There's More Than One Party Of Business

Take your pick of economic-policy issues: free trade, immigration, the International Monetary Fund, national educational standards, or taxes. It used to be that congressional Republicans were for Big Business and Democrats against. Not anymore. Today, both parties are split, with the conservative wing of the GOP aligning with liberal Democrats--against multinational companies. Meanwhile, moderate Republicans and centrist New Democrats share a more expansive economic view of the world. But these moderates have little power, and it grows smaller every day.

Corporations have themselves partly to blame. In recent years, companies and executives have given the bulk of their contributions to the GOP. But social conservatives and small-business champions have dominated economic-policy decisions, and they often share a more parochial, protectionist view.

When Democrats ruled Congress, corporations were pragmatic enough to funnel campaign contributions more equally, with a substantial amount going into the Democratic Party. That bolstered the New Democratic center. Once companies cut their campaign funding, union money came to dominate Democratic politics, positioning the party as anti-trade.

It's time for rebalance. Big shifts on economic issues critical to Corporate America are occurring within both parties. Candidates whose policies promote innovation, global trade, and efficient government should be supported regardless of party affiliation. It's time for a return to pragmatism.

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