• Freedom
  • Innovation
  • Growth

"Crushed" by Conservatives Abandoning their Principles

The American public’s trust in government continues to erode. A Gallup poll from last month found that government was cited by both Republicans and Democrats as the top problem in the country.
Meanwhile, the American people have enthusiastically embraced the products of the tech industry, such as social media platforms and ecommerce sites. Market success has typically been seen as a sign of public approval and the success of the American free enterprise system.
So it’s a bit strange to see the institution that Americans see as problematic—government, going after the technology platforms Americans have enthusiastically adopted. Yet that is exactly what is going on.
Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) was recently feted at a Heritage Foundation briefing about his new book “Crushed” bashing Big Tech, ironically available from Amazon. Even though cushioned with fawning, softball questions from the moderator, Buck’s book, was revealed as simply a populist screed against innovation. The central thesis of the book is untroubled by economic principles, asserting that some technology companies are just “big” and deserve to be taken down a notch (by even bigger government). These are the kinds of arguments we are used to hearing from the progressive left, confirming the “horseshoe theory” that often the progressive left and the populist right end up meeting at the same conclusions.
When you assume that an entire group of companies are inherently evil, you end up with some surprising conclusions. Buck is upset that tech jobs pay well and hire talented people, apparently thinking that these evil companies are depriving more deserving companies of their labor and talent and driving up labor costs. Again, it wasn’t that long ago that conservatives sought to encourage market forces to create high paying jobs for skilled workers. Shouldn’t we rather be celebrating the success of these employees earning higher, market-driven wages and making a good living for themselves and their families?
Another weird conclusion from Buck is that it is apparently, in his mind, borderline treasonous for the children of members of Congress to work for tech companies. Buck said that for members of Congress to allow their children to work for tech companies, to have “…the mouthpiece of Amazon is sitting at the dinner table,” was enough to question the ethics and judgment of the member of Congress. Beyond the incoherence of this attitude, when did attacks on politicians’ children become fair game for conservatives?
Mr. Buck himself has a child in the military and another who is a business executive, and Buck sits on the House Foreign Relations Committee and a subcommittee that controls commercial law. Do Mr. Buck’s children compromise his integrity on those committees? Hearing such slopping thinking from our elected officials suggests the American people should be “crushed” about government.
We should expect more from our elected officials than to baselessly attack family members of others. We should expect more from moderators than to allow baseless insinuations to go unchallenged. And we should expect more of policymakers than to waste time on a topic no one thinks is a top US problem.
Instead, how about a focus on what voters on the right and left are demanding, namely a functional government led by a thoughtful Congress made up of people a strong and free America?