They came so close. But like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, you just knew they were going to blow it.
On the final day of the 2021 legislative session, the Georgia House passed legislation that would revoke major tax exemption for Delta Airlines, after the company intervened to protest the state’s new election law. For a brief moment, embers of hope were kindled in the hearts of nationalists. Were state-level Republicans finally breaking free from their subservience to woke megacorporations that despise and ridicule them?
Alas, no. Right after the Georgia House passed the bill, the state senate declined to even take it up. The measure died, and Georgia’s legislative sessions closed that night. Delta still has its big tax break. It was all for show.
This is why Republicans always lose. Instead of making corporate power serve the interests of the state and its people, they get the relationship backwards, and beg for scraps from companies that are openly allied with their enemies.
There is nothing extreme about the Georgia election reform bill. It bans the pseudo-bribery of voters by giving free food and drinks to those who arrive at polling stations. It cuts the state’s exhausting 9-week runoff period down to a more reasonable four weeks. And most importantly, the bill requires photo ID for voting absentee by mail, which doesn’t make fraud impossible but does make it substantially more burdensome to commit.
The bill is reasonable and restrained. It is far less ambitious than the bill Republicans initially hoped to pass. No matter. Democrats have summoned woke capital to threaten the state and treat it like apartheid-era South Africa for making moderate revisions to its election laws. Coca-Cola dutifully trashed the bill on Wednesday, and Delta did the same.
The only valid response to such threats is to put capital in its place. The people rule in Georgia, not woke corporations. But Georgia Republicans are too weak to do that.
Like so many states, nominally “free market” Georgia gives preferential treatment to certain powerful or favored companies. Right now, state law exempts jet fuel from the state sales tax. The exemption, which costs the state about $40 million a year, is primarily meant to benefit Delta, which uses Atlanta as its primary global hub. Delta turned a $4.8 billion profit in 2019, so there is no sensible reason to give it such a tax break, unless it is providing some exceptional benefit to the people of Georgia.
But of course, the opposite is the case. Delta has openly placed itself in opposition to their interests. In 2018, Delta showed its subservience to the left when it revoked a discount for NRA members in response to the Parkland school shooting. At the time, Georgia lawmakers were considering implementing the jet fuel tax break as part of a larger bill. In response to Delta’s behavior, the GOP House jettisoned it from the final bill.
Georgia lawmakers voted to punish Delta Air Lines Inc. on Thursday, passing a sweeping tax bill that excludes a tax break that would have saved the airline millions of dollars.
In a tweet Monday, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he would ““kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta” unless the airline rescinded its decision to end a discount for National Rifle Association members. “Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” he said. [MarketWatch]
It was tough talk. But of course, the state GOP didn’t have the courage to back it up. Not even five months later, the state’s Republican leader resurrected the tax break on his own.
Georgia’s governor on Monday made good on his vow to restore a tax cut on jet fuel sales that was previously killed by state GOP lawmakers irate with Delta Air Lines for ending a discount for members of the National Rifle Association.
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal issued an executive order suspending collection of the state’s 4 percent sales tax on jet fuel beginning Aug. 1. The Georgia General Assembly could reinstate the tax when it reconvenes for the 2019 legislative session in January. [AP]
A few months later, the Georgia legislature codified Deal’s workaround into law. The NRA stunt was over, and Delta still got exactly what it wanted.
Was Delta being rewarded for backtracking, and restoring the discount? Of course not. Delta completely ignored the GOP, and in a few months they buckled anyway. In early 2019, Delta CEO Ed Bastian even took a victory lap in an interview.
In a recent interview with LinkedIn’s Daniel Roth, posted nine days prior to the anniversary of Delta’s decision to end the NRA discount, Delta CEO Ed Bastian opened up about the decision and the events that followed the controversial decision.
In the interview, Bastian referenced the fact that in the wake of the shooting, the NRA engaged in “divisive commentary.” Bastian said he did not want Delta to be seen as an advocate of the NRA and the NRA’s response to the shooting. He recalled discussing the matter with fellow colleagues, saying, “We just can’t be doing this. This just is not who we are.”
When asked by Roth about Delta’s decision, Bastian did not hesitate to explain why he and other individuals at Delta acted to end the discount. “We can’t be seen as being advocates in any way,” Bastian explained in the interview. While many saw Bastian’s decision as a stance on the gun control debate, Bastian reaffirmed that the decision was not political. “We weren’t anti-NRA,” he added.
While some pro-NRA flyers claimed they would boycott the airline, Bastian confirmed that the negative press and tax changes were only temporary. Georgia eventually reinstated the tax exemptions. [The Points Guy]
Bastian’s declaration that “we can’t be seen as being advocates in any way,” of course, was a lie.
On Wednesday, Bastian released a statement denouncing Georgia’s new elections bill. You might need a photo ID to board one of Delta’s flight, but needing one to vote absentee, he explained, is a crime against nature.
Last week, the Georgia legislature passed a sweeping voting reform act that could make it harder for many Georgians, particularly those in our Black and Brown communities, to exercise their right to vote. … I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values. … The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true. Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights.
So there is much work ahead, and many more opportunities to have an impact. I want the entire Delta family to know that we stand together in our commitment to protect and facilitate your precious right to vote. …In the weeks and months ahead, we will be working with leaders across the political spectrum in states nationwide in this effort. We’re also closely monitoring legislation in Congress – named after the late Atlanta civil rights hero and Delta friend John Lewis – that will expand voting rights nationwide and working with the Representatives and Senators that represent our communities. [Delta]
Two years ago, Bastian’s line was “we can’t be seen as advocates.” But what Bastian meant was “we can’t be seen as advocates for conservatives.” Being an advocate for the corrupt ruling class of the Globalist American Empire isn’t just acceptable, it’s obligatory.
The Congressional legislation Bastian refers to, the John Lewis Civil Rights Act, would dramatically expand federal power over elections by requiring the Department of Justice to pre-clear any voting law changes at the state level. For Delta, requiring a photo ID to vote by absentee ballot is unthinkable and “does not match Delta’s values,” but stripping states of the power to make their election laws and forcing them to submit to a hostile DOJ bureaucracy is the essence of good government.
If Democrats were displeased with Delta, they might actually do something. Bastian knew Georgia Republicans wouldn’t dare touch him. They were impotent in 2018, and impotent in 2021.
Some conservatives have responded to the Georgia House’s failed push to repeal the Delta tax as a victory. This is mistaken. There is no victory at all in threatening to take action, and then doing nothing after extracting zero concessions.
Republicans could respond by vowing to raise those company’s taxes, and in the future grant preferential treatment to parties that stay genuinely neutral or side with the American people instead of the Globalist American Empire. But they did not. Most said nothing. Senator Marco Rubio at least made an attempt, but instead of seriously threatening Delta, he simply wagged his finger at them for their relationship with China.
You are business partners with the Communist Party of #China
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 1, 2021
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 1, 2021
Rubio’s pleading will achieve nothing. Nagging corporations for their Chinese activities is useless. In China, the government will actually punish companies that try and boss them around. If Rubio wants Delta to listen, he should start rallying Republicans to do the same thing. But in America, woke capital already knows it holds all the cards.
In March 2018, Georgia’s Lt. Governor claimed that “corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.” Well, so far, conservatives haven’t fought. And until they start fighting, they’ll keep losing.
It doesn’t matter if these evil and corrupt companies are nominally “American” if their consistent policy is to side with the agenda of America’s corrupt ruling class rather than the American people. The time to bring woke capital to heel was yesterday.