The Conservative Dilemma: Can We End Government-Corporate Collusion?

Posted: Jul 21, 2011 8:10 PM

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

--Thomas Jefferson, 1816

In a lively debate today sponsored by the Washington Examiner that included both liberals and conservatives, four distinguished panelists discussed how the relationship between the federal government and big corporations are negatively affecting Americans.

One of the ongoing problems, the panelists argued, is that a symbiotic relationship exists between big government and big corporations that is detrimental to the nation. The federal government – which has grown dramatically in recent years – continues to impose regulations that levy additional costs on small businesses. These policies make it essentially impossible for small business owners to compete and stay solvent. By eliminating competition and obstructing the free market, the government has put a stranglehold on average Americans while allowing corporations to grow larger. The lemonade stand shutdown in Georgia is only the most recent example.

One of the ramifications of this ongoing trend is that some corporations have grown to the point where they are too big to fail. Multinational corporations that now operate inside the U.S. – as argued by the Washington Examiner's senior political columnist Tim Carney – have more power, resources and even aircraft than the United States. This is a serious concern because mega-businesses with their own agenda employ thousands of Americans and have become permanent and influential fixtures in the American political landscape. This threatens not only our economic security but our way of republican governance.

One remedy proposed by Bruce Fein – current chair of the American Freedom Agenda – is to restore corporations to a reasonable size. By capping the size of companies to a certain percentage of the marketplace – multinational conglomerates will have less political clout and influence over elected officials.

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While some conservatives might disagree with this sentiment, the panelists unanimously believe that transparency is essential to limiting the influence of lobbying firms that represent powerful corporations. Candor, they argue, will curtail government secrecy and back-door-dealings that put special interests ahead of the American people.

It is well known that every generation dating back to the founding fathers has dealt with this divisive issue. While no broadly agreed upon solution exists, addressing government-corporate collusion in the United States is one way to protect individuals and ensure prosperity in the years ahead.