Sen. DeMint: Business Wants Government To Do Nothing

September 30, 2010 1:31 pm ET — Walid Zafar

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), the de facto leader of Senate Republican Conference, told the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer recently that business leaders want a government shutdown and welcome the prospects of legislative gridlock.  He added, "this idea that the government has to do something is not a good idea."

Fischer: Do you think some type of gridlock is possible and what do you think will happen if that ensues?

DeMint: Well, I had a group of business men tell me the other day that if you can just stop the tax increases on us, and then have two years of gridlock, that would be the best thing that could happen for business because at least we would know what to expect.  Right now, they don't know what the government's going to do to them next.  So, this idea that the government has to do something is not a good idea.  So, I think the less we do the better.

DeMint has already effectively brought the Senate to a halt.  According to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), he "has a standing hold on everything" and recently announced that all proposed legislation would have to be cleared by his office.

While it's true many larger businesses are fretting that their taxes will go back to levels that they were during the Clinton years, it's not so clear that American business would benefit from having DeMint's brand of governing leading the party.  As the Washington Post's Stephen Pearlstein explains:

The good news, of course, is that you won't have to spend a minute over the next two years worrying about tax increases or climate-change legislation or that odious card check idea that would open the doors again to union organizing. The bad news is that you can kiss goodbye tax reform, education reform, infrastructure investment or any new trade treaties. With DeMint cracking the ideological whip in the Senate, and a new crop of young and hungry conservatives beginning to take charge of the Republican caucus in the House, Democrats will be in no mood to strike any deals on these business priorities. Ditto for a Democratic president readily wielding his veto.


Here is the hard political reality: You can't expect to support and finance political candidates who preach that government is menacing and wasteful, that public employees are incompetent and corrupt, that taxes are always too high and destroy jobs, and then turn around and expect that the government will respond to your demands to hold down the cost of health care, or fund basic research, or provide good schools, efficient courts and reliable transportation systems.