The Buck Starts Here

Curt Schilling, the 21st century face of a welfare queen? He is the man who suckered Rhode Island into a $75 million loan for his company, 38 Studios. It looks like he is going to leave a bill for taxpayers to pay for his business failure. Another corporate welfare success story.

On May 1, 38 Studios failed to make a scheduled $1.1 million payment to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. That loan was part of the $75 million loan guarantee the state of Rhode Island put forward to lure 38 Studios from neighboring Massachusetts in an attempt to deliver hundreds of jobs and added tax revenue to the state.

In 2011, Schilling told Reuters he had invested $30-$35 million in 38 Studios. According to recent reports, his statement was about eleven percent true. His actual “investment” was about four million dollars — and he paid himself back with Rhode Island taxpayer’s dollars.

Curt Schilling has not been shy about his views on conservative politics and small government. Rare among athletes, he openly and enthusiastically campaigned for Republicans who hoped the Schilling could help them win the hearts and minds of Red Sox Nation even during his playing days. In fact, Mr. Schilling has not only stumped with aspiring candidates — he has put his policy hat on and bashed Obama’s stimulus money and health care plan.

It is an odd fact about this Tea Party Republican that he is addicted to government money. I missed the memo from the Tea Party on this piece of fiscal policy.

This speaks to a larger problem about what Republicans say about the economy and the role of government and what they do.

The fact is that bank loans are part of a system that relies on government guarantees: our bank deposits are Federally insured and banks, on a large scale, have access to the Fed window which today means they borrow money essentially for free. Thanks to all of us.

Mr. Schilling of course went much further, he borrowed money in a way that directly puts the taxpayers of Rhode Island on the hook for 38 Studios.

Too often Republicans bash government in public, while relying on government loans, guarantees and special tax breaks behind the scenes.

It would be refreshing for conservatives to spend less time bashing government and more time acknowledging the fact that business and government have a symbiotic relationship: each relies on the health of the other.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist and President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.



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