green energy when he was the governor of Massachusetts?”

“Listen, the path we need to take this country on is with free enterprise system, the private sector that creates long term self-sustaining jobs and that’s exactly what Governor Romney would do as President Romney,” Johnson non-answered.

Video of the exchange is below, via Think Progress

Although Johnson claims that subsidizing green businesses is akin to communism, he had no problem voting to preserve multi-billion dollar tax subsidies for the oil industry. Of course, his support for Big Oil is hardly a surprise; Johnson owned up to $466,000 of stock in various oil companies when he ran for Senate, and donors from the oil industry have contributed $113,950 to him in the last six years.

Johnson also presumably wasn’t thinking of the Soviet Union when his own company, a plastics manufacturer called Pacur, received a $2.5 million loan from the city of Oshkosh — in the form of a government bond that charged below-market interest rates.

Apparently Johnson only thinks that government subsidies are communism if he’s not getting rich off of them.

Henry Decker

Henry Decker was formerly the Managing Editor of The National Memo. He is currently an Online Associate at MRCampaigns.

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  1. bcarreiro July 17, 2012

    congressional republicans are communists…………….any questions ask the little people you stomped on to get there.

  2. Russell Booker July 18, 2012

    Mitt Romney is to rich to be in government and he is fighting against it. So why is he running for president if he is against the government?

  3. Eleanore Whitaker July 18, 2012

    Why doesn’t Mr. Wisconsin Senator say what he really means? He’s a Big Oil supporter and hates any possible evolution in energy whether or not the people of this country want it. What’s with WI politicians playing bully bois and forgetting WE the people decide…not they the politicians whose salaries we are paying. If they can’t do the job we tell them to do, step aside. We’ll do it for them.

  4. William Deutschlander July 18, 2012

    Mr Johnson is a member of the Republican Cartel, you must follow the Cartel’s script!

  5. nomaster July 18, 2012

    Senator Ron Johnson is a hipocrit. What about the regular oil company subsidies or the multiple other subsidies that republicans and teabaggers are so quick to accept for their cause and their pockets. If the government can’t invest in new technology nothing will ever get better.

  6. Alice Barden July 18, 2012

    Of course..it’s wrong to take taxpayer money and put it into infrastructure too right…it’s even more right for the tea partiers and right wing to take tax payer money and put it into religious schools..Christian only…what hypocrites

  7. whitetiger July 18, 2012

    This Senator is a hypocrite. Vote against ending subsides, for the oil companies, then blames the President for investing in companies that will compete against his companies. LOL. Wisconsin wake up look who you have serving you. But I know, the voters look at the money, not the person.

  8. SaneJane July 18, 2012

    Our government creates dollars. When we get dollars we give some of it back to the government in the form of taxes. If the government had the dollars to begin with and that is where we got them how is it taxpayer’s money that is being spent?

  9. jarheadgene July 18, 2012

    HYPOCRITE ! Tea Party my arse….the only Tea Party this guy is really with is when the Queen of England comes to visit and they talk about the Crown Jewels. And to suggest that gov’t subsidized products are bad and only Free Enterprise products excel is CRAP. South Korea’s internet is paid for by their gov’t. and it is THE FASTEST in THE WORLD. Whereas, MR. Dick(head) Cheney’s Halliburton put in substandard uninspected Concrete in the drilling base for BP Oil and look how that turned out in the Gulf Coast. Where are the congressional hearings and charges and jail time for
    that mess in the Gulf….and yet after Katrina and the Oil Spill Louisiana has an UNCLE TOM Bobby Jindall Republican Governor. How can anyone in the south trust a Republican at all….must be cause at least Bobby is Indian or Pakistani…but not Black. The GOP is not the party it was during Lincoln or John Brown. They have become scumbag GREEDY WHORES!

  10. phantomoftheopera July 18, 2012

    i find it interesting that the tea party has never suggested that we get rid of FEMA. probably would save a bunch. but then, as gov. perry said, where’s my money. why isn’t there more, why is it taking so long

  11. TheOldNorthChurch July 18, 2012

    We need to stop all “Corporate Welfare” and subsidies by the American Public period.

    These programs no matter the intent are not the correct use of tax dollars. Green Energy, ethanol, subsidies for electric cars, insulating your house, investing in the lobbyist’s Du Jour pet project, subsidizing this and that – how about stop stealing from the American Tax Payers?

    Do you ever get tried of watching Congress and the President Major in the Minors? Eighty percent of our fiscal problems are being caused by mismanagement of Defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Interest on the National Debt. Are any of our Government officials addressing these issues in a comprehensive and responsible manner? No none of them!

    The American Fall

  12. Bigspender July 19, 2012

    The tea party produces some really ignorant people. They only bring shame and embarrassment to the US.

  13. Ed July 19, 2012

    What is the diffrence between communism and capitalist? The communists took tax money and built industries which the government ran and made decisions on. The capitalist system is for the government to take taxpayer money and do the research to advance an idea and then give the money to the priovate sector, well the wealgthiest part of the private sector.

  14. mrgwr42 July 19, 2012

    Oh yes lets be against energy that reduces carbon emissions and provides clean energy through things like wind power. That makes a whole lot of sense……….not!!!!!! What a douche bag idiot this Senator is. If we had more wind power generators we could create electricity very cheaply and it would not cause pollution it would reduce greenhouse emissions and every property owner that allowed them on his property would receive a financial reward for allowing them. In fact we could have an entire industry of wind farms where land that is not being used for anything could be used to generate electricity and they could even build fences around the windmills so the land could be used for farming and cattle grazing without harming the cattle or whatever grazing animal was there and the rancher would receive a subsidy for allowing the windmills and alas no pollution. A great deal of land in Alaska south of the arctic circle could be used to generate tons of electricity. If we had more windfarms in the Great Plains a whole lot of energy could be generated there. No nuclear power plants or coal burning or trash burning power plants that add to pollution.

  15. howa4x July 19, 2012

    I for canceling all susidies the major coroprations unless they lower their prices to affordable levels. Republicans believe that America is exists to serve the large corporations and they will use every avenue to talk about why its so good to do it. They are lapdogs to the energy sector and want all of us to use it at the right price. Solyndra was actually 1st funded by Bush2 and because we got into the game late, was undercut by cheap Chinese solar products. Republicans are now the party of lying, cheating and stealing

  16. Bigspender July 20, 2012

    He’s just another republican ALLEN WEST wanabe.

  17. Beckker Koorrah July 21, 2012

    Thats what we call hypocrites,Do what I say but don’t follow what I do>”

  18. Beckker Koorrah July 21, 2012

    Subsidies is communism? But ,if you get subsidies for big oil ,ok with you coz it make ur pocket rich,,Hypocrites,, DO WHAT I SAY BUT DON’T FOLLOW WHAT I DO”


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