Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Either in response to public pressure or due to an awakening of conscience, or smatterings of both, Delta Air Lines has announced that it is severing ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA). [1] Delta previously had a contract with the NRA for discounted rates through the airline’s group travel program.

Now the Georgia Senate has decided that it won’t take this lying down. “The Georgia Senate’s leaders vowed to block a lucrative tax break bill…that would benefit Delta Air Lines” in retaliation for Delta’s action. [2] The measure is “effectively grounded for now after Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he wouldn’t support the $50 million tax exemption for jet fuel unless the Atlanta-based airline reverses its decision to end discounted rates for NRA members.” “’I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA,’ Cagle tweeted. ‘Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.’” [3] Delta would have been the primary beneficiary of the tax exemption.

Apparently the state of the nomenclature is such that “conservatives” support the NRA. But it is easy to see how this could create a conflict of interest for legislators, who presumably should be representing their constituents.

Delta is the largest private employer in Georgia. It has, according to the company, 33,000 employees statewide. [4] One would think that a state senator, or lieutenant governor, would be doing everything in his or her power to enhance that situation, to help the company bring even more employment to the state. Such, certainly, was the planned tax exemption.

But it seems that there are some things that are more important than the actual people a legislator represents. The glaring example provided here is that an ideological organization that has achieved a certain dominance over a political party is able to achieve such a status. Simply put, the NRA is more important to the Georgia Senate than the people of Georgia, and this is exemplified by the fact that these politicians are willing to attack the state’s largest employer on the NRA’s behalf.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we can’t have nice things.