WOLF: GOP must fight corporate welfare

Freedom, not free stuff, is source of prosperity

No one accuses establishment Republicans of being terribly brave or bright, but this insanity has got to stop: Democrats repeatedly frighten Republicans into accepting their statist agenda and then blame them for behaving like, well, Democrats. Republicans just keep falling for it.

Consider the president’s most vulnerable issue: Obamacare. During the election, Democrats didn’t bother to defend their horrible law so much as to delight in the fact that Mitt Romney authored it. When Republicans correctly said we couldn’t afford it, Democrats just as correctly responded that we couldn’t afford President George W. Bush’s massive Medicare expansion. Lost was the far more consequential fact that government-run health care is lousy and, worse still, incompatible with freedom.

It’s time for Republicans to stop playing checkers and start playing chess.

First, we must face the reality that conservatives are in the minority. Forget the perennial Gallup polls showing that self-identified conservatives outnumber liberals 2-1. This is in name only. It’s a reflection that we have successfully promoted a brand but have failed to explain its benefits. Meanwhile, the Democrats have established an actual majority voting alliance of beneficiaries of government largesse.

The implications are staggering. Our Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton rarely agreed on anything except this: Once the voters turn the public treasury into a public trough, the republic is lost. From the ashes of our failed American experiment, a dictatorship likely will arise.

Ultimately, conservatives must wage and win a war for our culture, not of traditional social issues, but one far more fundamental, of liberty versus tyranny. We must reignite those flames of freedom that once burned brilliantly with limited government and free-market capitalism, making America the most prosperous nation in human history.

Where to start?

We need voters. Our first step should be to exploit the natural divisions in the Democrats’ fragile alliance, starting with the one between those willing to work and those not willing. Retirees played by the rules and worked hard for their Social Security and Medicare benefits and certainly are entitled to them, at least insomuch as they were taxed for them. The real threat to their benefits is not Republicans’ reform of these programs for future generations but rather the squandering of those funds now on food stamps, “Obama phones,” disability giveaways and other welfare spending that all too often goes to people who sit on their sofas and game the system.

Next, let’s target the Democrats’ ultrawealthy cronies who launder the taxpayers’ money with the Solyndra Shuffle: Take hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate welfare under the guise of “stimulus” (or green energy or whatever cause du jour) for their bankrupt companies, keep a few million for themselves and then funnel a few hundred thousand back to the Democrats so they will do it all over again.

According to Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, Obama campaign bundlers received more than $21,000 of corporate welfare for each dollar donated to the president’s campaign.

The GOP should reject corporate welfare in all its forms, whether it benefits Republicans or Democrats. No more bailouts. No more grants or guaranteed loans or subsidies. No more targeted tax credits or mandates to purchase favored products. Stop subsidizing failure. The corporate welfare Catch-22 is that successful companies don’t need it and failing companies don’t deserve it. End it all.

Here’s the beauty of this plan: We will turn the Democrats’ strength against them.

Democrats are the party of envy. For decades they have preached the gospel of class hatred and division. They’ve convinced their followers that prosperity is zero-sum, that one man’s success comes from another man’s loss. In so doing, they’ve set the stage for their own takedown.

Zero-sum theory most certainly does not apply to free-market economics, in which everyone prospers in a growing economy and the proverbial rising tide lifts all boats, but it does apply to government handouts. A billion dollars given to this group cannot be given to that group. Our job is to show the Democrats the future they are creating, in which the groups in their alliance must bitterly fight each other for what remains of their shrinking pie.

The Democrats — predictably — will blame the shrinking pie on the rich. Here’s where it gets fun, though, so long as Republicans are out of the corporate welfare business. We’ll ask: How many retirees can be covered for the $500 million that President Obama squandered on Solyndra? Heck, how many “Obama phones” would it buy? That’s a lot of Angry Birds.

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