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Mike Lee: Uniting against cronyism and restoring equal opportunity for all

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  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:02 p.m.

    Brilliant! Thanks, Senator Lee!

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:21 p.m.

    Oh brother... Mike Lee is one to talk! He's the favorite puppet of the cronies who are destroying this country!

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:22 p.m.

    "...Today, Washington is dominated by a political strategy that transcends party lines...".

    Today?

    Not from 2001 through 2006?

    Mike...you don't have to go populist rhetoric about basic economic fairness and equal opportunity on Utah Republican voters...

    Utah Republican voters will vote for you over, and over and over again.

    Ask Orrin.

    "...Asking my colleagues in Congress to commit to a... reform agenda that restores equal opportunity to the top of our society...".

    Restore equal opportunity to the top of our society?

    Only the top?

    Now that's a Republican platform that all Republicans can get behind...

    Perfect.

  • SAS Sandy, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:46 p.m.

    Ok, Mike. You name one policy, and give it about two paragraphs of explanation. If you're actually that concerned about 'crony capitalism', you owe it to your constituents to tell us about what changes you'd make, and why. And if you're really concerned about the state you represent, you'll show us how you plan to get the changes you propose passed through a deeply divided government.

    Because otherwise, you're just another legislative blowhard, pontificating about how we need small government to the media, while you alternate between business as usual when nobody is looking, and throwing tantrums when the cameras are pointed your way.

  • ShaunMcC La Verkin, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:50 p.m.

    I couldn't have said it better myself. There is currently a lot of criticism of "capitalism", but we haven't had free market capitalism in the country to any extent for many years. What we have is "corporatism", government by and for the corporations and of the rest of us. Whoever buys the most politicians wins. Sad and critical, but true.

  • SAS Sandy, UT
    May 1, 2014 10:56 p.m.

    Hey, wait a second: according to Wikipedia, "In FY 2013 the Bank sent Treasury just over $1.0 billion." Seems like the Export-Import Bank is making the government money, rather than running up the defecit.

    But I'm sure you have a well-reasoned, evidence-based analysis of why it's really doing more harm than good, right?

    Because a sitting U.S. Senator would never reduce somplex issues down to sound-bites.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 12:32 a.m.

    Yes, Senator Lee, but when American capitalism was at the point of collapsing in 2008, to save the system the top (investment banks and insurance companies) had to be saved first. It's always the top which must be rescued. This is the problem with capitalism.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    May 2, 2014 12:58 a.m.

    Mike Lee writes, "[t]oday, Washington is dominated by a political strategy that transcends party lines while simultaneously breeding much more pernicious divisions among the American people."

    In a few years down the road when Mike Lee is pursuing his post-senatorial career of working for some conservative non-think tank, he'll actually list that quote above on his resume as one of his shining accomplishments. Heaven knows, he can't point to any meaningful legislation he's ushered in while in office.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 1:07 a.m.

    The term "crony capitalism" is redundant.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 2:14 a.m.

    "Uniting against cronyism and restoring equal opportunity for all"

    I'd like that though I assume there are massive differences on how to achieve these...

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    May 2, 2014 5:08 a.m.

    Mike Lee's alleged desire to protect citizens from cronyism is like a weasel's desire to protect chickens from predators . . . Not all that sincere.

    Mike Lee is a Tea Party politician, essentially a Koch Brothers' employee, and you don't think he will do his best to implement whatever policies they want?

    Besides, Crony Capitalism has been extremely profitable for Utah. And it goes back a long time. Do you think it was just coincidental that the Golden Spike was driven in Utah? Utah power brokers have been wheeling and dealing and trading favors with other capitalists and politicians for well over a hundred years.

    And what about the 2002 Olympics. The 1.3 billion in federal funds for the 2002 winter Olympics greatly exceeded the paltry amount given by the Feds to LA for the 1996 Summer Games.

    Does the State of Utah really want to see the demise of Crony Capitalism? I wonder why.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 2, 2014 5:43 a.m.

    Mike Lee writes

    "This is America’s crisis of crony capitalism, in which government twists public policy to unfairly benefit favored special interests at the expense of everyone else."

    OK liberals, what part of that do you disagree with. This is right up the liberal ally.

    My biggest problem with partisan politics is that the other side is always bad and there is a need to reject everything they do.

    I support Mr Lee in combating Cronyism. I hope he keeps at it and applies his same logic to campaign finance and lobby efforts as they do exactly what he is proposing to fight against.

    Our side (whichever side that is) has good and bad ideas. So does the other side.

    Support the ideas that are in line with your beliefs, wherever you find them.

    Heck, you may even realize that the other side isn't so bad after all.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    May 2, 2014 6:52 a.m.

    Lee talks the talk, but has never walked the walk. When he starts taking action against his far right cronies, he might have some credibhility. Right now he hasn't, and doesn't. He's sound and fury, and we all know what that signifies.

    At least Lee's blather is considered ann OpEd, and not factual news. Why is the DesNews trying to rehabilitate this guy? Crony capitalism, maybe?

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    May 2, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    When others get ahead it's because of cronyism; when I get ahead, it's because of intelligence and hard work.

    I wonder if Mike Lee would have gotten clerkships with Judge Benson or then-Judge Alito if his father had not been the former U.S. Solicitor General. Those competing against him for those prestigious positions may not have gotten a fair shot. His rise to the Senate was fueled, in part, by his family name and the connections deriving from his relationships.

    It seems odd to hear a son of privilege decrying the privilege of others. I'm in favor of eliminating cronyism. Let's began by voting Mike Lee out of the Senate.

  • Gandalf Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 7:20 a.m.

    Hey Senator, the debt forgiveness you got from the bank regarding your underwater mortgage on your home in Utah county? That's the essence of crony capitalism you are railing against.

    Pot meet kettle.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    May 2, 2014 7:26 a.m.

    "American families who work hard and play by the rules "
    "crisis of crony capitalism"
    "pathology of special-interest privilege"
    "American exceptionalism"
    "Beyond the Beltway"
    "free enterprise economy "
    "restoring the public’s trust"

    Yikes, this piece of fluff is so riddled with hackneyed cliches, and tea party talking phrases that it would make my sophomore English teacher turn over in his grave!

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    May 2, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    All I can say is -- "Wow!"

    I can honestly AGREE with Sen Mike Lee about something.

    This IS the problem with America.

    Most Republicans keep insisting it is "Socialism" - but it isn't.
    This is the problem.

    And it's money,
    and it's the 1% of the 1%.
    And it's Citizens United and the McCutcheon rulings giving the Top individiuals and Corporations unlimited access and influence on our elected leaders.

    No politicians is given $100s of Millions of doallars as a freebie,
    there is Always strings attached to that kind of money....ALWAYS.

    This is how the Gaddiantons "Managed and Controlled" the Government.

    Just as it has been from the beginning,
    Cain - the Master Mahon, and his great secret.

    The initiations, oaths, and promises of great wealth and power are know to these in the Latter-Days.

    This is how the Secret Combinations of Gaddianton operate today.

    But go ahead Repuglicans -- keep hammering at the Sick, Elderly, and Minorities.

    The Gaddiantons and their wealth and power in that Large and Spacious Building, mocking the meek and humble, serving Mammon, are laughing themselves silly at you right now...

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    May 2, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    In theory I agree with you, Mike. The only thing is, I am a skeptic until I see you take on those interests. Will you eschew the big money donors and lobbyists with whom you associate? Will you come out and condemn cases like Citizens United and other decisions that have eviscerated campaign finance limitations, cases which give a disproportionate voice and influence to the mega-rich? Will you associate yourself with the efforts to your fellow Senator Bernie Sanders who is a passionate voice for resolving this issue, including the ever widening income disparity that is threatening the middle class and leading to a return of the robber baron era? Will you become trust-buster type leader in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt, or a sycophant of billionaires while you say things to appease the rest of us? Actions speak louder than words, Mike. By their works ye shall know them.

  • stevo123 slc, ut
    May 2, 2014 8:16 a.m.

    Senator Lee, You talk a good game, but, when it comes to raising funds who do you go to? The Snowbird fund raiser tells the tale. Follow the money!

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    May 2, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    Cronyism, would that be like how Mike Lee got to short sell his home and magically was given a nice home down the street to rent, by the same person who just bought his house? Or does it mean something different?

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    to Marxist

    I don't disagree. Though, its more like... Casino capitalism by, for, & of the oligarchs.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    May 2, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    to Noodlekaboodle

    How about this? Cheney, Halliburton, Iraq?

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    May 2, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    To those commenting on, or wondering about, Lee defaulting on his mortgage (yes, that is exactly what a short sale is, just "dressed up" differently) --

    When Lee ran for the Senate, he knew that his compensation would not allow him to service his mortgage. He knew that, by taking lesser compensation for being a Senator, he would be unable to pay his bills and (at the least) would be defaulting on his mortgage. Despite that, he went ahead with his plans. And then he had one of his political cronies bail him out by buying his house at a vastly reduced price while giving him a place to live just down the street. And then he had his lender bail him out by forging a humongous debt when other, more deserving people, are denied relief under circumstances less onerous for their lender (I wonder what the Bank wanted from lee, to allow him that amount of relief).

    Anad after that, he has the unmitigated gall to complain about crony capitalism and bad financial practices. Hypocracy abounds!

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    May 2, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    At least one historic truth. The reason the golden spike was in Utah was not Utah cronyism.
    The Central and Union Rail roads had contracts with the federal government (Federal cronyism) to obtain land and dollars for every mile of track they laid. In Promontory you can still see where the two cut grades rushed past each other for miles. Central got greater amounts of money from the government for going through the mountains, Union got greater amounts for longer lines across the plains. Both put in cheap shoddy work to get more land and money based on miles. Linking in Utah was just where they settled. Had nothing to do with Utah government or Utah peoples.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    Something needs to be made absolutely clear. American capitalism was saved by the United States government in 2008-2009, using the tools of "crony capitalism" which Senator Lee herein decries.

    Since the American government saved American capitalism, should it not follow that American capitalism should serve all of the people, but it doesn't.

    If Senator Lee obeys his crony Koch Bros. masters, it won't.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    May 2, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    Senator Lee, wouldn't a good place to start be working to overturn two recent Supreme Court decisions that allow unlimited money to be poured into political campaigns by wealthy individuals, corporations, and "anonymous" donors?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 2, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    I have a feeling that Mike Lee's idea of eliminating crony capitalism is:

    Deregulation
    Cut government programs
    Eliminate the Min Wage
    Cut valuable safety nets
    Redistribute money from the poor and middle class to the super rich

    While increasing the safety nets for the 1 percent.

    Why? Follow the free speech errr I mean money folks.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 2, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    @Hank Pym

    Re: "How about this? Cheney, Halliburton, Iraq"?

    #1. Halliburton's doing pretty well with Obama in office as well. It's not just one party like you think.

    #2. Lee was not in office when Cheney was in office... so why associate them?

    #3. If you're going to blame LEE... for everything his party has ever done... should we do the same for your side?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    Wrong definition. Crony capitalism involves two or more capitalists that work together to control capital and market share. Such as the banks and mortgage finance and home construction prior to 2008.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    May 2, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    When I hear the misinformation that is out there, including the absolute ignorance of what Capitalism is and what it isn't, I'm aghast. Is it any wonder that there are more libertarians than ever,including myself! Chaos would be much better than Socialism, Communism, and Fascism, all three which describe in one form of another the people making the above mentioned comments. I would gladly start all over from scratch as to allow the ignorant Socialist philosophy to win the day. Chaos is preferable to Socialism. At least in Chaos, I can still take up my first and second amendment rights; Not so with Socialist thinkers. There is no such thing as an individual right to speech or bearing arms under the progressive thinkers commenting here. Chaos is much preferable to putting power in their hands! Mike Lee must be telling the truth when their are so many trying to undermine him. 99 more and liberty and freedom returns to America!

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    May 2, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    to Open Minded Mormon this morning...

    Aren't oligarchies great?

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    May 2, 2014 3:42 p.m.

    to 2 bits 1:24p today

    It was yet another example of crony capitalism at its finest.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 2, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    " There is no such thing as an individual right to speech or bearing arms under the progressive thinkers commenting here."

    Totally ludicrous. While you can find someone who may want to stop you from owning a gun, they are rare and probably not one on this board feels that way.

    People lose credibility when they talk such nonsense.

    Ok posters. Who wants to stop banderson from owning a gun?

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 2, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    @one vote "Wrong definition."

    Your definition lacks a critical element. Crony capitalism requires government collusion -- the government providing an unfair advantage for the so-called capitalist over his competitors.

    @marxist "the American government saved American capitalism"

    A true capitalist system wouldn't have the government bailing out all those bad actors. So what exactly was saved?

    @Furry1993 "Hypocracy abounds!"

    If theocracy is rule by deity, and bureaucracy is rule by bureaucrats, is hypocracy rule by hypocrites?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 5:19 p.m.

    Andrew Carnegie needed no "government collusion" either did the banks pre 2008.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    May 2, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    Where was there any proof that Capitalism was collapsing in 2008? And if it were, what is the downside? Believe me, the bankers(crony capitalists)knew exactly what they had to do to keep themselves in power! That has nothing to do with capitalism and everything to do with greed and "crony capitalism"

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 7:46 p.m.

    Re: banderson "Where was there any proof that Capitalism was collapsing in 2008? "

    Well, for one thing credit had completely dried up.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 2, 2014 8:02 p.m.

    @one vote "Andrew Carnegie needed no 'government collusion'...."

    What do you make of this passage from Wikipedia?

    "Besides Carnegie's market manipulation, United States trade tariffs were also working in favor of the steel industry. Carnegie spent energy and resources lobbying congress for a continuation of favorable tariffs from which he earned millions of dollars a year. Carnegie tried to keep this information concealed, but legal document released in 1900, during proceeding with the ex-chairman of Carnegie Steel Henry Clay Frick revealed how favorable the tariffs had been."

    "...either [sic] did the banks pre 2008."

    In years preceding 2007-2008, the Clinton administration repeatedly bailed out financial companies from error after error, teaching them to take ever greater risks. The "too big to fail" concept was cultivated during the Clinton years, long before it bore the fruit of financial ruin.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2014 9:41 p.m.

    The financial meltdown happened due to private companies playing Vegas with bank accounts and housing. Government had to step in to save the economy. Carnegie manipulated markets when free enterprise was unregulated. Governemtn had to regulate.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    May 2, 2014 9:42 p.m.

    Marxist: Some people just don't understand free markets. So what if credit drys up? The very reason that free markets work is that everything is allowed to run its course, good or bad! Why do so many want to guarantee no failure, as if that is the goal of life! Where is your trust in anything, except a bureaucrat and some distant power over your lives! What is the fun and adventure of that?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 2, 2014 9:49 p.m.

    @ banderson

    "Where was there any proof that Capitalism was collapsing in 2008? And if it were, what is the downside?"

    Easily the silliest post I've ever read on this website.

    Stock market crashing, credit drying up, banks collapsing, millions of mortgages ruined, millions of Americans losing their jobs, trillions of dollars in wealth lost... Do you need more or are we good?

    If the GOP hopes to discuss these issues academically and have serious discourse then they need to refrain from posting ridiculous things like banderson did above. Posts asking for signs of capitalism collapsing and what the downsides were just demonstrates how truly low information supporters the GOP has.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2014 5:56 a.m.

    Wow, if these comments are any indication Senator Lee will be a open term Senator, unless the low information voters turn out in record numbers

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 3, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    @The Real Maverick "Do you need more or are we good?"

    Let's add more. 1) record increases in public debt, 2) an excruciatingly slow recovery, and 3) an over-abundance of new programs and regulations that leave Americans less free. Obama has taken a bad situation and made it worse.

    The crash of 1987 was deeper than the crash of 2008-2009, but Reagan didn't make the mistakes Obama has made. He didn't try to spend his way to recovery. He didn't take advantage of panic to introduce new welfare programs. He fought to reduce regulations rather than increase them. He waited patiently for his tax cuts to work. He carefully managed the growth of the money supply. He worked to set free the American economy, and had confidence that it would pull through. As a result, the recovery was quick.

    Obama's recovery? Not so quick. After four years, potential employers still don't know what Obamacare is going to do to them, and they view the president as hostile to their interests. They have largely decided to wait out his second term and do the best they can in the meantime.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    [Mike] Lee asked the [Federal Election] commission to approve the creation of a separate segregated fund within his Constitutional Conservatives Fund that could receive unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and individuals to be spent on independent expenditures benefiting other candidates for office. Lee would have been the first member of Congress to directly control his own super PAC.

    Commissioner Donald McGahn, an outspoken conservative opposed to most campaign finance laws, led the commissioners' response by noting this request went too far even for him. "Your argument essentially does away with contribution limits," he said, adding, "It's well beyond what we do here and well beyond what I do here, which is saying something."-Sen. Mike Lee's Super PAC Proposal Fails Before The FEC, Huffpost, 5/3/14

    Lee is the definition of hypocrite. Makes me wonder what donor is pushing him to be against the Export Import Bank.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    May 3, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    It is interesting that people are taking pot-shots are Sen. Lee but providing no specifics. What "crony-capitalism" has he engaged in? I have worked on matters opposite Sen. Lee and he was a very skilled and very ethical attorney. I have no doubt he earned his positions and I voted for him based on what saw.

    The tea party movement terrifies politicians on both sides because they get their power by trading favors. "You contribute to my reelection campaign and I will make sure that Uncle Sam throws some pork in your direction." Ask Nancy Pelosi why American Samoa is exempt from minimum wage laws. Ask why Sen. Hatch voted for the America Invents Act even though it is bad for small companies (i.e. most Utah companies). Congress routinely votes for military equipment that the Defense Department does not even want. It all boils down to who is contributing money to our politicians.

    So far Sen. Lee seems to be voting his conscience even though he gets blasted by the media. Yes, lets cut the size of government and deal a blow to crony-capitalism.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    May 3, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    I agree with every word. A Democrat couldn't have said it any better.

    Hope and change Mike, hope and change. Is there an election coming up?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2014 6:24 p.m.

    Tea party scares people because they want to damage the economy.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2014 9:14 p.m.

    "It is interesting that people are taking pot-shots are Sen. Lee but providing no specifics."

    RBB, obviously you didn't see my post right above yours talking about the big money Senator Mike Lee likes.

    How about his skiing get away with lobyists at snowbird? Even with Sen. Lee putting his hand over the CNN camera we still knew it was him, playing the lobyists money game. Surely you don't think he has stopped hanging out on lavish retreats with the big money people, do you? No, Lee likes the big money influence game as much as the next politician.

    Money. Money. Money.

    But prove me wrong, show me the legislation Sen. Lee is working on that would get big money influence out of politics. Show me what he is actually doing that would back any of his words in this op-ed.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    May 3, 2014 9:23 p.m.

    Did I miss the part where Sen. Lee describes the legislation he's introduced to combat this evil?

    Sen. Lee, I can judge neither the sincerity of your resolve to combat cronyism or the efficacy of your proposed fix for the problem until you explain what you propose to do. If the Import-Export Bank is your sole focus in this regard, color me, at best, unimpressed and at worst, suspicious.

    Any objective observer would conclude that Sen. Lee probably isn't the best flag bearer for an anti-cronyism initiative. Cronyism is at, or near, the top of the list of reasons he has his current position. One has to wonder whether he's so out of touch that he thinks he's a self-made man or understands why he's where he's at and just wants to close the door behind him.

  • Liberal Today Murray, UT
    May 4, 2014 8:48 p.m.

    What? How dare a Tea Party guy speak for equality? That is for liberals only to talk about. It is our campaign slogan.

    Everyone else has to run on inequality, because liberal democrats have the copyright on equality.

    So Mike, either run as a democrat, or you can't be for equality.

  • Creaver Sandy, UT
    May 5, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    I miss Bob Bennett.