Palladium Coins and the Free Market: A Rehberg Story

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Ed Kemmick is impressed with Representative Rehberg’s idea to benefit the Stillwater Mine and its Russian parent company by mandating the creation of a collectible palladium coin. He’s so impressed that he’d like the Gazette to get in on the deal:

If Rehberg sponsors a bill directing the government to buy millions of dollars worth of advertising in this newspaper, you may quote me as saying:

"The proposed legislation which would swell the pages of The Billings Gazette with Ultra-High-Resolution Impact Advertising is astoundingly exciting for the men and women of this newspaper who proudly produce informative packages 365 days a year under the shadow of the golden-hued Rimrocks in the Lower Yellowstone Valley…

This isn’t some new idea, sparked by GM’s decision to buy palladium from foreign sources. He’s using outrage over that decision to drum up support for a bill that he proposed over a year ago.

As I mentioned then, schemes like this are all part of Rehberg’s total inconsistency. How does someone who babbles on about the power of free markets and the dangers of government interference turn around and write a bill that mandates that the government benefit one company?

In the end, though, this is smart politics. Rehberg gets to keep his name in the paper, pretend to be concerned about the welfare of Montana workers, and rail against the corporate interests back East—the ones he’s been beholden to his entire career.

When it comes to substantively helping Montana workers, Rehberg’s efforts have, unfortunately, been quite a bit more limited.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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