Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) explained how big government enables cronyism. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) explained how big government enables cronyism. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) delivered an important address at The Heritage Foundation today decrying “America’s crisis of crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and political privilege.”

Working hand-in-hand with big government, K Street lobbyists and the big companies they represent tilt the otherwise level playing field the economy. They use the power of government to benefit themselves—at your expense.

“Big government isn’t just inefficient,” he told the audience in Heritage’s Douglas and Sarah Allison Auditorium,  “it’s fundamentally unfair.”

It’s ordinary Americans who suffer from cronyism, whether it’s in the form of economy-distorting regulations, special-interest tax breaks, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or the Export-Import Bank.

That’s why conservatives should fight all Washington cronyism, Lee argued, no matter whether that cronyism was initiated by Democrats or Republicans.

Watch the full video of Lee’s speech here, and read more about the anti-cronyism agenda.

Do you think fighting Washington cronyism ought to be a priority for conservatives?

Comments (16)

Mark Morton - May 2, 2014

“Cronyism” – isn’t that what used to be called graft and corruption?!

Al Lange - May 2, 2014

Yes! Cronyism is unfair and harmful for our economy.

Mary Kay Barton - May 2, 2014

YOU BET Conservatives need to keep fighting Washington Cronyism! It is driving the debt that our children and grandchildren are going to be saddled with!

I have been working for the past ten years to educate people about the corporate welfare FRAUD of industrial wind power. As we speak, cronies in Washington are working to make the the wind Production Tax Credit – PTC (aka: Pork-To-Cronies) permanent, while rural American citizens and our rural American communities are being raped & pillaged by industrial wind developers, with the blessings of cronies in DC. What a travesty!

Industrial wind is ENRON on steroids! Some day our children will ask us how we could have let something so blatantly stupid go on for so long. See:

Industrial Wind Turbines: The Great American “S-WIND-LE” – Not Clean, Not Green, Not Free!

~ Industrial Wind turbines are being sold under the pretense that they will significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and thereby help avoid Global Warming. Yet, 30 years into subsidizing the building of wind factories off the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers has proven otherwise.

~ With approximately 250,000 industrial wind turbines installed worldwide today (45,100 turbines totaling over 60GW of installed wind projects in the USA, according to AWEA), CO2 emissions have NOT been significantly reduced, nor has a single conventional generation plant – including coal, been decommissioned thanks to industrial wind. (See: Wind Turbines Are Climate-Change Scarecrows, by Robert Bryce)

~ Due to the unreliable, erratic, and volatile nature of wind, industrial wind turbines need constant “shadow capacity” from our reliable, dispatchable generators – that is, if you want to be sure the lights will come on when you flick the switch. Thus, as Big Wind CEO, Patrick Jenevein candidly admitted, “Consumers end up paying twice for the same product.”

~ All things considered, including demand levels and import/exports – the more wind installations we add, the more we must add fossil-fueled generation.

~ The TRUTH: Wind generation locks us into dependence on fossil fuels. (See: THE HIDDEN COSTS OF WIND POWER:

~ Adding wind as a supplement to our conventional generating system requires so much supplementation that in many areas of the country, adding wind actually causes increased CO2 emissions in the production of electricity than would be the case with no wind at all. Iowa exemplifies this — As Iowa’s installed wind capacity has increased over recent years, so has their coal use and CO2 emissions.

~ ONE (1) 450 MW Combined Cycle Generating Unit located at New York City (where the power is needed in New York State), would provide more power than all of New York State’s 16 installed wind factories combined, at 1/4 of the capital costs — and would have significantly reduced CO2 emissions and created far more jobs than all those wind farms – without all the added costs (economic, environmental, and civil) of all the transmission lines that must be added across the state to New York City.

~ Industrial wind supplies electricity, and therefore, has nothing to do with our “foreign oil dependence” created by gasoline and diesel fuel needs.

~ 4,000 – 6,000 pounds of rare earth elements are required per turbine, producing disastrous ecological results in China, where the rare earth elements are being mined.

~ In many low-wind areas (ie: New York State), industrial wind turbines do NOT produce enough power to pay for themselves over their very short, 5 – 13 year lifespans.

~ The average output of many wind factories is less than 25% – many days, providing nothing at all.

~ Studies from those long-invested in wind power in Spain and elsewhere have shown that 2 – 4 jobs are LOST in the rest of the economy, in large part due to the associated “necessarily skyrocketing” electricity rates President Obama forewarned would accompany his ‘green’ energy policy.

~ Consider GE’s Shepard’s Flat Wind Factory, at which each ‘job created’ was shown to cost taxpayers $16.3 MILLION – exorbitantly expensive jobs for a product which is neither “reliable,” nor “efficient” – two professed requirements of the “sustainability” movement.

~ Wind technology has proven to be effective only as a tax shelter generator for large corporations in need of an increased bottom line – just as it was originally designed to do by ENRON, the trailblazer for industrial wind in the U.S.

~ Two of the largest wind holding corporations – GE and Florida Power & Light – have paid NO federal income taxes in the U.S. in years, in large measure because of their “investment” in wind.

~ Studies have shown that MILLIONS of birds and bats are being killed every year by these giant “Cuisinarts of the air,” as a Sierra official dubbed industrial wind turbines in a moment of candor.

~ President Obama recently gave industrial wind developers a 30 year free pass to slaughter eagles without penalty, while all other energy sources are fined tens of thousands of dollars and more per bird death.

~ The sprawling footprints of industrial wind factories cover vast swaths of land, causing massive Habitat Fragmentation.

~ Industrial wind installations significantly interfere with both military and weather radar, severely compromising both homeland security and weather advisory systems that would otherwise, serve to protect American citizens.

~ Big Wind Corporations looking to cut corners have been caught using old Bethlehem brown-field slag as fill in access roads which run amongst croplands.

~ Mathematically, it would take more than 3000 wind turbines rated at 2 MW each, spread over 800 kilometers (nearly 500 miles), to equal the energy from one 1600 MW coal or nuclear plant. Because these wind turbines can produce no effective (or firm) capacity, they can never replace the need for those conventional generating units.

~ Wind, paired with natural gas (the most flexible generating system), can offset a mere fraction more CO2 emissions than could be achieved with the gas unit alone – without any wind at all. Wind represents redundant generation, although it would generate capital costs more than triple the cost of the gas unit. With wind, the country gets one electricity production system for the cost of two.

~ Wind can neither be a functional alternative, nor additive energy source. Wind energy is so diffuse that no machine can convert it to modern power. (See: Understanding E = mc2)

~ Personal health and property value losses by those who end up stuck living within the massive footprints of industrial wind factories ARE significant and growing world-wide, yet are being ignored by most of the media, ‘green’ enthusiasts, and over 80% of the U.S. population who live within big city limits and are oblivious to the detrimental effects being wrought on rural America thanks to the ‘green’ “Emperor Who Wore No Clothes.”

~ Suggesting proper ‘siting guidelines’ for wind factories is akin to suggesting building larger closets for the “Emperor With No Clothes.”

~ Let’s be real – Would you buy and move YOUR family into a home surrounded by 450 – 500+ foot tall industrial wind turbines, with their 164 foot-long, 11-TON, bird-chopping blades spinning overhead – only hundreds of feet from YOUR home on all sides? I have yet to meet anyone who would.

~ Why would anyone in their right mind support imposing this torture on their fellow Americans??? It is shameful, criminal, and un-American! These peoples’ most expensive life investments – their homes, have been rendered virtually worthless.

~ Studies have shown, and any realtor worth his oats will tell you, there are significant property value losses (10% – 25% and more), depending on the proximity to the wind turbines. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!! Could you and your family afford to take that kind of loss on YOUR home?

~ Would you take your family to vacation amongst the footprint of industrial wind factories? Neither would most anyone else – which ruins the tourism trade many scenic rural areas across rural America depend on, especially in this flailing economy. The only ones getting rich in this scenario are the multi-national wind developers. The rich are getting richer at the rest of our expense for a useless product.

~ Besides rendering these folks’ homes virtually worthless, the fact that American citizens are being assaulted with their own taxpayer and ratepayer dollars (which are subsidizing the building of these wind factories to the tune of 80% of the total costs), is blatant theft of both their money and their Constitutional private property rights. Again I say – It is shameful, criminal, and un-American!

~ Corporate cronies push the “All of the Above” nonsense, while what U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers really need is an “All of the Sensible” energy policy. Industrial Wind does NOT make the cut!

Mary Kay Barton

Mary Kay Barton is a retired health educator, New York State small business owner, Cornell-certified Master Gardener, and is a tireless advocate for scientifically sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for all Americans. She has served over the past decade in local Water Quality organizations and enjoys gardening and birding in her National Wildlife Federation “Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”

Robert Fanning - May 2, 2014

It is impossible to fight cronyism due to the nature of such collaborative actions. The only tool is short term limits on congressional members, however, this sorely limits ability of members to act upon most of the proposals facing congressional activity. Term limits on members would sorely impact ability to evaluate and vote on many proposals that arise from military or other legislative issues.

James Carter - May 2, 2014

Amazingly our forefathers knew this, only too well, and provided checks and balances in our constitution to addresss these issues! Problem: Too many Cronies in the office at the SAME time! Throw the whole bunch out and start over! TERM LIMITS! IT”S TIME HAS COME!

Donna Esper - May 2, 2014

Sen. Mike Lee is right on the money! We need more representatives like him. Thanks for spreading the word!

Jan A. Gazenbeek - May 2, 2014

Both parties should stop waste, fraud, cronyism and pork barrel spending. Even today’s WSJ op-ed is expecting that pork barrel spending will be reintroduced. I support the Heritage Foundation but have no good word to say about Congress. Shameful

Gary Hurd - May 2, 2014

The fundamental solution is to totally eliminate campaign funding. Use Fed $ to fund open forums with the media no earlier than 6 months before the presidential election. Hold several so that each candidate has an opportunity to present their positions on issues much like the presidential debates. This would open up access to potential candidates that are not “well connected” or rich,… and take all the special interests off the table. Do the same at the state level as well. Would return our political processes back to the people and not the special interests.

Annette Ryder - May 2, 2014

Yes, conservatives should fight Cronyism, Washington and otherwise, and make it a priority!

GEORGE A. WARREN - May 3, 2014

Senator Mike Lee’s speech sounds great to me, now if we can only get the 53% WASHINGTON D.C. CRONYISM replaced with a better United State Congress in 2015.

Jean Witte - May 3, 2014

Washington cronyism needs to be done away with; however, I firmly believe it is so engrained that may never happen…but we can hope. The first major step to helping do away with it would be term limits for those serving in Congress. These people are supposed to be representing the feelings, concerns and needs of the people in their particular area and when the elected representative overstays his/her welcome, he/she becomes a part of the cronyism. The limits should be set ( a reasonable time should be placed) and when those elected run out of time, they should return to their home districts and NOT be allowed all the perks that they are now allowed. The job of representative should be considered a privilege. You go to DC, do your job and go home…no pensions or any other type of special treatment, and treat their time there as a privilege and not a right to all the ‘goodies’! This should definitely have an impact on cronyism.

Marv Meier - May 4, 2014

No – you will never win over cronyism! Work to get going on general conservative issues – like over spending, the immigration reform and real things. Quit splitting Republicans into 2 or 3 camps!

patti snapp - May 5, 2014

Cronyism is unconstitutional; is fraud; hurts economy; hurts national security; creates poor representation ; harms small business; creates regulations harmful to all Americans; encourages imbalanced influence of powerful lobbyists, etc.; hurts education; hurts average American – AND, immoral!!

RJ - May 7, 2014

We must not forget that one of the Founding Principles, in addition to a high degree of personal freedom/autonomy, is equality under the law for everyone wherein the government is not allowed to favor some or disfavor others. The law and government action is to be neutral amongst the people, without preference or bias. This was the essence of Jacksonian democracy. Progressivism has largely destroyed this core principle, because it cannot exist with it in place.

It is much easier to take away personal freedom when the government is allowed to discriminate among the people, which is the core of progressivism.

Progressivism divides people and interests into groups, favoring some over others, purportedly to make things “fair” or “equal.” Once a government is free to discriminate among its people, how can corruption and exploitation be avoided?

Timothy Denham - May 8, 2014

The Honorable U.S. Senator Mike Lee’s Speech April 30, 2014 was clearly spoken and gave further reference for this “Heritage Foundation Member” and other Patriots who are now planning a “dress rehearsal” of a “Constitutional Convention” to include 6-Amendments in honor of and respect for the intentions and purposes of our nation’s “Founders”.
With the Faith of our Fathers,
Timothy Denham,
SFC, USAR/FLARNG, Retired but still Serving

Holly Chapo - May 10, 2014

Unequivocally, YES!!! For the good of America and the American people.

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