by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Noting left-wing populist Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s unwillingness to extend her anti-corporation rants to the Export-Import Bank, Jonah Goldberg explains in his latest column that no one should be surprised.
I’m not so sure there’s a contradiction here. Rather, I think we’re seeing why there will never really be a bipartisan Left–Right alliance against crony capitalism and corporate welfare.
The Right’s “libertarian populism” wants to separate big business and big government. That means no more “too big to fail” and no more of government picking winners and losers.
The Left’s anti-big-business populism is very different. It doesn’t want to cut the government’s incestuous relationship with big business; it simply wants to bring business to heel. Big business should do what Washington tells it to do, and when it does, it will get treats. When it doesn’t, it will get the newspaper to the nose. But big business will never be let off its leash, if the Left has its way.
“Warren doesn’t have a problem with big banks or corporations,” the Federalist’s David Harsanyi writes. “She has a problem with banks and corporations that make profits in ways that she finds morally intolerable. She is an opponent of dynamism, not cronyism.”
This has always been the central idea behind progressive economics. Bureaucrats and other planners need — or at least want — ever more power to decide how economic resources are arranged and allocated. That doesn’t mean they’re socialists, it just means that corporations need to follow their lead. Indeed, good “corporate citizenship” means acquiescing to the priorities of progressive state planners and whatever their latest idea of “public–private partnerships” might be. The one constant in such partnerships is that business is always the junior partner.