By David Cay Johnston
The opinions expressed are his own.


Taxpayers can expect ever more picking of their pockets by businesses with political clout thanks to the Nov. 21 decision by Judge Theodore Jones and four colleagues on the New York Court of Appeals.

At issue is $1.4 billion in state gifts whose primary beneficiary is a microchip maker, GlobalFoundries, a company controlled by Abu Dhabi’s hereditary ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, one of the wealthiest people ever. The gifts, labeled economic development grants and made through a state-sponsored corporation, work out to about a million dollar subsidy per job at the plant near Albany.

The New York Court of Appeals said the 50 taxpayers who sued over the deal and over gifts to apple and wine trade associations have no standing to challenge the gift because it is proper.

While this case concerns only New York, it illustrates how corporate socialism has become our de facto economic policy and how the ideal of competitive markets and self-reliance are fading in significance.

State and local gifts to corporations now run at least $70 billion per year nationwide, according to an estimate by Professor Kenneth Thomas of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.