Mike Lee: Want to Fight Cronyism? #EndExIm
Today, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) 100% spoke at the Heritage Foundation about America’s crises of economic immobility and insecurity, and he offered some specific prescriptions on how to change this, not the least among them ending the Export-Import Bank.
At the heart of the change, he suggested, needs to be ending cronyism and corporatism, by which “elite special interests” get bailed out and subsidized while the rest of America has to play by the rules.
This is America’s crisis of crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and political privilege: in which government twists public policy to unfairly benefit favored special interests at the expense of everyone else.
The biggest culprit in the crisis of perpetuating what he dubs the ‘opportunity crisis’ is big government. The solution lies in free enterprise.
“The greatest obstacles to the pursuit of happiness are actually misguided government policies,” he opined. To combat these obstacles, conservatives must cut big government, but they must also “restore and expand access to America’s exceptional free-enterprise economy and voluntary civil society.”
And to do that, we have to tackle cronyism and special interest favoritism at its roots and eradicate it from the governing process. All of this is encompassed by what Lee calls a new “Conservative Reform Agenda.”
Government policies that fuel cronyism don’t do anything to level the playing field, and it’s all too often the wealthy and well-connected that benefit. Of cronyist policies, Sen. Lee said they “come in many shapes and sizes” but they always make it “easier for favored special interests to succeed, and harder for their competitors to get a fair shot.”
This is perfectly exemplified by the practices of the Export-Import Bank. The loan guarantees issued by the Bank are a quintessential example of cronyism. Three-quarters of them go to just three corporations “that are perfectly capable of securing private financing anywhere in the world.”
In order to truly level the playing field for “all American exporters, not just the well-connected few,” the Ex-Im Bank should not be reauthorized this year.
“The fight against reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank is probably the most important and winnable anti-cronyist effort conservatives can take up this year,” Lee said.
Of course, the history of cronyism is intimately connected to the progressive ideology.
This kind of corporatism, by which large, established players in government, industry, labor, and special interests work together to “manage” the economy has always been part of progressive ideology… Properly considered, there is no such thing as a conservative special interest. It’s progressives who slice the country into politically assigned subgroups, manipulating cooperative citizens into selfish special interests. It’s big government that divides us — picking “friends” and “enemies.”
Sen. Lee, his fellow conservatives in the Senate, and those across the country are uniting around the cause of ending this type of cronyism. The Ex-Im Bank is the perfect place to start.