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Cronyism matters — Conservatives and libertarians need to pay more attention to it

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While I was writing Obamanomics in 2009, a staffer for a GOP senator asked me what the book's focus would be. I said, “corporate welfare.”

“That's not a very conservative book, now is it?” he responded.

This comment helped me focus my arguments a bit more in an effort to reach out to conservatives and libertarians who don't necessarily realize that corporatism and cronyism are serious threats to economic liberty — and that the inevitability of regulatory capture and the power of lobbyists are powerful arguments against government intervention in the economy.

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In his latest music video, dead economist F.A. Hayek makes exactly this point. After John Maynard Keynes says Wall Street needs more oversight, Hayek responds: “Oversight? The government's long been in bed with those Wall St. execs and the firms that they led.”

The video has plenty of shots of Ben Bernanke passing dollars around a smoke-filled room. This is good. I hope more free-market types use the fact of cronyism as an argument against big-government plans.

 



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