By Bradley Harrington
“The essence of the interventionist policy is to take from one group to give to another. It is confiscation and distribution.” — Ludwig von Mises, “Human Action,” 1949 —
Since we spent our introductory rant (“Getting Fired From the WTE — and Revving Up for Another Ride,” June 24) discussing, in part, the fascistic realities of government “economic development” schemes — “fascist” because they involve extensive state economic control without property nationalization — what better place to land immediately afterwards, than with the story of Cody Labs?
For those who might recall, “Less than two years ago, Cody Laboratories was home to 135 higher-paying jobs, planning a massive expansion and praised by local and state leaders as an example of how Wyoming could diversify its economy. But by the end of this summer, the pharmaceutical manufacturer will cease operations and close its doors.” (“Cody Labs to close, dozens being laid off,” “Casper Star Tribune,” June 16.)
For those who might not recall, however, there’s a bit more to it than that. Not once, not twice, but three times had come Cody Labs, hat in hand to the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB), looking for “free” government “economic development” money:
■ 2012 — $2.5 million — (“State Loan and Investment Board approves over $6 million in business ready grants,” www.wyomingbusiness.org, April 12, 2012);
■ 2016 — $11 million — (“SLIB approves $11 million for Cody Labs,” “Cody Enterprise,” Oct. 10, 2016);
■ 2017 — $12 million — (“Pharmaceutical company lands new state loan,” “Wyoming Tribune Eagle,” Oct. 6, 2017).
And the purpose of this $25.5 million orgy of taxpayer-funded foolishness? To “create jobs,” according to Cody Labs President Bernhard Opitz, who had said previously that the company’s goal was to spend “$50.5 million while creating 57 jobs.” (“Cody business seeks loan from state of Wyoming,” WTE, Oct. 2, 2017.)
So, now, consider this trio of taxpayer-funded SLIB loans that had been granted to Cody Labs. Formerly praised to the skies by everybody from the Mayor to the Governor as the greatest thing since sliced bread for Wyoming economic development, what does our crowd of “economic development” cheerleaders have to say now? You can hear the crickets chirping up in Balcony C.
What happened to all the glitter, the jobs and the “economic diversity” promises, people? Wouldn’t NOW be a good time to discover how such a brilliantly-engineered spectacle of government intrusion transformed itself into a $25.5 million money-pit instead?
Well, to begin with, for anyone capable of simple long division, the numbers never added up in the first place. As I pointed out back then, “The taxpayers, allegedly, can expect to receive 57 jobs in return for having their pockets plundered to the tune of $23 million, which means: Each of those jobs costs $403,508.77.” (“Cody corporate ‘welfare’ fiasco: Fascist to the core,” WTE, Oct. 15, 2017.) Hardly what I’d call an engine of “jobs creation.”
And that’s the rub, Dear Readers, the “nature of the beast”: Even at their best, fascist “economic development” schemes are all losses right out of the gate. None of them can ever hope to produce an amount of wealth even equal to the size of the hole its seizure left behind.
And, in this case, things were decidedly not at their best, were they? Mix in a few multi-million-dollar lawsuits about price-fixing, then blend in a stiff downturn in demand due to the “opiod crisis,” and you’ve got … A guaranteed recipe for more loss and failure.
Significantly but not surprisingly, the local news outlet lamented the Cody Labs crash-and-burn — but, characteristically, it failed to understand the significance of their own words. In an editorial (also reprinted by the WTE on June 25), the “Cody Enterprise” said:
All of which completely misses the point: In a market economy, it’s the people who put up the money that either reap the rewards or pay the price, not some defenseless taxpayer being forced to fund government’s idea of what “economic development” should consist of.
Let me repeat that, folks: This is YOUR money these schemes of thuggery and political power are being played with! Through the legal power to tax, it’s YOUR money that’s being taken from you through coercive action. You are not being asked whether these practices are acceptable to you, nor are you being asked who you think should be the beneficiary of your plundered dollars. No, you’re being forced, lied to and stolen from instead.
No true capitalist would ever dream of acquiring wealth in such a fashion. For the “economic development” fascists, however, it’s “business as usual” — and your ignorance of their games, Dear Reader, is the only limit they see in sight.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. He also blogs at www.reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published on the “Truth to Power” blog on July 6, 2019.