Plastics Is My Business, And Business Is Good

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 31 2010 3:30 PM

Plastics Is My Business, And Business Is Good

Democrats and Wisconsin go after U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson, a multimillionaire businessman who got into politics via the Tea Party. Democrats say that Johnson built his business with government industrial revenue bonds; Johnson says it wasn't government money. Behold: Confusion!

The issue revolves around what role government plays in industrialrevenue bonds. According to the state Department of Commerce, proceedsfrom a bond sale are lent to businesses like Pacur to finance capitalprojects. Industrial revenue bonds are municipal bonds, but they arenot general obligations of the city. Companiesthat use such bonds pay the principal and interest on the loan. In thiscase, the City of Oshkosh's Common Council, which voted to approve bothbonds, lent its name, but not its credit, to the bond issue.

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Got all that? Democrats are doing the same thing in Tennessee , going after another Tea Party-powered candidate, Stephen Fincher, over his farm subsidies. The question is whether voters see these candidates as hypocrites, as Democrats would like, or whether they throw up their hands and buy the rhetoric about big government killing jobs and tax cuts creating them.

 

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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