Tea Party Senator Calls for an End to Political Favoritism and Crony Capitalism

A Tea Party Senator recently attacked crony capitalism and corporatism in the Obama Administration – and within the Republican Party.

In a recent National Review editorial, Utah Senator Mike Lee identified policies like cap-and-trade, Dodd-Frank, and Obamacare as examples of the President’s policies that have promoted “crony capitalism.” He applauds Republicans for condemning it specifically (for the first time) in the Republican Party platform.

The Right’s resistance to corporatism is a welcome development. 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.

Stop FavoritismSenator Lee goes on to say how these practices undermine the free-market system, and work against employees and entrepreneurs who don’t have these government connections: “After all, if ordinary citizens who ‘work hard and play by the rules’ only end up subsidizing, propping up, and bailing out privileged insiders who don’t, then the land of opportunity really isn’t.”

Lee also gives a vision of how the GOP could benefit politically by doing the right thing.

“Imagine a reformed Republican party seizing the moral high ground against political corruption and economic dysfunction. Imagine its leaders, advocating populist, free-market reforms to restore jobs, growth, and fairness to the economy. Faster than you can say ‘TARP,’ we could pin the Left between their egalitarian facade and their elitist agenda, and force them to choose between K Street and Main Street.

“That Republican party could not only unify and excite conservatives, but appeal to hardworking families in the purple and blue communities that President Obama’s special-interest favoritism is leaving behind.”

Senator Lee adds that while the the GOP has accurately criticized “crony capitalism” in the Obama Administration, the party must end the same practices within its own ranks to have credibility with the American people. How does he propose the Republican Party start this effort?

By not renewing authorization of the Federal Export Import Bank later this year. Also known as the “Ex-Im” Bank, it uses American tax dollars to subsidize loans to American exporters.

“Most of the benefits go to large corporations that are perfectly capable of securing private financing anywhere in the world,” wrote Lee. “In short, Congress allows the Ex-Im Bank to unnecessarily risk taxpayer money to subsidize well-connected private companies… Whether the beneficiaries of particular Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees are respected, successful companies like Boeing or crony basket cases like Solyndra is irrelevant.”

Senator Lee has issued a challenge to Establishment Republicans to practice what they preach when it comes to crony capitalism and corporatism. What are the odds that the GOP will follow Lee’s lead? Realistically, not very good. However, it’s a savvy political move by the Senator and a step in the right direction.