Posted by Charity on September 28th, 2006

In conversations about liberty and less government, someone inevitably brings up the big, bad Big Business. Obviously without government regulation, big business would take over the world. And since we can’t vote Big Business out of office, we won’t be able to do anything about it.

This is the justification for allowing the government power that it was not granted in the constitution. Obviously, our Founding Fathers did not foresee the evil of Big Business.

With this in mind, and not knowing how to bring my detractors into the light, I happened upon this great piece by John Stossel on Town Hall yesterday. And since I know that many of you wouldn’t dare soil your computer with such right-wing filth, I will highlight a few points here.

The history books say that during the Progressive era, government trustbusters reined in business. Nonsense. Progressive “reforms” — railroad regulation, meat inspection, drug certification and the rest — were done at the behest of big companies that wanted competition managed. They knew regulation would burden smaller companies more than themselves. The strategy works.

Most people don’t realize that Enron favored the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and wanted energy regulations beneficial to itself; Philip Morris favors tobacco regulation; Wal-Mart’s CEO came out for a higher minimum wage; and General Motors embraces tough clean-air rules. Why? Because, as Carney points out, big companies with lots of lawyers and accountants can make the regulations work for themselves, while smaller competitors are hampered.

In a free market the consumer calls the shots. In the corporate state the business-government alliance restricts consumer choice.

Stossel’s column was prompted by the new book, “The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money” by Timothy Carney.

Sounds like a good one.