Editors’ Note: In an effort to foster a more open and honest American dialog, Breitbart convened “The Uninvited” panel at CPAC 2013. This post is a part of a series continuing that dialog with the Breitbart readers.
At Breitbart News’ “The Uninvited” panel that created considerable buzz at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Peter Schweizer, president of the nonpartisan Government Accountability Institute, said crony capitalism is a bigger threat to the country than socialism.
Schweizer told Breitbart News that panels like “The Uninvited” are important, particularly when it comes to topics like crony capitalism that can only be changed by forces from outside Washington D.C.
“Crony capitalism is one of those subjects that people in Washington on both sides talk about but few are willing to do anything to stop,” Schweizer told Breitbart News. “It’s going to be pressure from outside Washington that deals with it.”
On the panel, Schweizer said government continues to grow with liberals, centrists, and even conservatives in power because everyone comes to Washington and eventually views the Washington “cesspool” as a “hot tub.”
“The problem we face is ultimately not ideological,” Schweizer said. “It’s cultural.”
The panel brought together speakers to offer more voices to the political conversation. CPAC attendees appreciated the panel, as was reflected by the number of people who showed up to listen to discussions on topics like crony capitalism, the permanent political class, illegal immigration, and radical Islam. The panel represented Breitbart News’ commitment to having more voices and discussions on issues important to Americans.
Schweizer said crony capitalism is a greater threat than socialism and cited former Bill Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who said he wanted to “use free markets to achieve socialist ends.”
“Government grows because it is profitable when it grows,” Schweizer said, noting that seven of the ten wealthiest counties surround D.C., and Washington has the highest per-capita income in the nation even though the District does not create anything of use.
He said the housing bubble and the green energy boondoggles represented government collaborating with corporations to pick winners and losers.
Schweizer said because Washington’s bipartisan elite profit enormously from crony capitalism, reformers face an enemy with “greater financial resources” to stop reform in its tracks.
He noted that over half of the lawmakers who were a part of the Republican revolution of 1994 ended up becoming lobbyists and urged conservatives to differentiate between being for free markets and not just for big business.
“We are not pro-business,” Schweizer emphatically said. “We are pro-free markets.”
He recalled how the late Andrew Breitbart threw a viewing party at the Breitbart Embassy in 2011 for an airing of “60 Minutes” that profiled Schweizer’s research for what would be his best-selling book, Throw Them All Out. Schweizer and Steve Bannon later documented Washington’s crony capitalism in Fox News’ one-hour special, “Boomtown.”
Schweizer said Breitbart completely supported his crusade against cronyism but other conservatives did not, resisting a bill that would ultimately ban insider trading by members of Congress. That bill was known as the STOCK Act, and was enacted largely due to Schweizer’s research and pressure the “60 Minutes” special put on lawmakers.
He said at least a third of U.S. senators have family members who lobby them and that “nothing will change” until the permanent political class does not directly profit when government expands.
Schweizer suggested there needs to be a lifetime ban on lawmakers going back into lobbying, a ban on family members of lawmakers from lobbying, and term limits.