Monday, July 21, 2014

Justin Amash's support for free enterprise earns enmity of Big Business

Justin Amash's support for free enterprise earns enmity of Big Business

Ellis explained that Amash is too beholden to principles and the Constitution: “He’s got his explanations for why he’s voted,” Ellis said, “but I don’t really care. I’m a businessman, I look at the bottom line.”

What has Amash done in his three and a half years in the House to earn the Chamber’s wrath? Look over his Chamber of Commerce scorecard and you see a handful of votes where he gets a demerit from the business lobby.

Amash in 2012 voted against reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that subsidizes U.S. exports with taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign companies and governments. He opposes Ex-Im’s renewal this year, too.

Amash opposed as too profligate a few budget agreements the Chamber supported. He twice opposed patent legislation the Chamber backed. Amash twice crossed the Chamber by opposing cybersecurity legislation that gave immunity to tech companies cooperating with U.S. intelligence data collection. When highway bills spent more than the Highway Trust Fund could afford, Amash also voted no, to the Chamber’s disapproval.

Some of these issues are complex disputes (such as patent law), but on others Amash’s problem was simply taking the whole free-enterprise, limited-government thing a little too seriously.

The tension between “free enterprise” and “pro-business” is nothing new — the Chamber supported the bailouts and President Obama’s stimulus and regularly backs corporate subsidies. But somehow, Democrats have until now convinced most of the mainstream media that arguments for free enterprise are simply defenses of corporate America.

Let’s hope nobody believes that line anymore.