Defending Free Enterprise & Fighting Crony Capitalism

A new blog has appeared, The Spirit of Enterprise, declaring:

This blog is a celebration of enterprise, primarily business but also non-profit, artistic, and humanistic. We love the people who do things to make the world better. We also defend enterprise, and particularly commercial enterprise, from those who attack it, including from within.

Yesterday – How the medical device tax hurts innovation, written by an industry exec, which explains why the tax is a foolish idea. His conclusion: "Both the industry’s prosperity and our own well-being require innovation, which politicians the world over seem to take for granted. That is a mistake."

There is an old adage that says "never assume malevolence when something can be explained by simple incompetence", but in the case of the medical device tax, I wonder. The level of stupidity involved exceeds normal human limits, even for Progressives. In a comment on the post, I note  that I have heard rumors that the tax was the consequence of an industry refusal to play ball on Obamacare, and I ask whether anyone can confirm or deny these. I will put the same question here. Since the nation is now Chicago writ large, such rumors are credible.

From Sunday: Cronywatch: How Big Ethanol and the EPA hurt small business:

[A]n example of how crony capitalism — in this case, the big ethanol producers and the EPA — is hammering farmers. It is an unbelievable waste, and a spot-on example of bad policy hurting both individual businesses — farms being the original small businesses — and national prosperity. (Yes, I am well aware that farmers themselves benefit from other sorts of subsidies, so there is a goose/gander issue here, but that sad fact cannot convert the stupidity of our ethanol policy into intelligence.)

And while one is looking at sites that defend enterprise and oppose crony capitalism, keep in mind some other favorites:

Crony Chroniclese.g., Report: Profits from Poverty, How Food Stamps Benefit Corporations

The Government Accountability Institute recently published a report detailing how the food stamp industry is receiving huge benefits from the program. . . . The report concludes: "All too often poverty in America is used as a political weapon by both political parties to galvanize their voting base. What is lost in the midst of such politicking is the crony connection of corporations that have positioned themselves to profit from poverty."

Against Crony Capitalisme.g., Don’t Rebuild Beach Houses with Taxpayer Money: The Case of Dauphin Island

Houses built right next to the ocean will fall into the sea sooner or later. In the meantime however some people, usually quite wealthy people, enjoy the unobstructed view of the Great Blue. When the houses do finally tumble into the ocean – these houses are literally built on sand- the tax payer bails them out.

Overlawyered (Chronicling the high cost of our legal system) — e.g., The quest for asbestos defendants, Chapter CCXXXIII

“In answers to interrogatories, [the mesothelioma-diagnosed] plaintiff identified Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder as the sole source of her asbestos exposure.” [Ron Miller]

 And, of course, Governor Palin’s Speech at the ‘Restoring America’ Tea Party of America Rally in Indianola, Iowa (September 2011):

Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars.  They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power.


 [Image: Imelt & Obama, from Against Crony Capitalism]


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  • CBDenver

    The quote from Gov Palin’s Indianola speech is worth highlighting "Well, it’s because they [the permanent political class] derive power and their wealth from their access to our money ".

    The left was apoplectic about the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision.  But the left’s belief that laws limiting campaign donations will solve the problem of crony capitalism misses the root of the problem.  

    The reason that special interest groups spend money on elections is because they have a lot to gain or lose.   The government has the power to pick economic winners and losers.  They can redistribute our tax dollars to their friends (or withhold it from their foes).   They can pass a law or enact a regulation to make or break an industry or a company.  As long as government has this power, special interest groups will continue to seek government favor. 

  • CBDenver

    I notice that the linked web site has a topic called "Corporate Welfare".  Basically, "corporate welfare" and "crony capitalism" mean the same thing — economic favors granted by the government to selected special interests.  But there is an important difference.

    Ralph Nadar, a man of the left, wrote a book called "Corporate Welfare".  He is against it.  But he is not against the government redistributing wealth — he is just against redistributing wealth to those he doesn’t like.  Leftists like Nadar are fine with redistributing wealth to those he considers "the good guys". 
    In contrast, conservative critics of crony capitalism/corporate welfare are against government redistribution of wealth across-the-board.

    The reason this is important is because leftists like Nadar perpetuate the special interest state.  They advocate for certain special interests and rail against others.  Principaled conservatives oppose all special interests and don’t try to pretend that some are deserving of government favors. 

  • wodiej

    I have learned over the years that business does not care about employees-they care about money.  When they will hire a welfare recipient to get a federal tax credit, they are concerned about one thing only.  While I understand the objective is for a business to make a profit, they have lost sight of who helps them make that profit.  When we have millions of illegals and uneducated, low skilled workers, we get the work force we have.  I hear leaders talking about workers need to be more educated and skilled. They must be talking about the illegals because most legal citizens have some sort of skills and HS education or more.  The bottom line is business does not exist to give anyone a job.  Part of this problem is caused by overpaid, lazy union workers but that is not the majority of the population. 

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