GOP presidential candidate and one-term Senator Marco Rubio, to his credit, has spoken against the crony capitalist Export-Import Bank, a taxpayer-funded subsidy of big business and one of the most favored government programs of the establishment in both parties.
In a April 23, conference call hosted by Americans for Prosperity, a free-market group, Rubio spoke out against “Ex-Im,” saying, “I have long supported ending funding for Ex-Im.” He added,”I don’t believe taxpayer money should be used as corporate welfare.”
“The government should not be picking winners and losers when it comes to the free market,” Rubio claimed.
But is Marco Rubio really against the government picking winners and losers — is he really against ending corporate welfare?
Well, it turns out that Rubio is okay with government picking some winners and losers, as long as it involves his State of Florida and his fat cat campaign donors in the sugar industry.
As Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner effectively points out, Rubio’s support of sugar subsidies in Florida are the height of “crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and federal boondoggles.”
Rubio supports the federal sugar program, with its special cheap loans and its blatant protectionism. This is to the detriment of U.S. consumers and foodmakers, and to the benefit of a handful of sugar magnates, including some of his earliest fundraisers.
Amidst the jungle of crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and federal boondoggles that Congress has created, the sugar program may be the least defensible.
Carney writes that because of the Rubio favored taxpayer handouts to the sugar industry, Americans are forced to pay, on average, more that twice the world price.
Who is benefitting from this blatant act of cronyism? Well, follow the money — it’s Rubio’s big-moneyed donors, not the millions of Americans who are forced to pay higher prices.
Carney connects the dots. Marco Rubio has a Sugar Daddy:
Two companies — U.S. Sugar and Flo-Sun (which owns Domino)—dominate the sugar market. Flo-Sun is owned by the Fanjul family.
Pepe Fanjul is a Rubio donor, but he is far more than that: he’s one of Rubio’s earliest backers. Rubio, in his 2010 U.S. Senate race, was barely polling in double digits in March 2009 against a sitting governor. That’s when Fanjul and his son Jose gave Rubio the maximum donation.
In June, the Fanjuls co-hosted a fundraiser in Coral Gables for Rubio. It wasn’t their last. When nobody believed in Marco Rubio, the Fanjuls did, and that may have made him more amenable to their arguments about sugar policy.
So Marco Rubio, who is also flimsy when it comes to immigration policy, is also flexible with his principles when it comes to supporting corporate welfare.
Rubio’s support of sugar subsidies is no less than supporting corporate bailouts, except this bailout is not a one-time event. It’s perpetual bailouts Rubio supports, as long as it’s his donors who benefit.