In last week’s article titled “Problems of the Republican Party”, I discussed some key policy mistakes the modern day Republican Party has made over the last quarter of a century. The problems are deep and quite fundamental, as I mentioned before, but with some significant reform and a bit of policial realignment it is possible for the Republican Party to regain the prestige it once had. For the voices within the party that stand for reason and liberty, this battle will be very slow and may never be won, but finding and implementing solutions to fix the myriad of problems the party faces is a worthy cause.
The current Grand Old Party is in despair and acknowledging some need for change. Since the end of the Reagan Administration it has slowly become the “Grumpy Old-White-Man’s Party” with little appeal to individuals outside of its traditional coalition, and even within that coalition there is little enthusiasm. So, most acknowledge there are problems; But what are they? How can they be fixed? These are the questions party insiders and loyalists are already attempting to answer.
What are the Problems?
While the mistakes made by George Bush’s Republican Party are so numerous one could probably never compile a completely conclusive book on the matter, most can be traced to fundamental root causes that desperately need to be identified and purged- below are a few of the broad policy mistakes committed by the Party.
I am generally against most all government activities in the marketplace, especially those that involve social micromanagement; however, there is one idea that started on the left and has been making its way through the libertarian sphere that has some good potential. I am talking about a revenue neutral carbon tax, one which reduces or completely replaces other taxes such as payroll, income, capital gains/dividends, etc.
It turns out that Congressman David Price (B.J. Lawson’s opponent in this year’s election) has some very good friends in the financial sector, which has given his campaigns a whopping $637,000 over his career, more than 2/3 of which has come from financial PACs. Just this year, the financial sector has contributed about $57,000 to his campaign, with 65% coming from PACs.
Glen Beck is right- as usual- and it scares me.
Radical environmental activists made news last week for complaining that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) opposes taxes and regulations those activists view as necessary to combat global warming. ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson appeared on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” on Thursday to address those accusations, opposite Common Cause CEO Miles Rapoport and Washington Post reporter Tom Hamburger.
The program was replete with absurd, perfidious accusations that ALEC supported “corporate” interests. Ironic, considering it is progressive organizations like Common Cause – not ALEC – that support a powerful government capable of doling out favors to entrenched interests.
Hamburger even pointed out at the beginning of the program that “dysfunction” in Washington has been responsible for preventing elected officials from doling out favors to their friends in the business world. “Corporate lobbying has increasingly moved to the states, in part because of the dysfunction, which is – in Washington,” Hamburger said.
“Dysfunctional,” as NPR has explained in the past, is a term applied to Republicans when they oppose measures increasing the size of government.
If Congress kills the Export-Import Bank it would be a massive win for those who love free markets. Both Jason Pye and Alice Salles have pointed out how the bank is a massive cronyism scheme, which doesn’t really help anyone except a select few. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan made an excellent comment on the bank saying, “Republicans should be pro-market, not necessary pro-business.” This is something more people need to realize. Liking the free market doesn’t mean liking massive corporations, unless their products or services are great.
That isn’t stopping President Barack Obama from demanding Ex-Im be reauthorized. He said last week Americans would lose jobs if the bank wasn’t kept alive. Obama even made a comparison to owning a Ford dealership which doesn’t offer financing, while a Toyota dealership across the street does.
Conservatives in Congress are giving the Export-Import Bank a literal run for its money leading up to its reauthorization vote later this summer. The crony capitalist — ‘crapitalist’ — institution has come under fire from incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who suggested “the private sector can do it” when asked if he supported reauthorization on Fox News Sunday, and House Speaker John Boehner recently backed off support for Ex-Im as more House conservatives line up against it.
Michael Grunwald, TIME Magazine’s senior national correspondent, said House conservatives were right and joined the growing chorus of those who oppose reauthorization last week, writing:
The Ex-Im is, as Senator Barack Obama said during his presidential campaign, “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.” It provides cheap credit to foreign borrowers, often cash-flush behemoths like Brazil’s state-owned oil company or the emirate of Dubai, so they can buy products from U.S. exporters, often cash-flush behemoths like Boeing, Bechtel, Caterpillar or General Electric. It’s dearly beloved by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, but it’s often earned its reputation for crony capitalism. William Jefferson, the congressman memorably caught with cash in his freezer, got his dirty money in exchange for introducing corporate executives to Ex-Im officials, and the Justice Department is now investigating potential corruption inside the bank.
The Kronies are at it again, “teaching” members of Congress about all of the great things that the Export-Import Bank does.
The superheroes — representing crony lobbyists — explain that the Export-Import Bank has been around since the time of FDR and subsidizes massive companies such as Enron, Boeing and Solyndra. And, of course, subsidizing big corporations with taxpayer dollars means big payouts for legislators’ re-election campaigns.
The Kronies, a project of Generation Opportunity, highlights how crony special interests and big government collude to rob hardworking taxpayers of their money and drown out competition with regulations, subsidies, and bailouts.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul took on “Chamber of Commerce” Republicans at an address to the Republican Liberty Caucus at the Texas Republican Convention on Saturday. Sen. Paul’s comments come during a contentious primary cycle where well-funded “pro-business” Republicans are challenging more conservative “pro-market” Republicans.
Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash’s primary is a prime example of this battle. Business interests in the 3rd District are one-by-one throwing support behind Amash’s primary opponent, Brian Ellis.
Ellis represents everything wrong about “pro-business” Republicans, from his desire to “bring home the bacon” in the form of earmarks to well-connected business interests to his record of supporting crony capitalist policies.
Another manifestation of this battle within the GOP is reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which is basically a taxpayer-funded slush fund for corporations under the auspices of helping send American-made good overseas. The Ex-Im Bank is already gearing up for a tough fight on Capitol Hill as conservative leaders like House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Senator Mike Lee take aim at reauthorization.
From the POLITICO report about Senator Paul’s remarks in Texas: