Mike Lee to GOP: Serious About Reform? Here’s Your Chance to Prove It
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) 100% has some advice for Republicans if they are serious about regaining popularity. It boils down to being true to their word and upholding “principles we already espouse.” One such principle is their stance against crony capitalism, which was singled out for condemnation for the first time in 2012 in the Republican party platform.
“Republicans have slammed all this ‘corporate welfare’ and ‘venture socialism’ for ‘unfairly picking winners in the marketplace’,” he recalls.
When Republicans tell their constituents they’re working against “political corruption and economic dysfunction,” they should follow through by taking concrete actions. They’ll soon have an opportunity to do just that:
For three years now, Republican leaders have challenged anti-establishment conservatives to come up with a viable plan to make principled conservatism inclusive and popular — to grow our party into a national majority.
Well, here it is.
The question is whether Republicans’ Obama-era opposition to policy privilege has been sincere or situational.
One test will be this summer’s expiring congressional authorization of the federal Export Import Bank. The Ex-Im Bank exists to dole out taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to help American exporters. Most of the benefits go to large corporations that are perfectly capable of securing private financing anywhere in the world.
In short, Congress allows the Ex-Im Bank to unnecessarily risk taxpayer money to subsidize well-connected private companies. President Obama himself called the program “little more than a fund for corporate welfare” back in 2008, when total taxpayer exposure to Ex-Im Bank guarantees was less than half its size today.
Why does this even matter?
Special-interest favoritism represents a uniquely malignant threat to the economic, political, and social ecosystem that makes America exceptional.
Policy privilege corrupts the free market by rewarding political connections over competitive excellence. It subverts the rule of law by codifying inequality. It undermines social solidarity by pitting citizens against one another, twisting cooperative communities into rival special interests.
And even as cronyism poisons the moral credibility of our institutions of democratic capitalism, it degrades the economic benefits those institutions yield.
If Republicans begin to stand for sound principle not only rhetorically but in action, by ending the Export-Import Bank for example, they can make a rebound with the American people. They have their chance this year.