I Am An Anti-Trust Conservative
Posted by John Hitchcock on 2009/02/24
I have noticed there have been many times when conservatives have favored letting large corporations merge with each other or buy each other out while liberals have been in opposition. But most of the time, both conservatives and liberals have either approved or have chosen not to have a voice. I have nearly always been opposed to letting huge conglomerates merge with each other.
A question will likely arise from some people. How can a laissez-faire conservative support government interference in conglomerate-making? That question contains a false premise. And that premise is “anyone who wants limited government and market-place economy wants zero government oversight.” I guarantee I am not at all interested in “zero government oversight” of business. A complete removal of all regulations is an anarchical and not conservative aim.
So, how does anti-trust and conservatism intersect? It is simple, actually. Small government and a lack of an omnipotent central government is everpresent in conservative mindsets. The more centralized a government, the less free the people. The same goes for businesses. The greater the conglomeration, the greater the consolidation of power, and the less free the people.
Great conglomerations are anathema to market-place competition. As businesses combine, there are fewer competitors. As businesses grow, the small competitors can easily be priced out of existence. Huge conglomerates can set the price of the goods they buy, and any who wish to survive must sell at the prices the conglomerates set. Huge conglomerates can set the wage rates, and any who wish to work must accept those wage rates. After all, there are people waiting outside the doors more than willing to accept those wage rates. Huge conglomerates can afford to sell at a loss to run small business completion out of business, then raise the price of their goods to make profits.
The long-range goal is far more important than the short-range goal, as it should be. But that short-range loss can consume small businesses that don’t have the financial wherewithal to survive to consider long-range. In a great many rural areas, the loss of the small businesses is acutely felt. Business owners lose lots of income and net-worth. Employers vanish. Overall pay-scales tumble. But the conglomerates don’t feel any of the suffering they cause.
And the beat goes on. Millions of people suffer from the loss of income, the loss of advancement opportunities from management experience, the loss of consumer choice, the loss of competition while the conglomerates continue to expand untouched by the pain caused. This is the inherent problem with all power structures with an omnipotent central power.
Another major concern is suddenly obvious in today’s news. There is a time when huge conglomerates can suddenly become “too big to fail.” When that time comes, and those conglomerates do prove to be insolvent, government has to step in and pump in billions of taxpayer dollars to prop them up. When the government gives 100 billion dollars to one of these “too big to fail” entities, that costs every taxpayer 800 dollars (guesstimate).
When smaller businesses fail, a limited number of people will have to pay for the failure, and a small segment of others will feel the failure. But the rest of the people move on without suffering. It is this reason why conglomerates should be prevented from being too large. No business should ever become “too large to fail.”
While many businesses which are “too large to fail” have failed, there are yet others which have not yet failed. These others, and yes, Wal-Mart is one of them, need broken up like Ma Bell for the betterment of all concerned.
Sidebar: The financial market failure had a catalyst outside the financial market. That catalyst was the laws and regulations set forth by the over-large central government as controlled by socialist Democrats in collusion with corrupt politicians. Among them are Frank, Schumer, Dodd, Pelosi, Kennedy,Byrd.
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