Delta-NRA fight underscores fallacy of corporate giveaways

John Bazemore | AP file

The politicians of Georgia, ticked off that Delta has joined the list of companies that have cancelled discounts to members of the National Rifle Association, have unwittingly revealed what a giveaway unnecessary tax breaks to corporations are.

Otherwise, the handouts from the public trough to that state’s largest private employer might merit a more sobering discussion than the pandering to a base that the pols engaged in yesterday.

Ostensibly, tax breaks are to provide jobs, or keep employers around. But Georgia is gambling — and it’s a pretty good bet — that denying the public cash won’t change a thing nor endanger Atlanta as a home to Delta. That’s the exact opposite of the usual Republican economic philosophy.

The governor had said the $40 million break on sales tax and fuel purchases for Delta was needed to keep Atlanta competitive with other airline hubs.

Or what? It’ll move to Minneapolis and rename itself Northwest Airlines?

Delta isn’t going anywhere with or without the tax breaks.

“We helped Delta out with this tax cut back when they were struggling. That’s what partners do,” sad Sen. Rick Jeffare, who’s running for lieutenant governor. “This time, they attacked 100,000 Georgians while asking for $40 million of their tax dollars at the same time. That was wrong and I’m glad it was stopped short.”

Delta, meanwhile, is clumsily trying to out-red its critics in a bid to get the taxpayer cash.

But Delta has no real leverage here even if it has a stranglehold on the state and its politicians because ultimately what Republicans have done is revealed the foolishness of the tax breaks (for the firmly entrenched) in the first place.

In its hissyfit, the GOP has finally acknowledged it.

In the end, the social media uproar will blow over, travelers’ indignation will last right up to the moment they need to get somewhere, and Delta will get its tax break right after the election when there are no more easy points for politicians to score.

But for a moment, it was exciting to see politicians say “no” to the shakedown.