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A recent Wall Street Journal lead story reported that “Republicans and big business broke up.” The amount of corporate donations to Republicans was cut sharply in the last election cycle to a lower amount than in nearly a decade. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has backed many Democrats running for Congress in close and competitive races, which puts the GOP slim majority in jeopardy.
The writing is on the wall: Corporate America is increasingly aligning itself with liberal Democrats, not Republicans.
Some of this shift in corporate allegiances is due to some bad decisions by Republicans. The GOP has shortsightedly pursued a “break up Big Tech” campaign, and the party’s slide toward tariffs and away from free trade, one of the pillars of prosperity, is worrisome to any free marketeer. We should have free trade with countries, unless they are like China, threats to American security.
The real question is whether the GOP should want or even need support from the corporate boardrooms, which are increasingly going “woke.” Maybe it is time for a divorce.
Big business is increasingly siding with big government. Democrats are passing out Biden Bucks, and corporate America lusts for free federal money. Like field mice, they gobble up the morsels the Democrats spill out of their pockets.
Corporate welfare spending in Washington is at an all-time high, with hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars pipelined into the coffers of the Climate Change Industrial Complex, semiconductor companies and other Beltway Bandit industries.
Principled free market Republicans should take a strong stand against runaway government spending and debt, against 19th-century antitrust laws enforced by super-regulators such as Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan, against corporate welfare programs that cultivate big business dependency on the government, and against the self-serving Wall Street doctrine of “too big to fail.”
What is the alternative for the GOP? It’s obvious. Republicans must be the party of the 80 million small-business men and women who employ more than 60% of our workers. Alfredo Ortiz, the head of the indispensable Job Creators Network, notes that “most small businesses don’t have PACs and lobbyists and fancy K Street Washington offices. They just want to be left alone.”
He’s right. My father ran a successful small business for 40 years outside of Chicago. He worked long hours and was gone often when I was growing up. I don’t think he ever visited Washington, D.C. He had disdain for politics and most politicians. That’s a fairly universal attitude of employers. And who can blame them given the torrent of nosy regulations by Washington lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians who know nothing about running a business or making a profit?
If big business wants to bolt and make peace with the party that hates enterprise, entrepreneurship and profit, that’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs in corporate America, not the GOP.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation