In today’s Wall Street Journal, Charles G. Koch, who is chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries, writes that economic freedom — not government spending and intervention — leads to prosperity and economic well-being for all, even for our poorest citizens.
Koch describes an “economic crisis” of increased spending and debt, at both the federal and state levels. The spending cuts currently being considered by Congress, he says, are “relatively minor,” with few proposals for necessary cuts to military and entitlement programs. He describes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as someone who takes seriously the challenge of controlling government spending.
Mismanagement of our finances by both Democrats and Republicans, along with their and President Obama’s refusal to tackle the problem of existing debt and the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, means we are looking at “looming bankruptcy,” Koch writes.
On the relationship between government and business, Koch writes that too many business firms have practiced “crony capitalism”: lobbying for special favors, subsidies, and regulations to keep competitors — who may be more efficient — out of the way.
While it’s more difficult than practicing cronyism, competing in open markets assures that firms that efficiently provide goods and services that consumers demand are the companies that thrive, Koch writes. It is these efficient firms that raise our standard of living. When politically-favored firms are propped up and bailed out, our economy is weakened: “Subsidizing inefficient jobs is costly, wastes resources, and weakens our economy.”
He concludes: “I am confident that businesses like ours will hire more people and invest in more equipment when our country’s financial future looks more promising. Laying the groundwork for smaller, smarter government, especially at the federal level, is going to be tough. But it is essential for getting us back on the path to long-term prosperity.”
Why Koch Industries Is Speaking Out
Crony capitalism and bloated government prevent entrepreneurs from producing the products and services that make people’s lives better.
By Charles G. Koch
Years of tremendous overspending by federal, state and local governments have brought us face-to-face with an economic crisis. Federal spending will total at least $3.8 trillion this year — double what it was 10 years ago. And unlike in 2001, when there was a small federal surplus, this year’s projected budget deficit is more than $1.6 trillion.
Several trillions more in debt have been accumulated by state and local governments. States are looking at a combined total of more than $130 billion in budget shortfalls this year. Next year, they will be in even worse shape as most so-called stimulus payments end.
For many years, I, my family and our company have contributed to a variety of intellectual and political causes working to solve these problems. Because of our activism, we’ve been vilified by various groups. Despite this criticism, we’re determined to keep contributing and standing up for those politicians, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are taking these challenges seriously.
Both Democrats and Republicans have done a poor job of managing our finances. They’ve raised debt ceilings, floated bond issues, and delayed tough decisions.
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