Jim DeMint – “The Problem of Big”

Crony Capitalism - Byproduct of Big Govt(photo credit)

Intro by Jeff Rutherford

As published in the July/Aug 2014 issue of Imprimis by Hillsdale College, here is an excellent excerpt from former U.S. Senator (R – SC) and current president of The Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint’s recent book “Falling in Love With America Again.”

(In the same issue of Imprimis is a speech by Paul Ryan called “Renewing the American Idea.”  Just follow the link above to read it too.)


The Problem of Big

By Jim DeMint

President, The Heritage Foundation

Former U.S. Senator from S. Carolina

Jim DeMintSo long as there are only two ways to get ahead — the legitimate way, which leads to earned success, and the illegitimate way, which leads to unearned success or, if things go wrong, to jail — the system of freedom and responsibility we call democratic capitalism works very well.

(photo credit)

As a rule, 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.

This goes for institutions large and small, and for people powerful and weak. The rules for all of us start with the law and, ultimately, the U.S. Constitution.

One of the problems of Big — a “Big” is an organization that has reached such a size that its continued existence and success is no longer contingent upon its quality of service; this dubious distinction finds its highest manifestation in our bloated government — is that it creates a third option: neither obeying the rules nor breaking the rules, but changing the rules as you go. That’s what happens in cronyism, which is in effect legal cheating. Emphasis on the legal.

That is one of the most frustrating aspects of the crisis of Big: Most of the time there is no crime to prosecute. The institutions change the rules, so what would have been cheating, and what many people see as cheating, is actually blessed by the state. The transactions of crony capitalism—campaign contributions on the one side, policy changes on the other—are all perfectly legal.

This is why so much of the criticism of special interests as such is incomplete, or even misdirected. Attacking special interests for accepting government favors is like criticizing a four-year-old for eating ice cream for breakfast. The proper targets of criticism are not the beneficiaries of the bad policy, but those in charge who acquiesce to their requests—the government agencies that provide the favors; the parents who allow their kids to eat whatever they want.

When government officials change policies to benefit special interests, the responsibility for the “cheating” lies with the officials, not the special interests. They, after all, are only playing by the rules the government sets. As long as politicians effectively put the rules of the game up for sale, it’s hard to fault people for trying to buy or rent them.

. . . Despite all the promises you hear from politicians, big government does not really help the little guy. Big government fosters big business, big unions, and big costs to taxpayers. Big government and its big partners rob individuals and our nation of freedom, opportunity, and prosperity.

Too Small to Succeed(graphic credit)


About Necessary and Proper

Jeff believes in the Individual's ability to excel when liberty and freedom of choice are protected. Also believes in the Community's ability to take care of the vast majority of its own issues and needs when the federal government leaves the Community's resources and sphere of control alone. State and local choice produce better results than centralized federal control. https://necessaryandpropergovt.wordpress.com/
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3 Responses to Jim DeMint – “The Problem of Big”

  1. David Bartilson says:

    I was hoping to hear something about term limits which would go a long way to eliminate crony capitalism, IMO. Or, Convention of States which would provide a frame work for tweaking the Constitution such that the gubmint wouldn’t be so big and ineffective. Of course, with the administration that we have now that doesn’t respect the rule of law, not much would make a difference.


  2. Everything Senator DeMint wrote is true. Years ago after doing some reading, I was surprised to find out the erosion of the Constitution by an increasingly more powerful federal government isn’t really new to our time.

    I’ve heard it said that the Founding Fathers would roll over in their graves if they could see America now. The truth is, they probably would have rolled over in their graves if they could have seen America by the 1920’s, if not before. And FDR’s policies would have caused them to have a stroke.


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