The auto industry, agriculture, the energy sector, and more all benefit from government subsidies: loans, tax breaks, regulation, and other preferences. Critics say that not only do these subsidies transfer wealth from taxpayers to corporations, they distort the markets and our economy. Proponents say government plays an important role in launching innovation, arguing that the Internet and space program might not have succeeded without government investment. Do we need subsidies, or is this corporate welfare? On Wednesday, April 6, the “always intelligent and provocative” (Wall Street Journal) Intelligence Squared U.S. continues their tenth anniversary year with a live debate on the motion “Eliminate Corporate Subsidies.”
Debating for the motion are a former super lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, who emerged from a 43-month prison stint to dissect the ways that Washington is broken and how it might be reformed, and Zephyr Teachout, political activist at Fordham who ran for New York Governor in 2014 and is currently running for Congress. Debating against the motion are Kate Gordon, who is one of the Wall Street Journal’s “Energy Experts”, and Michael Lind, co-founder of the New America Foundation.
The debate will be held at New York’s Kaufman Center and stream live online, then air soon after as part of the syndicated public radio show and podcast “Intelligence Squared U.S.” On April 6, online viewers can tune in here (http://bit.ly/IQ2Subsidies) or via IQ2’s app (http://shorefi.re/VTwKwx)
WHAT: Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates “Eliminate Corporate Subsidies” WHEN: Wed, April 6, 2015 / Reception 5:45-6:30 / Debate 6:45-8:15 PM WHERE: Kaufman Center/129 W. 67th Street (bet. Broadway and Amsterdam)/New York, NY 10023
TICKETS: $40 ($12 for students w/ ID). To purchase, visit http://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/
Arguing for the motion:
* Jack Abramoff: Former Lobbyist & Author, Capitol Punishment
Jack Abramoff is arguably one of the world’s most famous lobbyists and former Washington power players. Dubbed on the cover of Time as the “Man Who Bought Washington”, Abramoff rose to become the nation’s most successful and prominent lobbyist, before becoming enmeshed in the most harrowing political scandal since Watergate, for which he served 43 months in federal prison. Abramoff commenced his political career in college, when he was elected national chairman of the College Republicans. He next headed President Reagan’s grassroots lobbying organization, honing the skills he would later deploy to become the nation’s top legislative advocate. Beginning in 1994, Abramoff built one of the most prestigious and profitable lobbying practices, before his name became synonymous with corruption and what’s wrong with our government. The fall from grace woke him up. Now, he’s determined to rectify his wrongs and reform our corrupt political system.
* Zephyr Teachout: Assoc. Prof., Fordham Law & Author, Corruption in America
Zephyr Teachout, an associate law professor at Fordham Law School, is a scholar focusing on laws governing political behavior, both domestically and abroad. Known for her insightful work on corruption and its constitutional history, she is the author of Corruption in America (2014). In addition to running for governor of New York in 2014, she was the director of online organizing for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign and the first national director of the Sunlight Foundation.
Arguing against the motion:
* Kate Gordon: Vice Chair of Climate & Sustainable Urbanization, Paulson Institute
Kate Gordon is a nationally recognized expert on the intersection of clean energy and economic development. Currently she serves as Vice Chair of Climate and Sustainable Urbanization at the Paulson Institute, where she provides strategic direction on climate and energy programs in the U.S. and China. Her past affiliations include co-director of the Apollo Alliance, vice president at the Center for American Progress, and vice president at Next Generation, where she founded and led the “Risky Business Project” alongside Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer. Gordon writes a regular subscription-based blog, Kate’s Cliffnotes, providing insights on policy and politics in California, her home state. She is also a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal as one of the paper’s “Energy Experts.”
* Michael Lind: Co-Founder, New America Foundation
Michael Lind is a co-founder of the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., where he is the policy director of its Economic Growth Program and Next Social Contract Initiative. A columnist for Salon, he has been a staff writer or editor at The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, and The New Republic and contributes frequently to The New York Times and Financial Times. He is the author of a number of books of history, political journalism, fiction, and poetry, including Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States (2012).