Far too many GOP candidates are comfortable with crony capitalism

Take Scott Walker, for example. His support for using $250 million of Wisconsin taxpayers’ money to build a new stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team is a quintessential example of crony capitalism. Among those who will benefit from the taxpayers’ largesse is real-estate mogul Jon Hammes, a partner in the investment group that owns the NBA franchise; Hammes has agreed to serve as the national finance co-chairman for the Walker campaign. Walker also flip-flopped on support for the Renewable Fuel Standard and ethanol subsidies, dropping his earlier opposition in order to buy support in Iowa.

Want another example? Marco Rubio backs subsidies, loans, and import protections for the sugar industry, which cost American taxpayers millions every year and consumers even more — as much as $3.5 billion per year through higher prices. Time and again, Rubio has voted against reforming the sugar program. By coincidence, one of the senator’s earliest backers was Pepe Fanjul, one of Florida’s largest sugar barons. Rubio is another backer of the Renewable Fuel Standard and farm subsidies generally…

And, of course, Donald Trump’s entire career personifies crony capitalism. During last week’s debate he bragged about how he contributed to politicians in order to secure special favors (and not just to attend his wedding). He has fought for legislation to bar competition — e.g., to prohibit casinos in upstate New York that would have drawn business away from his Atlantic City properties. And he regularly “partners” with local governments to receive special tax deals or other subsidies for his business projects. Taxpayers have had to pony up hundreds of millions of dollars to help make Trump rich.

Trump has repeatedly relied on governments’ using their power of eminent domain to seize private property and turn it over to him for development.

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