Playing Favorites: How Cronyism is Hurting American Competitiveness

Each year the federal government spends almost $100 billion on corporate welfare in the form of subsidies, tax credits, and loans for businesses that have the right friends in Washington. This is on top of rules and regulations which favor well-connected businesses and block out their competition.

Curbing cronyism benefits taxpayers and consumers. Prior to the 1970s, a handful of airline companies enjoyed little competition because of favorable government regulations. In the decades following deregulation, 52 companies entered the airline industry, and we now enjoy airfares three times cheaper than what they were in the 1970s because of the increased competition.

It is critical that we re-examine the long-standing favoritism that has benefited businesses at the expense of American consumers and taxpayers. Do targeted tax breaks, tariffs, subsidies, and government regulations keep America competitive, or do they tempt companies to focus more on pleasing Washington than on their customers?

Please join the Charles Koch Institute for a conversation with a panel of experts who will explore how we can end corporate welfare.


William Ruger, Vice President of Research & Policy, Charles Koch Institute
Ruger serves as the vice president of research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute and the vice president for research at the Charles Koch Foundation. Before coming to CKI and CKF, he was an associate professor of political science at Texas State University. He earned his doctorate from Brandeis University and bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary. Ruger authored the biography Milton Friedman and co-authored The State of Texas and Freedom in the 50 States. He has been interviewed frequently for television and radio, including appearances on MSNBCFox News, and Fox Business. Ruger is a veteran of the Afghanistan War and an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.


Timothy P. Carney, Senior Political Columnist, Washington Examiner and Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Carney is senior political columnist for the Washington Examiner and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. At AEI, Carney helps direct the Culture of Competition Project, which examines barriers to competition in all areas of American life, from the economy to the world of ideas. His work at AEI focuses on how to reinvigorate a competitive culture in America in which all can reap the benefits of a fair economy. Carney has more than a decade of experience as a journalist covering the intersection of politics and economics and is also the author of The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Moneyand Obamanomics.

Veronique de Rugy, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center
De Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her primary research interests include the U.S. economy, federal budget, homeland security, taxation, tax competition, and financial privacy. Her work has been featured in Reason MagazineNational ReviewBloombergNew York TimesWashington PostWall Street JournalCNN, and Stossel. Before moving to the United States, she oversaw academic programs in France for the Institute for Humane Studies, Europe. She received her master’s degree in economics from the Paris Dauphine University and her doctorate in economics from the Pantheon-Sorbonne University.

Diane Katz, Senior Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy, The Heritage Foundation
Katz is a senior research fellow in regulatory policy for The Heritage Foundation. Prior to joining Heritage in 2010, she served as director of risk, environment and energy policy at the Fraser Institute. From 2002 to 2008, she was director of science, environment and technology for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Katz’s analyses and commentary have been published by theWall Street JournalWashington TimesNational ReviewWeekly Standard, and Reason Magazine, in addition to dozens of regional and local newspapers and blogs. She has testified before Congress and several state legislatures.

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