Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The case against cronies: Libertarians must stand up to corporate greed

Being "pro-business" is not the same as being in favor of free enterprise.  Many businessmen are pleased with their special protection from competition or their government subsidy or special tax break or regulations designed to give them an advantage.  Many business people do not object to the government picking winners and losers as long as they are the one picked.  This article explains why crony capitalism is immoral and why advocates of free markets should expose and condemn it.

Crony capitalism is not just a national issue, but evident here in Nashville when a mandatory minimum fee and regulation are designed to protect established limousine companies from competition, when special tax breaks are given to HCA or Gaylord, and when eminent domain is used to take property from one person and give it to another.

The case against cronies: Libertarians must stand up to corporate greed

Timothy P. Carney , The Atlantic, April 30, 2013 - It's time for a free-market corporate social responsibility. Conservatives who rail against government hand-outs should also blast companies who seek shelter from Washington.

The Republican attack on President Obama's economic policy has changed subtly, but significantly, in the last three years. In 2009, he was allegedly a "socialist" and a "Marxist" who lusted for government control of the entire economy. But lately, that has given way to more nuanced charges of "crony capitalism" -- of giving special, friendly treatment to certain companies and industries, or allowing powerful corporations to essentially write the laws, themselves.

Republicans shouted about Obama's green energy handouts and industry bailouts. Mitt Romney assailed him for picking winners and losers. "Free enterprise works," Romney said in early 2012. "Crony capitalism does not."
When the ethanol industry writes an ethanol mandate, or H&R Block hatches a policy that crushes its small competitors, it's legal. But it's also a naked attempt to extract money from unwilling payers, restrict the freedom of competitors, and deny options to customers. This is the sort of behavior conservatives and libertarians need to denounce. (link)

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