By Tory Newmyer
Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry on Thursday became the tenth official candidate to jump into the Republicans’ 2016 free-for-all. And it seems likelier than not that he’ll be joined in short order by as many as five more governors, among others, crowding into a field already too unwieldy to fit on a single debate stage. As Perry relaunched this week — attempting to shake off his disastrous 2012 bid and elbow back into contention — he salted a red-meat speech about projecting military strength abroad and limiting government at home with some populist lines. “The American people see a rigged game, where insiders get rich, and the middle class pays the tab,” he told a crowd gathered at an airport hangar in suburban Dallas. “There is something wrong when the Dow is near record highs, and businesses on Main Street can’t even get a loan… Capitalism is not corporatism. It is not a guarantee of reward without the risk.”
It’s more modish than usual these days for White House aspirants to tilt against the power structure they’re seeking to lead. And for governors, the opportunity to highlight their distance from the Washington morass by playing up their independence is especially hard to resist. But Perry and the rest — a group that includes John Kasich (Ohio), Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), Scott Walker (Wisconsin), Chris Christie (New Jersey) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — face a credibility challenge. Over three terms as Texas’ chief executive, for example, Perry presided over his own brand of corporate welfare, doling out more than $6.5 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies to keep or lure big employers. We crunched data from Good Jobs First, a left-leaning group that compiles information on state economic development efforts, and found that among the governors likely to make the race, Perry was outdone only by Jindal in spending public dollars toward job growth. As Good Jobs First executive direct Greg LeRoy notes, the data comes with an asterisk, since the states abide by varying standards of transparency.
But everybody on the list paid dearly for ribbon cuttings. None can claim to have hewed to a free-market approach. And for several, the practice has spawned controversy at home. Kasich has caught heat for privatizing the state’s jobs agency and then pushing through legislation to close its books to the state’s auditor. Up in Wisconsin last month, an audit of one of Walker’s two economic development arms found financial controls so lacking, he had to abandon plans to merge them. Christie’s administration has disproportionately directed funding deals to campaign donors. Jindal has doubled tax giveaways in development packages while the state suffers a debilitating budget crunch. And Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund dished hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to outfits that never formally applied for them, a state auditor found — part of an economic development strategy the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page called out as his “crony capitalism problem.” It adds up to a glass-house hitch that should humble governors thinking of leaning on a corporatist critique of their Washington rivals.
Top News[bs_bullet_primary] Amazon Is bringing $1 billion and 1,000 jobs to Ohio
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is looking increasingly likely to jump into the Republican presidential race. And while that contest is as crowded as it’s ever been, Kasich brings some distinguishing features to it. Among them: A solid job-creation record that’s brought the unemployment rate in the Buckeye State down to 5.1 percent. Kasich will be making an aggressive case that his economic stewardship deserves credit, and the Friday announcement by Amazon only bolsters the argument. The deal, secured with $81 million in tax credits, will include the construction of cloud facilities and fulfillment centers. [bs_link link=”http://fortune.com/2015/05/29/ohio-amazon-data-center/” source=”Fortune”]
[bs_bullet_primary] Key Patriot Act provisions expire on Sunday
Lawmakers have balked at extending the federal government’s surveillance regime over objections to bulk collection of Americans’ phone and Internet records. President Obama on Friday made an appeal from the Oval Office, warning national security will be imperiled by a lapse. But the path to a resolution remains murky. [bs_link link=”http://time.com/3902257/obama-patriot-act-senate-loretta-lynch/” source=”TIME”]
[bs_bullet_primary] Sepp Blatter wins a fifth FIFA term amid scandal
Soccer fans, despair. The man controlling the world’s most popular sport on Friday reaffirmed his grip on its governing body despite earth-rattling corruption charges — including bribery and money laundering — lodged against some of his top lieutenants earlier this week. The result renews questions for sponsors of the multi-billion dollar enterprise about whether they’ll cut ties. [bs_link link=”http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/sports/soccer/fifa-soccer-sepp-blatter-congress-vote.html” source=”New York Times”]
Around the Water Cooler[bs_bullet_primary] Bill Clinton requires $500,000 to appear at charity events
That, anyway, is the clear implication from this report about what it took for a small charity, dedicated to building schools for impoverished children, to entice the former president to show up and retrieve an award at its fundraising gala. The details of this extended anecdote are, as you might guess, off-putting. But it also reaffirms a larger challenge to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy: The Clinton Foundation seems to offer an inexhaustible well of unflattering material on the former first family’s recent history. At some point, she’ll need to answer for it. [bs_link link=”http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/us/politics/an-award-for-bill-clinton-came-with-500000-for-his-foundation.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0″ source=”New York Times”]
[bs_bullet_primary] Yikes: This robot cheetah just learned to leap over obstacles
If you’re a robot enthusiast, you’ll cheer this technological breakthrough. Everyone else should start looking into survivalist cabins in remote areas, because this is not going to end well. [bs_link link=”http://fortune.com/2015/05/29/mit-cheetah-robot-jump/” source=”Fortune”]