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Thom Tillis Versus Kay Hagan on Crony Capitalism

Thom-Tillis-REUTERS

Even if Republicans take control of the Senate in 2014, it’s difficult to imagine much of substance that they’ll be able to accomplish with Obama still holding the veto pen. That said, stopping bad ideas can be as important or more important than implementing good ones. And one thing Republicans can do is kill one of the worst symbols of crony capitalism in the Federal government, the Export-Import Bank (which requires reauthorization every two years). You can tell that the bank is essentially an excuse for corporate welfare and crony capitalism because of the way the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is shilling for it.

Democrats, who have long ago discovered the joys of crony capitalism for fun and profit, are largely for it and Kay Hagan (D-NC) is no exception. Thom Tillis, who is seeking to unseat Hagan, is not a perfect candidate. But on this issue, he has shown good instincts and that he at least understands what is at stake:

Republicans who are pushing back say the agency is an example of corporate welfare and “crony capitalism,” a view held by conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation, putting these groups at odds with business lobbies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“The Export-Import Bank is set up to play political favorites and give huge taxpayer handouts to big, billion-dollar corporations, a glaring example of what’s wrong with Washington,” said Daniel Keylin, a spokesman for Mr. Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. He said Mr. Tillis would not support the bank unless major changes were made on behalf of small business.

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But the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, which both see the bank as a crucial asset for American businesses like Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar, have mounted a lobbying campaign this month to persuade lawmakers to rescue the bank.

It probably goes without saying that most people have a hard time swallowing that companies the size of Boeing, GE and Caterpillar need humongous subsidies from the federal government to stay afloat, or that any non-rent-seeking justification for the entire program here exists. Why does a candidate like Kay Hagan, who purports to fight against income inequality, support huge government handouts for these humongous corporations?

Thom Tillis, for whatever his flaws, does not – which is one of the many reasons he deserves our support over Hagan in November.

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