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Big River's John Correnti up for Hypocrite of the Year

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Hypocrite of the week

In an interview with Arkansas Business, John Correnti, the chief executive of Big River Steel and other ventures, said that, despite the massive amount of welfare the state is providing Big River in Mississippi County, the government should stay out of the private sector.

"Is it better for the state to invest in a company like Big River? Or is it better to invest in more SNAP cards and more welfare? The governor and [Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director] Grant Tennille — they didn't give away the whole candy store. They used Amendment 82 the way that the citizens of Arkansas intended them to use it. But as far as government is concerned, they should stay out of private industry."

The brass of this blowhard. He's received tens of millions in direct handouts and tax giveaways. The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, funded by taxpayers to pay teachers' pensions, has invested $125 million in Big River. Those same venture capitalists — Arkansas taxpayers — have put $18 million in another Correnti project, an electronics recycling business.

Stay out?

If government stayed out of John Correnti's business, he'd have no business.

Tweet of the week

"I pray for a cure for Ebola, but it is ludicrous to introduce this disease on American soil, maybe even treasonous."

Sen. Jason Rapert, reaching a new nadir, in expressing outrage to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and President Obama, for the government's role in transporting a U.S. doctor, Kent Brantly, from Liberia to a unit in Emory University Hospital after he contracted Ebola. Brantly worked at a treatment center operated by two U.S. faith-based organizations. Question to Rapert: Would Jesus establish border limits on his ministry? "I was sick and you looked after me," the Bible says. It didn't come with an asterisk — Not Operative in Egypt.

Heartless

Every member of the Arkansas House delegation voted last week for Tea Party-driven anti-immigrant legislation that would effectively require the deportation of everyone in the U.S. illegally, including those brought as children. The measure is dead on arrival in the Senate.

How cynical is it to serve up red meat like this knowing that it's only symbolic and, if it were possible, would blast the U.S. economy even as it blew up the lives of millions of families?

Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights hero and a Democrat from Georgia, had it right in a fiery floor speech when he asked, "Where are our hearts? Where are our souls?"

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