Dan Gilmore / April 14, 2016

Pentagon Bribed Shoe Company to Push Through Trade Deal

New Balance fell silent, but the contract never came.

Welcome to the most recent example of cronyism in America. In the past, shoe company New Balance used to vocally oppose the Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership. It worried that an influx of shoes from places like Vietnam would hurt its business. Recently, the company restarted its opposition to the deal because the Department of Defense failed to uphold its end of a secret deal where it would consider New Balance for the contract outfitting military recruits with its athletic shoes. New Balance fell expectantly silent, but the contract never came.

As Jim Geraghty of National Review writes, the Pentagon’s offer to New Balance was essentially a bribe for the company’s cooperation. “This is why big government is bad,” Geraghty opined. “Eventually it accumulates so much economic power that it inevitably starts throwing its weight around in a manner that punishes dissent. The Department of Defense is supposed to pick the best shoes available for the men and women in uniform; if it’s New Balance, great; if it’s another company, great. It’s not supposed to make major expenditures of taxpayer money dependent upon public acquiescence to the administration’s view.”

Indeed, the corporate clamoring over the recent bathroom bills show it’s bad for business to buck the leftist agenda.

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