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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.

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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