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.
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:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has been pushing conservatives to take a new angle in the pursuit of limited government by targeting Washington’s cronyist culture, and it’s a message that the Tea Party movement could carry, as Jennifer Rubin explains:
Alternatively, the tea party might transform itself into a single-issue group. Whatever you think of one-issue politics, the right has a number of successful groups. On the right, the National Right to Life Committee and the National Rifle Association have been influential for years. Likewise, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform has reinforced the right’s no-tax-hike policy in election after election and in key budget standoffs. What issue could the tea party adopt?
The ideal movement, missing on the right, would be one devoted entirely to anti-cronyism. It is a popular position on the right and among all voters. The removal of special goodies in the tax code and budget that distort the market and reward entities that can manipulate big government is sorely needed. And although Republicans talk a good game, there has been comparatively little progress on issues such as too-big-to-fail bank subsidies, energy tax breaks and ag subsidies. Moreover, the original issue that lifted the tea party to prominence was the mortgage bailouts, a prime example of favoritism (not only for irresponsible borrowers but also for the lenders). Devising a pledge as stringent as the no-tax-hike pledge to stop new crony capitalism endeavors and to begin rooting out existing ones would be one way to approach the issue.