Ken Blackwell: Republican Party No Longer the Party of Business?

Ken Blackwell
Ken Blackwell

Billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently complained to a Wall Street gathering that “the Republican Party is no longer the party of business.” He predicted that union members, not corporate executives, would be voting GOP this fall.

This is a problem?

Many union members vote Republican. They were the core of the “Reagan Democrats.” Working people need a growing economy with increasing opportunity. Of course they should vote GOP.

Bloomberg’s remarks help explain the rise of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Average people increasingly believe the current system to be rigged against them. Washington is far more responsive to well-heeled elites than the middle class and working people.

Of course, politics always has meant attempting to take advantage of one’s fellow citizens. It was that way in ancient times. It was that way in colonial Great Britain. And it is that way in America today.

Business, especially big business, always had an advantage in influencing government. It certainly has been that way in Washington. Even so celebrated a founder as Alexander Hamilton pushed policies which benefited the financial interests of his day.

Over the years many people, including leading Republican politicians, confused being pro-business with supporting free enterprise. That led to all sorts of corporate welfare, including financial subsidies, trade protectionism, and regulatory preferences. Some influential firms gained, but everyone else—competitors, consumers, workers, and taxpayers—lost.

These excesses were reflected in the massive bank and Wall Street bail-outs of 2008. The free enterprise system requires that firms be responsible both for profits and losses. But Washington decided that a few lucky businesses could keep their winnings while tossing their losses into the laps of taxpayers. Washington ensured that being a failed businessman meant never having to say you were sorry to those who suffered as a result.

Unfortunately, nothing has changed. Last year Republicans joined with Democrats to revive the Export-Import Bank, long called “Boeing’s Bank” because of its lavish subsidies for the aircraft maker. Taxpayers make cheap loans to corporate behemoths, channeling money away from other enterprises with fewer lobbyists.

Republicans who talked about free enterprise joined with Democrats who spoke of the poor to provide aid to dependent corporations. Professionals, the middle class, taxpayers, and union members all were equally left out.

No wonder the American people are so frustrated. The system delivers, but not for the people paying most of the bills.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Townhall
Ken Blackwell