Freshman Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) has made a name for himself on budget issues. He’s been tapped by leadership to sell parts of the Paul Ryan Republican budget, and he has been one of the most visible members of the House Budget Committee.
Before the Silver Elephant Dinner in South Carolina last week, we spoke briefly with Mulvaney about the issue of tax expenditures, better known as subsidies, that amount to taxpayer giveaways to major corporations. Mulvaney justified his vote to preserve billions in tax subsidies to oil companies by claiming that he would later end such tax breaks when the Ryan budget is steered through committee. However, when asked about subsidies for Boeing (which receives over $900 million in various subsidies from South Carolina, billions more in loan guarantees from the federal government), Mulvaney changed course. Boeing, which recently relocated a major plant to South Carolina in order to undercut union-wages in Washington state, has every right to receive subsidies, Mulvaney argued:
FANG: The government is already giving billions of dollars to already extremely profitable oil companies. In the last quarter we saw that the top oil majors made something like $35 billion, just in a period of three months. Yet this week, Republicans pretty much on a party line vote, voted against a measure to rescind some of these oil subsidies.
MULVANEY: Well those measures we vote on every single week. These are procedural motions. Look at what the Ryan budget does. You’re absolutely right about the subsidies. The subsidies frustrate me just as much as the folks across the aisle. I don’t like subsidies. The Republican Party must figure out if we are pro-business or pro-market. [...]
FANG: What about Boeing? Billions in loan guarantees here from the state of South Carolina extended to this very profitable company. Would you want to take those away as well?
MULVANEY: No. State decision. I have no difficulty with it at all. What bothers me is the NLRB decision to sue Boeing.
The lawsuit Mulvaney is referring to is an NLRB complaint against Boeing that the company moved to South Carolina as an illegal union-busting tactic. Even Boeing admits that it moved to South Carolina explicitly as a way to avoid dealing with a union in Washington state. Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) has protected Boeing by making the NLRB lawsuit a political hot button in the state.
Boeing, which is already dependent on taxpayer support for much of its business through military contracts, has used a sophisticated lobbying game to undercut workers and pay literally no taxes on its large corporate profits. Boeing funds front groups, hires lobbyists, and dumps large amounts of money into political campaigns. For instance, Boeing was among the top corporate sponsors for Haley’s inaugural events earlier this year.