DeMint: ‘Big Business Is No Friend of Conservatism’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | April 8, 2014 | 9:48am EDT

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( - Former Sen. Jim DeMint, the president of the Heritage Foundation, writes in his new book—“Falling in Love With America Again”—about the cozy relationship between big business and big government.

“Almost all big corporations benefit from, advocate for, and downright like big government,” DeMint writes.

In an interview with, DeMint explained his view that a corollary to this principle is that big business and conservatism are not on the same team.

His views on the matter are seasoned by the insights he gleaned from serving three self-limited terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and from being elected twice to the U.S. Senate. asked DeMint about the partnership he discusses in his book between mega-corporations and the federal government: “How does that work and why does it work?”

“The large companies have lobbyists and people who work directly with the regulators, and many of the regulators like to be friendly with the big companies because the idea is they go to work for the big companies someday to help them with future legislators,” said DeMint. “And they make a lot more money as lobbyists or government-relations people, whatever you call them. But they become very friendly.

“These big companies like to write regulations that make it harder for the smaller companies to compete with them,” DeMint said. “The large companies can deal with a regulatory maze much better than the small companies can. Like the big tobacco companies wanted the FDA to regulate cigarettes because they knew the smaller companies could not get approval to ever introduce a new brand.” asked: “So, essentially, there’s this cooperation between big business and the government to create a regulatory barrier to entrepreneurs and small business people to compete with the big business?”

“In every category,” said DeMint. “It happens some at the state level too, licensing different industries and to make it harder for people to get in once those people have established it. I just want Americans to be aware of that, and this idea that the big government’s going to take care of you, it ain’t working.” asked DeMint about the notion—often promoted by the liberal media—that there is a connection between big business and conservatism: “Yet here you are as the president of the most famous conservative foundation in America, and you’re bashing big business.”

“Well, big business is no friend of conservatism,” said DeMint. “In fact, what we’ve found is--particularly in the last ten years--that big corporations are likely, if they can get a carve-out with their lobbyist in a tax code, or big unions can get a carve-out from Obamacare, or the banks can get a carve-out, then they support legislation that’s bad for all the rest of us.”

“Conservatives and big business are not necessarily supportive of each other,” said DeMint. “Because part of what we do at Heritage is expose that. But big business likes big government for the most part. I’m not saying all of them, because I do hear some of them realizing that all these carve-outs in the tax code are actually hurting our overall economy.

“But for the most part big business is in bed with big government,” he said.

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