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August 22, 2014

Heritage Foundation: Whose heritage they represent

Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College sat down with Heritage Foundation President and former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint to discuss Mr. DeMint's new book Falling In Love With America Again. The following is my critique of some points made during that discussion.

Per Mr. DeMint, “People who make good choices, (who work hard, play by the rules, and live within their means) succeed, and people who make bad choices (who don't work hard, don't play by the rules and live beyond their means) fail.” He states this is true for institutions and individuals. Problems arise when organizations get so large that their success no longer depends on the quality of service it delivers.” Bigness allows them to make the rules by which they must comply with. He goes on to say that is what happens when cronyism raises its ugly head between big business and big government.

Interestingly, Mr. DeMint's organization, Heritage Foundation, is a big influence peddler in Washington. It is a conservative think tank expounding conservative views and usually supporting Republicans.
Mr. DeMint believes we should not blame the big contributors to campaigns but rather the bureaucrats who are accepting the money. I agree that government officials deserve blame for they are the ones creating the laws. Both Democrats and Republicans are doing it and yet I do not see the Heritage Foundation expending much effort to get the laws changed to make these contributions illegal.

He states big government “fosters big business, big unions and big costs to taxpayers.” I don't see the Heritage Foundation doing anything to limit campaign contributions to halt the process. What am I missing? I guess that is the beauty of being a think tank. I suggest he is not faulting the oligarchs making such contributions because they also provide financial support for his organization.

Mr. DeMint continues saying “Self-government under the rule of law..... is the touchstone of American conservatism.” Per DeMint, some programs of government have gotten so large that identifying who is responsible for them is close to impossible to ascertain. “The American Idea imposes a duty to oppose programs that subvert popular government and impose bureaucratic rule.” Then why is not the Heritage Foundation coming out strongly in favor of an amendment to the constitution that would reverse Citizens United and bring back one man one vote instead of one dollar one vote?

We no longer have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Instead we are governed by bureaucrats that DeMint claims to disdain and these bureaucrats are ruled by the oligarchs through campaign contributions allowed by Citizens United. He is being a hypocrite.

Mr. DeMint believes it is his duty to “oppose programs that subvert popular government and impose bureaucratic rule.” He cites Obamacare and Dodd-Frank as current examples. I agree President Obama made a mistake introducing new health care laws while we were trying to prevent a depression. The president turned the management of the health care bill over to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and it was rammed through congress. The democrats started the war between both parties and now the republicans refuse to let it go even at the expense of the country. The GOP decided to get mad and get even ignoring the need to address the country's problems.

Per Mr. DeMint “The American Founders would not recognize in this stratified system a truly open market of commerce. It isn't open. It isn't equal in opportunity..... It isn't driven by markets seeking to satisfy people's needs – it is driven by experts, calculus, wealth and preference.” Well said Mr. DeMint. So why not support efforts to break up oligarch's who control markets? The quote below is from the book Capitalism and Freedom written by Milton and Rose Friedman. Dr. Friedman is the economist who is quoted often when conservatives are praising free markets and capitalism.
"But we cannot rely on custom or conscious alone to interpret and enforce the rules; we need an umpire.These then are the basic role of government in a free society; to provide a means where we can modify rules, to mediate differences among us on the meaning of rules, and to enforce compliance with the rules on the part of those few who otherwise would not play the game."
Mr. DeMint spends little time talking about free markets being taken over by oligarchs and corporations who buy influence in Washington. Mr. DeMint states “crony capitalism isn't a side effect it's a direct result of big government.” I find this to be a slick way to not go against many financial contributors to the Heritage Foundation. Blame it on the government and not the oligarchs and multinational corporations who have bought the votes of those in congress. Big money has destroyed democracy as we knew it and bought the Heritage Foundation.

It is past time to amend the constitution.

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