Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Capitalism doesn't mean government helps business.

Bruce Bartlett has a good column today, noting, in a review of Raghuram G. Rajan's new book the very true observation of Adam Smith, that "businessmen could often be the free market's worst enemies, because they will sacrifice it in a minute for the sake of profits. Often, they enlist government as a co-conspirator, getting it to enact laws that restrain competition and raise prices, which benefits them, but hurts everyone else."

Bush's biggest blunder so far was the steel tariff. You want to kill an economy? Nothing quicker than increasing the price of steel. Another clever idea is to pay farmers not to grow food, because, as we all know, it's really good policy to make food more expensive.

What always bugs me is this basic misunderstanding of the fight. The fight isn't business against the consumer. The fight is capitalism and freedom against government interference in the market and socialism.

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