Republican senator Mike Lee has an op-ed decrying cronyism. But first, he says, the Republicans must purge the unseemly activity from within its "own ranks."
"[T]o fix what’s broken in Washington and our economy," Lee writes in National Review Online, "a still-distrusted GOP first must end cronyism in our own ranks. The GOP has to close its branch of the Beltway Favor Bank and truly embrace a free-enterprise economy of, by, and for the people."
Impossible? That’s what they said about earmarks.
Too radical a change? These are principles we already espouse.
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.
For three years now, Republican leaders have challenged anti-establishment conservatives to come up with a viable plan to make principled conservatism inclusive and popular — to grow our party into a national majority.
Lee says that "One test will be this summer’s expiring congressional authorization of the federal Export Import Bank. The Ex-Im Bank exists to dole out taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to help American exporters. Most of the benefits go to large corporations that are perfectly capable of securing private financing anywhere in the world."
In short, Congress allows the Ex-Im Bank to unnecessarily risk taxpayer money to subsidize well-connected private companies. President Obama himself called the program “little more than a fund for corporate welfare” back in 2008, when total taxpayer exposure to Ex-Im Bank guarantees was less than half its size today.
Whether the beneficiaries of particular Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees are respected, successful companies like Boeing or crony basket cases like Solyndra is irrelevant. Twisting policy to benefit any business at the expense of others is unfair and anti-growth.
Whether congressional Republicans say so — and do something about it — during the coming Ex-Im Bank debate will tell us a lot about what, and who, the party really stands for in 2014 and beyond.
Whole thing here.