Justin Amash

The Chamber of Commerce vs. Libertarian-Leaning Republicans

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Paid for by an a-hole! |||

Oh, those libertarians! Always shilling for Big Business! Except, um, when libertarian-leaning Republicans are actually in power, in which case the Chamber of Commerce agitates to replace them with more traditional GOP types. Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz rounds up several examples in this helpful Daily Beast column:

Why, for instance, did big companies spend so much money to defeat a Republican Georgia legislator last month? Apparently Rep. Charles Gregory was just too libertarian for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the companies like Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, Georgia Power, and AT&T, who suddenly set up a the "Georgia Coalition for Job Growth" to oppose him and other tea party legislators. It's not the only example this primary season.

In Kentucky, business leaders lobbied hard though unsuccessfully to persuade Steve Stevens, head of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, to run against Rep. Thomas Massie. Massie, a businessman himself, is a strong fiscal conservative, but some local business leaders don't like what they see as his stand-off approach.

A Washington business consultant has moved to northern California to challenge anti-earmarks Rep. Tom McClintock, because he "thinks representatives should deliver for folks back home," in the words of a local reporter. […]

In Michigan business leaders are funding financial consultant Brian Ellis's primary challenge to Rep. Justin Amash. […]

In an interview with the Weekly Standard, Ellis strikingly dismissed Amash's principled, constitutional stand: "He's got his explanations for why he's voted, but I don't really care. I'm a businessman, I look at the bottom line. If something is unconstitutional, we have a court system that looks at that."

Plenty more at the link. Brian Doherty wrote yesterday about the challenges of making the Republican Party more libertarian. Boaz came on The Independents Tuesday night to talk about David Brat's upset victory over Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and also about the current state of play in drug-sentencing reform efforts: 

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    1. I’m off today, so I have time to boycott with you.

    2. Even the staff is having squirrel problems.

  1. Stop trying to distract us with these hi-jinks – WE WANT AM LINKS

  2. “He’s got his explanations for why he’s voted, but I don’t really care. I’m a businessman, I look at the bottom line. If something is unconstitutional, we have a court system that looks at that.”

    THAT’S NOT MY AREA.

    1. No its. IF I CAN GET AWAY WITH IT AND IT MAKES ME MONEY, I AM GOING TO DO IT.

    2. “He’s got his explanations for why he’s voted, but I don’t really care. I’m a businessman, I look at the bottom line. If something is unconstitutional, we have a court system that looks at that.”

      Translation:
      “I want my naked cronyism. This competition-with-other-entrepeneurs shit is for the birds!”

    3. Sounds like something Tony Montoya would say.

    4. So when he raises a hand and swears an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution – that has no meaning? What a bag of shit.

      1. Well, he assumes the courts will take care of cleaning up the upholding the Constitution part after he passes whatever.

    5. The sooner he goes off and f___s himself, the better.

  3. I wish libertarians would stop using the term “crony capitalism”. It is NOT capitalism at all. I call it cronyism – that is what it is.

    1. I call it “crapitalism”, which I think is much more pithy…

      1. I like … I like …

  4. Pretty much every classical economic liberal from Adam Smith on down has recognized the threat of business interests to the free market. A free market is not the ideal result of the individual business. The ideal result for any individual business is an unfree market tilted against their competitors and towards their benefit.

    1. In a true free market corporations would not get as big as Microsoft or Standard oil in its heyday. Those businesses only got that big because they bribed politicians to pass legislation tailored to their specific rent-seeking demands.

      1. I think Microsoft did it some other way, since they had the antitrust golks going after them for not donating enough to the politicians.

        1. Ted, not all bribes are on the books. It was government contracts that made the company. My dad was a civilian employee of the DOD – before the contract with Microsoft there were a wide variety of operating systems being used. After the Microsoft contracts it became Microsoft-heavy.

          Also, patent laws that were long in place gave Microsoft a monopoly on an idea.

      2. Actually Standard Oil *did* get that big in a free market….but it wasn’t sustainable. Rockefeller’s competitors were catching up and he was already losing market share by the time the gubment decided to file the anti-trust lawsuit.

        But Standard Oil remains as the lone example of big business/monopoly that didn’t get that way through government protection.

        1. And it clearly wasnt a monopoly if the competition was catching up.

        2. DeBeesrs?

    2. But the CofC isn’t an individual business. Why should the CofC, which represents a large number of local bizs, favor any particular ones of them? So what would give people the idea that the CofC would be anti-competitive?

  5. I look at the bottom line. If something is unconstitutional, we have a court system that looks at that.

    Awesome. That’s the kind of deep reflection that REAL statesmen are made of.

    1. He sounds positively presidential.

      1. I agree. He sounds just like the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama administration.

    2. The same court system that upheld fascist healthcare.

      1. No you see it’s a tax fine fine tax. Silly peasant.

  6. “Georgia Coalition for Job Growth”

    The focus groups gave a big thumbs down to “Lobbyists Are People, Too!”

  7. http://www.freep.com/article/2…..r-election

    Richard Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber, acknowledged that Amash has rankled some members by giving the cold shoulder to business people looking for an open door or a welcoming ear on issues he may disagree with them on ? as well as by frequently voting against his own party.

    “We have good companies in that district, large and small, who say the congressman is unhelpful or unresponsive,” Studley said. “It is unusual. Ordinarily you would expect an incumbent Republican would have a good or positive relationship with the business community.”

    Specific examples are hard to come by.
    But not everyone remained silent: Mark Hewitt, a real estate broker in Hastings, said he used to be able to call Amash’s predecessor, Vern Ehlers, who retired in 2011, for help getting Veterans Administration loans moving or a motivational call to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to get a short-sale untracked. But no more.

    “When I called down to Justin’s office ? they’re all like, ‘Well, what do you want us to do?’ ” Hewitt said. Like some others, he said he backed Amash in the past but won’t this time.

    The Chamber doesn’t like the fact that libertarians aren’t cronyist. They are unwilling to pull strings or grease the wheels for connected businessmen.

    1. Richard Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber

      Its nice to see former porn stars like Dick Studley making good in a second career.

    2. So what criteria should gov’t agencies like the VA or gov’t-established ones like FNMA decide on?

  8. The thing is, these CoC people, are fools.

    They are there clamoring for a targeted tax break, instead of advocating comprehensive tax reform. They want a phone line to a congressman to grease some regulatory issue, instead of deregulation.

    In the end, begging for the favor of an all-powerful government is not preferable to having the freedom to just do business.

    They should be backing Amash and all the other libertarians in a push to actually get out from under the heel of the state. Instead, they are terrified by the thought that they don’t have a boot to lick.

    1. Of course they don’t want deregulation. They want the government to strangle their competition. A rising tide lifts all boats, and no business wants their competitors’ boats to ride high. They want everybody else at the bottom of the sea. Even the COC only represents its members and will happily push through a law that torpedoes small firms and holdouts.

    2. They are there clamoring for a targeted tax break, instead of advocating comprehensive tax reform. They want a phone line to a congressman to grease some regulatory issue, instead of deregulation.

      What are the relative odds of success in appealing for a break vs. a policy change? Sorry, but if my money’s on the line, I’m going to put it on the much smaller demand of a break for me than for a general change in policy, and that goes whether I’m appealing to gov’t or any large organiz’n. So they’re not fools at all, they’re smart.

      Consider mundane example: getting someone at the restaurant to serve you a larger portion, vs. getting them to increase their portion size; getting out of a traffic ticket vs. getting the speed limit raised; getting your office repainted vs. getting the whole bldg. repainted. The difference in what you’re asking for there is huge.

    3. It’s logical, if short-term, thinking. They know it’s best for them to be crony, and “in the long run we’re all dead”.

  9. I hope Emily’s dad wins.

  10. “He’s got his explanations for why he’s voted, but I don’t really care. I’m a businessman, I look at the bottom line. If something is unconstitutional, we have a court system that looks at that.”

    One is not a “businessman” if one needs government favor in order to preserve one’s bottom line. And his second premise is entirely off base. The courts do not and cannot possibly review every legislative action because cases must be brought by those affected to get judicial review.

  11. I wouldn’t put much stock in McClintock nor waste many tears on him. He moved to my district primarily because he got turfed out from Southern California and wanted to be able to send more Northern California water to the south using state power. He’s better than the typical California Democrat only like Jerry Brown is better than Gavin Newsome.

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