COMMENTARY | The Washington Examiner notes that Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah has hit upon a strategy that allows Republicans to cut the federal budget while painting the Democrats as tools of big business and themselves as champions of the free market.
One of the dirty not so little secrets is that the federal budget is tucked full of subsidies and hand-outs to businesses, rang from insurer subsidies under Obamacare, to the Import-Export Bank, to subsidies to both green energy and the oil and gas industry. The theory is being pursued by Lee and others that one can cut out these subsidies and restore a free market balance to the economy. Politically it forces Democrats to support big business and aligns Republicans with tax payers.
The fly in the ointment is that the Republican Party has always been divided between the more establishment types who are fine with subsidies and giveaways to business and those who are of a more free market mindset. However Lee may have hit on a winning strategy, if Republicans can be persuaded to rally around it.
An agenda that attacks crony capitalism and corporate welfare would be a great one for a presidential candidate or two to adopt. Lee shows no sign of running for president, but at least few of his like-minded senators, such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida seem to be. A free market oriented, anti-big business subsidy could be a winner in both the Republican primaries and in the 2016 general election.
It is another dirty little secret that big business has supported President Obama and would likely support Hillary Clinton’s efforts to follow him into the Oval Office. Democrats like talking about raising taxes on the rich, but they will also satisfy their campaign donors with subsidies and special tax breaks. Republicans might do well by advocating the elimination of those giveaways in exchange for across the board tax cuts of the sort that Reagan advocated that worked so well bringing the early 1980s recession to an end.