Dogs Bark

by Don Boudreaux on May 21, 2007

in Politics

Here’s a letter of mine that appears in today’s edition of USA Today:

USA TODAY reader Otis Howard complains that “senators who got millions of dollars in contributions from the pharmaceutical companies over the years should be ashamed of themselves” (“Drug bill sham,” Letters, Wednesday).

Alas, blaming politicians for taking campaign contributions from parties affected by legislation is akin to blaming polar bears for eating seals. It’s in the nature of both beasts to behave in these ways.

Truly shameful people are those who condone open-ended regulation by government. Officials possessing the power to destroy billions of dollars of wealth with the strokes of their pens will inevitably be feted, seduced, bribed and otherwise lobbied by those whose wealth is at stake. Persons who expect otherwise should be ashamed of themselves.

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andy May 21, 2007 at 9:23 am

Accurate and simply right.

If government, not consumers, pick winners and losers it is logical that business shall focus its attention on govt. instead of consumers.

How can this simple fact surprise anyone?

madlibs May 21, 2007 at 10:50 am

I was just making this argument over the weekend. The simplest way to keep money out of politics is not "campaign finance reform", it's reducing the power of government.

Al Abbott May 21, 2007 at 10:54 am

Indeed! The entire issue of lobbying would likely evaporate if our politicians were unable to "sell" government force in the first place. This is essentially what happens when government interfers in the economy by regulation and the making of various "official" choices (generally with the collusion of businesses and industries) thus precluding market outcomes.

Jon May 21, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Though I agree with the other three posters, I would like to remind everyone here that The market never truly leads to an "outcome" as we'll never really reach equilibrium (isn't that a tenet of the Austrian school the market as a process, not an end?)

It seems silly, yet we consistantly see that the perceived sollution to Gov't screw-ups seems to be increased Gov't power (I believe it was Higgs work on the ratchet effect of gov't that helped to show this)

True_liberal May 21, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Shame, Don.

Shame for pointing the finger right where it belongs. We truly shameful people will never be able to forgive you.

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