Nike made a bad choice, but these three governors are even worse – Washington Examiner
It seems Nike isn’t the only one willing to go to all-time-lows to satisfy partisan pandering.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday that he would withdraw all incentives for the athletics company after it decided to nix a USA-themed sneaker at the request of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick. Ducey said he was “embarrassed” that Nike suddenly withdrew the sneaker, which featured a Betsy Ross flag on the heel. Kaepernick reportedly approached Nike executives after an image of the shoe was released and said the original American flag was offensive since it was created in an era connected to slavery.
“Nike is an iconic American brand and American company,” Ducey said in a statement. “This country, our system of government and free enterprise have allowed them to prosper and flourish. Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism. It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.”
“Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours,” Ducey continued. “I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here. Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike. We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history.”
And so begins the race to the bottom. Shortly after Ducey’s statement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued his own, inviting Nike to his state. “Thank you for doing the right thing,” Newsom said in reference to Nike’s decision to withdraw the shoe. “CA is open for business and welcomes those that represent the best of our American values.” New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham followed suit. In all three cases, this is state government at its worst.
I wrote earlier that Nike’s decision was ridiculous, hypocritical, and a disservice to our American heritage. But Ducey’s attempt to use corporate welfare against a company he disagrees with is just as great a disservice to the political and economic freedom our country guarantees. And Newsom and Grisham’s corporate welfare bribery is crony capitalism at its finest.
Arizona should never have offered Nike a handout in the first place. Such favoritism doesn’t contribute to economic growth or grow tax revenues, as its proponents argue. Instead, it makes states less competitive over time, impeding prosperity and fostering an unfair economy that hurts small businesses and taxpayers. But to remove these incentives only after a company makes a politically motivated decision — even if it’s a bad one — is to use government incentives to control private industry.
The political weaponization of government against private citizens never works out for anyone.
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