Cronyism Is Bringing Two Opposites Together – Chamber of Commerce Is Their Matchmaker

How do we break through the small ‘c’ corruption that everybody in Washington thinks is normal?

Fox News’ Chris Wallace told Republican strategist Karl Rove that he’s hearing there are a lot of pro-business groups that are talking about primarying conservative Republican members of the House of Representatives.

On Fox News Sunday, Wallace said:

Karl, I want to end on this exit question, which is that I’m told, that, you know, for all the talk of what the Freedom Caucus is demanding, Ryan knows numbers, and secondly, there’s a lot of pressure being put on by the establishment and business groups, saying that some of those Freedom Caucus members, if you’re not going to play ball and you’re not going to get involved, you’re going to get a primary opponent.

Rove, who represents the interests of cronies across the country, completely dodged the question.  He didn’t address it at all.

But he didn’t need to in order to recognize one thing: being pro-business is not the same as being pro-free market.

One of the biggest burrs in the current batch of cronies saddles is the Export-Import Bank being shut down. The Hill is reporting that Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, and Rep. Stephen Fincher, a Republican from Tennessee, are “collaborating on a discharge petition that — if signed by 218 members of the House — would force an Ex-Im vote on the House floor.”

Supporters of a free-market say the Export-Import Bank is nothing but corporate welfare.  The Heritage Foundation writes, “the bank is a conduit for corporate welfare beset by unreliable risk management, inefficiency, and cronyism.”

Rep. Jeb Hensarling is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.  He’s refused to move on a bill that would revive the Ex-Im Bank.  When the charter was headed towards expiration, he said, “This is a small step toward renewing a competitive free-market economy.”

The Chamber can’t allow that, which is why they are spending over a million dollars on ad buys to promote renewing the bank’s charter.

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal wrote:

The campaign will highlight small businesses that rely on financing from Ex-Im and warn of job losses should the bank cease new lending, said Bruce Josten, the chamber’s head of government affairs. “They can’t walk down the street and get a loan to sell their products in Kazakhstan,” he said. “The big guys might be able to do that, but not these firms.”

Right.  The Ex-Im Bank is all about the little guys.

Or not:

In some cases, Ex–Im financing actually puts U.S. workers at a disadvantage by providing overseas companies with billions of dollars in financing at favorable rates. Delta Airlines and the Airline Pilots Association, for example, filed a legal challenge last year against the bank for providing financing to five foreign airlines[6] for the purchase of Boeing aircraft. According to the lawsuit:

The bank’s aggressive approach to aircraft financing allows foreign airlines to borrow at much cheaper rates than they could in the private market. Cheaper financing, in turn, leads to competitive advantages for foreign airlines…shifts industry growth abroad, and puts downward pressure on American production and employment.[7]

Whether well-intentioned or otherwise, government interference distorts the competitive landscape, with winners and losers determined by political considerations rather than the merit of their products and services.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is worried about the little guy?

See the difference?  If Hensarling were pro-business, there’d be no debate. Loot the treasury. Give corporations what they want. Tell the people it’s for jobs or something.

Instead, since he’s pro-free market, he opposes one of the leading sources of cronyism and becomes a target for big business.

This is an important distinction.

It’s the reason why someone like Ralph Nader can get on stage with someone like Grover Norquist.

For liberal readers out there, you might be surprised to learn that the event at Lindenwood University hammering home the need for bipartisan opposition to cronyism was sponsored by The Charles Koch Foundation.

In dealing with cronyism in Washington, DC or even on the state level, it can’t be a matter of moderates coming together.

“There are real opportunities, and the left-right coalition can’t be a centrist effort,” said Grover Norquist.” It has to be very conservative and very liberal, it’s the only way you break through the small ‘c’ corruption that everybody in Washington thinks is normal.”

It’s about getting people who wouldn’t normally work together to realize on this issue, and probably others, they are on the same page.

Photo Credit: Brijith Vijayan/123rf

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