Tim Carney- GOPers Need To Embrace Conservative Populism

The other day, Tim Carney had a terrific op-ed in the Washington Examiner.  Carney is a solid conservative and should not be confused with the paid liar/mouthpiece for the current occupant of the Oval Office.  In his piece, he makes a compelling argument how conservatives can win if they get the message out that the collusion of big government and big business is what is holding back many middle income Americans.  Obviously, this is something Governor Palin has been talking about since she came onto the national scene, and it was something she practiced dating all the way back to her days on the Wasilla City Council.  Here are some highlights from Carney’s column:

The game is rigged against the regular guy in America today. And it’s rigged in favor of big business, the politically connected, and the wealthy.

If Republicans and conservatives want to reform themselves, they need to begin with this fact. Admit it. Understand it. Declare it. Decry it. And start fixing it.

He goes on:

New business formation continues to fall to record lows. In 1980, nearly half of all firms were less than five years old. The latest data from the Kaufmann Foundation puts that number at about one-third.

And the working man isn’t faring better. Unemployment, while improving, is still high. Maybe worse is the collapse of median household income — down more than 7 percent since 2008, and it is not noticeably climbing.

Meanwhile, federal spending hit a record 26.9 percent of GDP in 2010. While it dropped a bit to 24.8 percent in 2012, that is still higher than any year between World War II and 2009 and 18 percent higher than the average year from the previous five decades.

He continues with this:

So it’s no surprise that seven of the 10 richest counties in the United States are in the Washington, D.C., area. Revolving-door lobbyists and government contractors are living the high life in McLean, Georgetown, and Great Falls.

The game is rigged, and conservatives can point out that the chief game rigger is government. The tax code is convoluted, regulations are terrifying, big businesses that fail get bailed out while small entrepreneurs get crushed by bureaucracy.

Carney then says this:

Free-market populism is, for one thing, a moral stance, manifested through rhetoric and action.

Republicans have become more comfortable lately denouncing “crony capitalism” and even “corporate welfare.” After blaming politicians who use public power to enrich private interests, Republicans also ought to shame some of the “capitalists” and their lobbyists who demand handouts and protective regulations.

Republicans ought to abolish corporate welfare, including subsidies for exports and green-energy projects. Break up the big banks. Get rid of corporate tax credits.

Carney continues his case with:

Politically, these policies checkmate Democrats because corporatism is at the heart of President Obama’s economic agenda. Subsidies for Boeing, Chrysler and General Electric are the building blocks of Obama’s “New Economic Patriotism.” Obamacare was built in collusion with drugmakers and the hospital lobby.

If Republicans destroy the hoary myth of Washington versus Wall Street — and make it clear it’s really K Street, Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue versus Main Street — Democrats lose much of their rhetorical advantage.

He concludes with this idea:

So, here’s one: abolish the payroll tax — totally and permanently. It’s a tax on employment. It’s a tax on someone’s first dollar. And it’s specious to say that it funds Social Security and Medicare — both entitlements are funded on the margin by general revenues. So give up the charade and abolish a regressive federal tax.

This reflects the heart of conservative reform: Level the playing field by getting government out of the game.

Clearly, this is an op-ed that could have been written by Governor Palin.  In fact, she has been talking about and writing about these very principles for the past 5 years.  Hopefully more conservatives will embrace this message as we head to the mid-term elections next year.  It’s a sure winner.

Read Carney’s entire piece here.  It’s worth it.

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