Ethics & Public Policy Center

Conservatives’ Debate over Their Future Is Going to Be Bitter and Fierce

Published in The Washington Post on November 29, 2019


American conservatives are finally debating how to respond to the challenge President Trump’s ascendancy poses for their future. The blowback over Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) recent speech at Catholic University shows that debate is going to be bitter and fierce.

Rubio’s talk explored what he called “common-good capitalism.” He argued that the modern American economy falls short because it has fallen prey to the shareholder theory of value. That theory holds that a corporation has only one obligation: return money to its owners, the shareholders. Rubio contends that this ignores the corporation’s obligations to share a fair return to its workers and to reinvest in its business for the future. The result, he contends, is the de-investment in the United States that occurs when U.S. business invests overseas — and the wage stagnation and community decline that often follows.

Many conservatives rightly saw these words as a challenge to the reigning neo-libertarian economic orthodoxy. And so they struck back — hard.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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