Charles Koch provides a strong defense of economic freedom and an attack on crony capitalism in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal today. Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, Inc., and his brother David have been vilified by the left for their contributions to organizations that defend the free market, most notably in a hit piece last summer in The New Yorker magazine. More recently, the Kochs have been accused of being the power behind the Tea Party and the Wisconsin union initiatives.
Koch Industries is the one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S., and the two brothers are billionaires who have a long history of donations to libertarian groups as well as philanthropic and cultural causes.
In his article, Charles Koch points to overspending by both Republicans and Democrats that has led to a staggering level of federal debt. Also, he noted, many businesses stand in line to push for their own preferential treatment paid for by taxpayers:
Too many businesses have successfully lobbied for special favors and treatment by seeking mandates for their products, subsidies (in the form of cash payments from the government), and regulations or tariffs to keep more efficient competitors at bay.
Crony capitalism is much easier than competing in an open market. But it erodes our overall standard of living and stifles entrepreneurs by rewarding the politically favored rather than those who provide what consumers want.
Koch points out that more businesses instead should be outspoken in defending economic freedom instead of cozying up for government handouts:
Even though it affects our business, as a matter of principle our company has been outspoken in defense of economic freedom. This country would be much better off if every company would do the same. Instead, we see far too many businesses that paint their tails white and run with the antelope.
Amen to that. Check out CEI President Fred Smith’s speech “Business Must Fight for Economic Freedom” and its synopsis in CEI Planet’s current issue (pg. 2) for more thoughts on how business needs to defend itself.