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Is big business a true ally of free enterprise? At an AEI event on Thursday, panelists discussed the future of big business, economic freedom, and the state. Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution began by explaining that big business is losing its relationship to the Republican Party, and that there may be room for Democrats to adopt big business's cause.
Tony Fratto of Hamilton Place Strategies defended big business by arguing that it is impossible for large firms to avoid political partnerships if they want to stay competitive in the global economy. Fratto explained that the idea that large firms are inherently bad is ultimately detrimental to America's position in the global market. Sam Geduldig of Clark, Lytle, Geduldig & Cranford also advocated for big businesses that have been forced into relationships with government legislators.
AEI's Tim Carney cited a long stream of events -- recent bank bailouts, stimulus package components, and health care policies -- that were driven by corporations who pressured the government to legislate in those corporations' favor. Carney concluded that these business maneuvers demonstrate that big business is not a friend of free enterprise in that they divorce the pursuit of profit from customer value and real economic wealth.
From bailouts for banks and carmakers to subsidies for solar panels and sugar growers -- not to mention mandates for health insurance and ethanol -- big business hasn’t exactly asked Washington to leave it alone in recent years. But while industry lobbies often seek special favors, they also bring their clout to the pro-growth fight against overregulation and tax hikes and for competition and free enterprise.
So is big business a true ally of free enterprise? Should it be? Or does its penchant for cronyism and government "investment" in politically favored industries make it just another special interest?
Our panelists from the left, the right, and K Street will answer these questions and discuss the future of big business, economic freedom, and the state.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Timothy P. Carney, AEI
Tony Fratto, Hamilton Place Strategies
William Galston, Brookings Institution
Sam Geduldig, Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford
Jonah Goldberg, AEI
For more information, please contact Janine Nichols at Janine.firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.862.7172.
For media inquiries, please contact MediaServices@aei.org, 202.862.5829.
Timothy P. Carney is a visiting fellow at AEI, where he helps direct the Culture of Competition Project, examining barriers to competition in all areas of American life, from the economy to the world of ideas. Carney has over a decade of experience as a journalist covering the intersection of politics and economics. 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 is the author of two books: “The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money” (John Wiley & Sons, 2006) and “Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses” (Regnery Publishing, 2009).
Tony Fratto is a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, a policy and communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC. Fratto held several senior legislative and communications positions before serving as the US Department of the Treasury’s chief spokesman on topics related to domestic finance, debt management, banking, international economics, and international development. In 2006, Fratto joined the George W. Bush administration as deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary, where he was the White House’s lead communicator on all international and domestic economic policy issues. In addition to his current role at Hamilton Place Strategies, Fratto is an on-air contributor with the CNBC Business News Network and a member of the Center for Global Development’s Partners Council.
William Galston holds the Ezra Zilkha Chair in the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program, where he serves as a senior fellow. A former policy adviser to former president Clinton and various presidential candidates, Galston is an expert on domestic policy, political campaigns, and elections. His current research focuses on designing a new social contract and the implications of political polarization. Galston is the author of eight books and hundreds of articles in the fields of political theory, public policy, and American politics. He recently contributed a response to Nicholas Eberstadt’s book “A Nation of Takers: America’s Entitlement Epidemic” (Templeton Press, 2012).
Sam Geduldig is a partner at Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford, a leader in Washington’s issue advocacy arena. Geduldig’s extensive experience on Capitol Hill includes service in senior positions in the offices of Representative John Boehner (R-OH) and Representative Mike Oxley (R-OH). Geduldig also spent four years as a senior adviser to former House Republican whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, directing coalition efforts while advising the majority whip on financial services issues. With experience as the House Republican leadership’s liaison to the business community, Geduldig serves his corporate clients through his expertise in the mechanics of the legislative process, committee dynamics and procedures, and coalition building.
Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at AEI and a bestselling author and columnist. His nationally syndicated column appears regularly in scores of newspapers across the United States. He is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a member of the board of contributors to USA Today, a contributor to Fox News, a contributing editor to National Review, and the founding editor of National Review Online. In 2011, he was named the Robert J. Novak Journalist of the Year at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He has written on politics, media, and culture for a wide variety of publications and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs. Before joining National Review, he was a founding producer for “Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg” on PBS and wrote and produced several other PBS documentaries. He is the recipient of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award. He is also the author of two New York Times bestsellers: “The Tyranny of Clichés” (Sentinel HC, 2012) and “Liberal Fascism” (Doubleday, 2008). At AEI, Goldberg writes about political and cultural issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.