A Conservative Agenda to Combat Cronyism and Expand Opportunity

“Cronyism makes the government a defender of a stagnant economic status quo, and it makes powerful economic actors defenders of an ineffective policy status quo. Both now need to change. Loyal friends of market economics must therefore be sworn enemies of cronyism.”

— Yuval Levin

Our latest Room To Grow briefing book examines the cancer of cronyism: the use of government to favor particular business interests rather than to create a level playing field for all businesses. In A Conservative Agenda to Combat Cronyism and Expand Opportunity, Yuval Levin argues that cronyism has become endemic to our politics and must be excised if we are to have a healthy political culture that sustains free markets and provides equal opportunities for all.

Levin argues for a three-part anti-cronyism agenda:

1. Specific measures to combat particular instances of abject cronyism in public policy.

2. Broader reforms of key programs to curb the potential for self-dealing and close off the space for cronyism.

3. Integrating the case against cronyism into the public case for market economics, for institutional reform, and for greater opportunity and mobility in America.

You can read this important addition to our series of briefing books here.  An article based on the work in this briefing book appears in the November 7, 2016, issue of National Review, and can be viewed here.

“[F]air and open competition is precisely what makes markets engines of prosperity and innovation, and what makes the free enterprise system well suited to helping a free society address some of its biggest problems. Providing business interests (or labor interests, or any other established, well connected group) with special benefits or shielding established market actors from competition is therefore anathema to the ethic of capitalism and of democracy. That our government now frequently engages in precisely such preferential treatment for the well connected is a grave danger to democratic capitalism in America. And that the public identifies such cronyism with capitalism itself is a failure of the friends of the market system. It is as such a failure of conservatism, and it threatens all that conservatives hope to achieve.” –Yuval Levin, National Review, November 7, 2016