One of the underappreciated aspects of the current debate over corporate tax inversions is how it represents not just an opportunity for some progressive populism, but is just another aspect of the same view which motivates the left’s general disgust with Uber and other members of the sharing economy. It’s the same motivation behind this push by tariff-loving New Balance to prevent soldiers from buying running shoes on the open market, and instead use pro-America rhetoric to rent-seek. And it’s a similar mindset to this BuyPartisan app, designed to turn marketplace decisions into a constant barrage of political influences and guilt riddance. Oh, you bought the Brawny? Fascist. But you did it at Costco, so maybe that’s okay. Just don’t go to Burger King after.
In practice, the pro-America rhetoric on the left on this score goes well beyond the caricature of the flag-waving xenophobic NASCAR fan toward true economic backwardness, in the form of an anti-market populism which refuses to recognize that we live in a global economy. No, no, no, it insists, like Archie Bunker ranting in his chair – America is great! America can do anything! Everything is better when it comes from America! We don’t need to compete with other countries or their tax burdens or their regulations – America’s the best! Only evil greedy corporations would ever leave America or move their businesses elsewhere for decisions based on their bottom lines and their shareholders and their ability to actually do business. Forget market competition or whether the shoes fit: America rules, and you’re unpatriotic if you think we have to do things to compete in a global economy.