Buzzfeed Misleads on Job Loss of U.S. Merchant Marine, Blames Tea Party

-By Warner Todd Huston

Now that Congress passed and the President signed the highway bill, Buzzfeed has jumped in to decry the loss of as many as 10,000 jobs in the U.S. overseas shipping sector. Naturally, since it’s Buzzfeed we’re talking about here, only the left side of the story is being told. Worse, Buzzfeed tries to pin this “job loss” on the Tea Party — as if millions of Tea Partiers nation wide are dead set on causing job loss to our Merchant Marines.

For Buzzfeed, former The Hill employee John Stanton seems to have simply rejiggered a Democrat Party press release to cry about the “jobs loss” he and the left think they see in the Highway bill. He spends no time at all worrying about any Republican response, quotes only Democrats, and also seems to be just regurgitating press releases from lobbyists for the Merchant Marine. Of course, there really isn’t any explanation of what really happened.

One of the claimed “unexpected” results of the highway bill, Stanton tells us, was the reduction in federal funding of the shipping by sea of foreign food aid. Until this bill, 75% of this food aid was shipped aboard American ships. The new bill cuts that to 50% for a savings of some $108 million a year in taxpayer’s funds.

This, Buzzfeed says, is a result of those darn Tea Partiers being so staunchly against earmarks.

“Without earmarks to sweeten the deal for members, and with intense pressure to tighten the federal belt,” Stanton sadly notes, “leaders were forced into making difficult choices that in years past would have been unthinkable.”

Gosh, if only the Tea Partiers would agree to more wasteful pork barrel spending and we’d save the country!

Thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Stanton.

Unfortunately, that savings to the taxpayers, the reduction of federal pork spending on shipping, may put some of the jobs of our Merchant Marine force at risk, so says Buzzfeed. It is that part of the bill that Buzzfeed sought to hang on “the Tea Party,” attempting to further the idea that because the Tea Party desires to cut federal spending they want “job loss.”

We can see Buzzfeed’s attepmt right in the website’s subhead: “A difficult tradeoff buried in the highway bill. ‘This is an effect of the unwillingness of the Tea Party Congress to actually fund highways,’ says Rep. Larsen.”

But, let’s think about this a bit. What is being cut is foreign food aid — paid for by taxpayers — and that cut is giving less work to shippers — who are paid by the taxpayers for that shipping. In other words, we are not “cutting jobs.” We are cutting unnecessary government spending that went improperly to the private sector in the first place. That is what we call pork spending, after all.

The fact is that when government programs start being cut we are going to see many businesses that usually make money off the backs of the American taxpayers losing some of their free cash. But what are these businesses really losing but the government money they have been scamming off the taxpayers for decades, money they should never have come to rely on in the first place! They’ll be losing money that isn’t part of the economy, but money that adds to our massive debt. It is the sort of spending we should be cutting.

This is the whole argument that the Tea Party has been having with the federal government these last few years. All these earmarks, all this government waste and the illicit pork barrel spending that Congress brings home to their favorite campaign donors is exactly what the Tea Party wants to cut. The fact is, Tea Partiers are looking out for the taxpayers. But in the short term, without a doubt, that will hurt some business that are soaking the taxpayer with wasteful spending.

So, while Buzzfeed and John Stanton are trying to turn this into an anti-Tea Party crusade, the fact is this cut is a good thing. We just need a lot more of it at every level of government and if that means government largess doesn’t go to the crony capitalists enriching themselves off our backs, then so be it.

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