Ex-Im Bank and the GOP’s Cronyism Test

Republicans should take a stand against corporate welfare.

By Sen. Mike Lee

Mike_LeeFor five years now, the Republican party has attacked the economic policies of President Barack Obama as “crony capitalism.”

And with good reason.

From the stimulus to cash-for-clunkers, from the bailouts to cap-and-trade, from Dodd-Frank to Obamacare, every name-brand initiative of the Obama era has distorted public policy to privilege well-connected insiders and elites at the expense of taxpayers and consumers.

Republicans have slammed all this “corporate welfare” and “venture socialism” for unfairly “picking winners and losers in the marketplace.” In 2012, for the first time, “crony capitalism” was even singled out for condemnation 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.

And even as cronyism poisons the moral credibility of our institutions of democratic capitalism, it degrades the economic benefits those institutions yield.