Cronyism in Montgomery County

by Russ Roberts on November 13, 2011

in Crony Capitalism

From an unsigned editorial in the Washington Post:

A BILL BEFORE THE Montgomery County Council would force big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target to negotiate with neighborhood groups as a condition for getting their new stores approved. This is such a spectacularly bad idea, on so many levels, that it’s hard to imagine how it came to be taken seriously in the first place.

Introduced by Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) at the behest of a unionthat represents workers at competing stores (including Safeway and Giant), the legislation is aimed mainly at Wal-Mart, which wants to build two stores in the county. Four other members of the nine-member County Council signed on as co-sponsors, which suggests that the bill stands a good chance of enactment — although lately some of the lawmakers have developed cold feet.

Leave aside that the stores proposed by Wal-Mart would create hundreds of jobs; that they’d be crammed from Day One with thousands of bargain-happy shoppers; and that any broad measure of public opinion would doubtless favor more Wal-Marts in Montgomery — there’s currently just one. Wal-Mart didn’t become the world’s most successful retailer by being unpopular.

More to the point, the legislation would establish a system so starkly arbitrary, unfair and distorted that it would be an embarrassment to any jurisdiction in the United States that tried to implement it. It’s no accident that none has.

The bill would require a big-box retailer to enter into a “community benefits agreement” with three neighborhood groups — no more, no fewer. The retailer would have to reach an agreement satisfying the groups’ demands — More playgrounds? Better roads? A $500,000 check? — or to show that it had made a good-faith effort to do so. If it failed to meet those tests, the county would deny approval for the new store.

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Jon Murphy November 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I feel like you or Russ did a post on this a while ago? Or am I thinking of something else?

Jon Murphy November 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

*you or Don.

Sorry…that’s like the 5th time I’ve done that

Methinks1776 November 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm

All or these retailers are already in a community benefits agreement in every community in which they do business. They provides a plethora of products at extremely good prices. And, unlike the busybodies and union shills in government, they do it all this without a hint of coercion.

brotio November 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Yeah, butt WallMart haz all uv that Chineeze junk! K Mart and Targut hav nuthing butt Amerrican proddukts, and they onlee imploy Union laber!

Yasafi Muirduck, MD

Methinks1776 November 13, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I have recently come across this youtube interview with our very own Muirdiot at an OWS shit-in.

PrometheeFeu November 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I wish jounalists would just stop interviews when the interviewed person becomes incoherent. It hurts my brain to try to parse the non-existent sentences.

Methinks1776 November 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm

You would like journalists to act as censors?

PrometheeFeu November 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Censors? I don’t think it’s censorship when a private individual does not publish something because they feel it fails a basic standard of intelligibility. Also, I said jounalist, not journalist! ;)

Methinks1776 November 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Yes, but, Prometheefeu, if journalists (or jounalists) followed such rigorous standards, they’d have to stop covering congress, all politicians and occupy this n’ that altogether.

My sister-in-law occasionally asks why Americans allow so many socialist policies to be foisted upon them. These videos of American voters come in really handy when searching for an explanation!

PrometheeFeu November 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Maybe if we all stop paying attention to congress, they will just go away… I’m an optimist some days.

Methinks1776 November 13, 2011 at 9:15 pm

hmmm…that’s kind of like ignoring a fast growing, invasive cancerous tumour. I propose we nuke it with chemo until it shrinks to a more manageable size. And then we can ignore it. for a bit.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm

You would like journalists to act as censors?

Censors are external (government) reviewers who can remove a story or redact its contents.

Editors-internal are supposed to ensure that the journalist has a significant, relevant and accurate story.

brotio November 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm


El Diablo November 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Yep. That’s him! He is the one who is rambling incoherently.

El Diablo November 13, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Oh, wait a minute, they are all rambling incoherently. My mistake.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 15, 2011 at 7:25 am


don’t think so.

Methinks, your biggest problem, like those of the other fascists here, is you think people can be exploited forever, even though history shows us otherwise.

If the CEO of Wal-Mart were honest, he would admit that every night he goes to bed and thanks the heavens that no twitter event happened in the stores that day, for he or she knows that someday it will.

When Twitter can bring down governments it can unionize Wal-Marts, in an instant.

When, one cannot say, but the trends are all against the rich and powerful. 35/40% of the public already agree with OWS, which is just the first wave.

Elect Mitt, Let Them Eat Cake and Live on their Yachts (not in their foreclosed homes) Romney and the numbers will keep rising.

Warren Buffett has wisely stated that the most powerful force may be jealously, and that he always underestimates its power.

So does this board

tdp November 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Fascists are the complete opposite of libertarians. Why don’t you go look up what Fascism is and what is means before you start using the word “fascist” as an insult. On the other hand, you have provided us all a service by flagging yourself as an ignorant twit with your egregious misuse of the term “Fascist”, common among far-left imbeciles who are blissfully unaware that Fascism is just statist-socialism combined with Jingoism and Racialist pseudo-science.

vikingvista November 13, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I just watched “Atlas Shrugged” last night. It was like watching a documentary. The more worthless the human being, the more likely they wind up as government-allied extortion artists. Truly there should be an underclass of beggars and street dwellers, and that is exactly where most politicians belong. It is social injustice that their larcenous insatiable greed is so richly rewarded.

Invisible Backhand November 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm

You should have made it a double feature with ‘An American Carol’.

Invisible Backhand November 13, 2011 at 8:38 pm

VV, my apologies for my evil Marxist other personality, Irritable Bowel. Mom is bringing our meds. It should not be long, though she is pretty slow on the stairs down to the basement.

With Warmest Personal Regards,

Invisible Backhand

Krishnan November 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

If you have not read it, please do so. The movie, while terrific and well done is really a poor substitute for the book. If you do not want to read the entire book, you can begin by reading Francisco D’Anconia’s speech about “money”

John Galt’s Speech ofcourse summarizes it all.

vikingvista November 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm

I devoured it long ago, along with everything else Miss Rand published.

Krishnan November 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Ah yes, “devoured” sounds familiar … An experience I will never forget – someone handed me the book – I started it on a Saturday morning and finished it the next day – all 1000+ pages

vikingvista November 14, 2011 at 12:10 am

Exactly. It was the shortest 1000 page book I ever read. Would’ve been even shorter if I wasn’t annotating almost every other page.

muirgeo November 14, 2011 at 9:34 am

‘Atlas Shrugged’ DVDs Corrected To Read ‘Self-Interest’ Instead Of ‘Self-Sacrifice’


Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 15, 2011 at 7:26 am

what about the “larcenous insatiable greed’ of the super rich?

John Muir November 15, 2011 at 7:53 am

Yes. What about George Soros , Bill Gates, and Watten Buffett?

tdp November 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm

George Soros, the one who lobbies for more regulations that protect established tycoons like him, and who shifts all his money into tax shelters while advocating policies that destroy the middle class? The one who complains about people who have far less money than he does having too much money? The one who is so rich he will never have to worry about money for the rest of his life and could use it as toilet paper who, despite being socialist, refuses to give it all away and live like a pauper, like any non-hypocritical person would do? (Note these also all apply to Warren Buffet).

For all the shit the Koch Brothers take, they actually support policies that are not in their personal economic interests, since they increase their competition and make it harder for them to earn more money.

khodge November 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Any such agreement, signed with a foreign government, would land the CEO in jail.

Greg Webb November 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Yes, the proposed bill would help the political cronies who own the stores that would finally have to compete in providing quality goods and services at more reasonable prices if big-box retailers are allowed to open a sore in that county. The political cronies will reward the corrupt politicians with campaign contributions if the bill becomes law. Now, that is called crony capitalism, which I believe that our resident leftist trolls say that they are against but will undoubtedly support.

Chucklehead November 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm

This is nothing more than a government sponsored protection racket. The proper response would be to build the stores just outside the boarders in Fredrick, Howard, and Prince Georges counties, as well as Virginia. Otherwise, customers will suffer from higher costs to fund this shake down.
The government obviously views it’ citizens as it’s property. You want to play with my kids, you gots to pay me first.

Kevin L November 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Couldn’t people rustle up some citizen groups that would be for Walmart? Like low-income moms who want cheap diapers and baby food? Or people who would willingly take $10/hour to stand at a door and say hello to shoppers? Or the uninsured who want access to cheap pharmaceuticals and in-store clinics? I hope it backfires and there are three pro-Walmart groups for every anti-Walmart group.

Maybe the MC commissioners were spending too much time with their DC neighbors:

Darren November 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I hope it backfires and there are three pro-Walmart groups for every anti-Walmart group.

But that would be ‘astroturf’. The only legitimate grass roots demonstrations are *opposed* to lower prices.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 15, 2011 at 7:29 am


people shop at Wal-Marts, holding their noses

everyone knows the truth about the company, which is only a twitter away, at any moment, from a meltdown

larcenous insatiable greed is its business model

If Twitter can cause gov’ts to fall, Wal-Marts days are numbered. It will only take the right set of events.

John Muir November 15, 2011 at 7:59 am

Well, the leftist looney toons are up early this morning spewing their hate for consumers and lower prices. Walmart will be here long after your gone, luzha.

Krishnan November 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I am reminded of the Steve Jobs speech before the Cupertino City Council about their plans for a new campus for Apple

Jobs was asked if Apple would provide free wifi for Cupertino and this and that – He reminded the Council that Apple is already a BIG tax payer and that many of their employees live there and pay taxes – the councilwoman backed off …

It was incredible to watch the council woman ask for “freebies” from a company that returns so much to the community

The People’s Republic of Montgomery County seems to be populated by elitists who do not want their less monetarily able neighbors from getting a better deal for themselves and their family because “WE KNOW BETTER”


Here is an idea for the loonies.

Demand that every business in Montgomery County purchase ALL items locally and nothing made in China. That each item be tagged as to how much of that item was made OUTSIDE of the county. All food MUST be grown locally.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm

I wonder why such encounters never disabused Jobs of his leftist inclinations.

Mr. Econotarian November 14, 2011 at 2:53 am

Jobs is on record as saying public teacher unions are crazy and destroying US education. So he wasn’t quite fully left-leaning.

Darren November 14, 2011 at 6:39 pm

It’s just friction between special interest groups. There is friction between those more elitist liberals who may be inclined to use government to “improve” society and those unions and corporations who mainly want free handouts. Those reeducation camps cost money.

tdp November 15, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I would like to say that not everyone in the DC area is like this. There are a fair number of conservatives and libertarians in Northern Virginia (mostly west of the Beltway), and a handful in Maryland (excluding Montgomery and PG counties).

jorod November 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm

It’s just the Chicago way… Pay your bribe and you get what you want. Everything has a price, don’t you know??

BigEd November 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm

“. . . . . . . . . new law would force big box retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target to negotiate with neighborhood groups as a condition for getting their new stores approved.”

Many jurisdictions have de facto such laws now. They are called zoning and planning regulations.

vikingvista November 14, 2011 at 4:09 am

To some degree. Zoning laws typically don’t give the favored local left-wing shakedown artists a veto on opening businesses, however. But, point well taken. Zoning is an unfortunate tradition that does often hand undue powers to the greasy-palmed creatures polluting local governments. Zoning laws are an invitation to graft and property rights violations, and should all be abolished.

kyle8 November 14, 2011 at 5:30 am

Not so, whatever the problems with zoning laws the property destruction comes when you don’t have them.

A person spends the bulk of their money on a nice home and then someone builds a tattoo parlor and package liquor store next door. There goes his property values.

Zoning laws are just a way that communities protect their investments. Like all government, even at the local level there can be abuses. But I would much rather live in a zoned residential area than in an unzoned area.

Jim November 14, 2011 at 7:33 am

How about Houston? It has no zoning laws. Put aside whether you like hot weather or not, would you not want to live there?

kyle8 November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm

that is why i live in Katy which does have some zoning laws.

Jim November 15, 2011 at 5:07 am

@kyle8: Well good for you, good thing we have choice and that there are cities that do have zoning laws that you can choose to live in as well as cities without zoning laws that you choose not to live in.

vikingvista November 14, 2011 at 11:01 am

“A person spends the bulk of their money on a nice home and then someone builds a tattoo parlor and package liquor store next door. There goes his property values.”

Of course, I’m well aware of the common myth supporting zoning laws. I grew up immersed in this statist culture as much as you did. But like so much conventional wisdom, the minute I started questioning it, it collapsed like a house of cards.

From an empirical standpoint, Jim is right.

From a theoretical standpoint, markets price and make available properties that people want. Sure, you stroll down Bourbon St. and see 5 star restaurants right next to a sleazy strip club or tatoo parlour or voodoo shop. But have you ever seen someone complain about it? Instead, people refer to it as New Orleans’s unique “charm”.

Commonly–VERY commonly–people look for neighborhoods to live in that meet certain criteria above and beyond any existing zoning laws. Developers meet that need by buying up large blocks of land, and building housing (houses/apartment buildings/condos) of a certain narrow range of market value, with property contracts restricting what can be built. Sometimes this involves HOAs, sometimes it does not. This is rather easy to do, since suburbs typically expand into farmlands where large swaths of land are owned by a single individual.

Commercial developers, and individual businesses, very commonly like to build in an area that has evolved as a kind of market, where people tend to go to look for certain kinds of things. Even without government manipulation, design districts, retail shopping areas, jewel merchants, etc, tend to congregate.

Commercial developers also tend to like avoiding trouble from neighbors. Zoning or not, a coal-fired power plant developer is more likely to look for an isolated plot of land than to build right next to an elementary school in a sleepy suburban neighborhood.

And of course, zoning laws or not, examples of problems do occur between neighboring properties (all zones have boundaries). You may not like your house being a quarter mile down wind of a pig farm. But of course, you probably got a nice discount for it when you bought the place too.

Try to remember, when judging the imagined or anecdotal benefits of empowering sleazy government thugs to run your life, that there may be adverse consequences as well.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 15, 2011 at 7:34 am


it is not a common myth, it is a business model.

in Houston it is a common practice to threaten to develop property unless adjacent landowners “pay off” to protect their investments

vikingvista November 15, 2011 at 11:50 am

“in Houston it is a common practice to threaten to develop property unless adjacent landowners “pay off” to protect their investments”

Which is another way of saying that the free market provides a voluntary means for some property owners to influence the actions of other property owners, without even having to go so far as buying the others’ properties. This is a good thing. Why do you always prefer the way of the gun?

steve November 13, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Why cant the people of the county decide what they want to do? If they want to lose the cheaper goods, shouldnt they be able to do so?


Jim November 15, 2011 at 3:30 am

Because it’s not 100% of the people who are deciding. So the people who are intolerant of places like Walmart, which are beneath them, make laws that make it so that those who prefer or can only afford places like Walmart, who already live in the county, can no longer afford the new cost of living. That’s pretty awful and inconsiderate of those people who simply can’t stand the site of a Walmart.

tdp November 15, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Especially since they are going to be more vocal and politically active than those who need Wal-Mart.

Dano November 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I read an article many years ago, I think Arnold Kling wrote it, that the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, tried to get a bill past that banned the big box stores in Montgomery County. The irony of the bill was that the law would have kept Wegman’s out of the county and Wegman’s is on the Fortune list as one of the best places to work — and people would drive past the Giant stores to shop at the Wegman’s in VA.

“Many jurisdictions have de facto such laws now. They are called zoning and planning regulations.”

Doing a search on google I see Montgomery Co. already has zoning laws — why is this additional layer of approval needed?

tdp November 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Wegman’s is also a favorite store of the wealthy urban elite who are behind these asinine schemes.

Also, if you are talking about the Wegman’s on Fairfax Corner, that is a HELL of a nice store.

Rob November 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm

While I certainly do not agree with the proposed regulation, I do have to say that the article glosses over what is put forward as the main argument against Walmart; namely that they will end up driving many other businesses out of business and, will end up causing neutral or even negative job growth. The article fails or deal with this issue and, as a result, is weaker because of it.

brotio November 14, 2011 at 12:54 am

WalMart doesn’t drive competitors out of business. Consumers do.

WalMart drives Regressive elitists like Yasafi crazy. They provide items that should be reserved for the elite, at prices that make them affordable to the masses. An HDTV for $300 means that the parents of the children he (mis)treats can afford the same luxuries that should be reserved for elites (like himself).

I’m sure he has similar issues with Southwest Airlines. They offer the masses opportunities to take the same CO2-spewing vacations that Yasafi would prefer be reserved for Leaders in the Church.

vikingvista November 14, 2011 at 4:01 am

” I do have to say that the article glosses over what is put forward as the main argument against Walmart; namely that they will end up driving many other businesses out of business and, will end up causing neutral or even negative job growth. The article fails or deal with this issue and, as a result, is weaker because of it.”

Perhaps you’re right. It’s a shame that every article must repeatedly debunk old economic fallacies. But since high schools and colleges aren’t teaching economics, I suppose unsigned editorial writers have to.

Methinks1776 November 14, 2011 at 8:26 am

will end up causing neutral or even negative job growth

Assuming that’s even true, who cares? If fewer people are employed as a result, that means they were inefficiently employed.

Other shops needn’t be driven out of business if they are willing to figure out how to compete in areas other than price. Their lack of ability or desire is not a failing of big box retailers.

Consumer Choice November 14, 2011 at 8:56 am

Producers demanding government interference are political cronies that desire to force (by limiting choice) their former masters (consumers) to buy from them lower quality good and services at higher prices. These political cronies will use disingenuously emotion-based arguments about unemployment to get special treatment by the government. But, that is nonsense because they don’t care about unemployment. All they care about is their own pocketbook.

John Dewey November 14, 2011 at 10:35 am

Rob: “namely that they will end up driving many other businesses out of business and, will end up causing neutral or even negative job growth”

Do you really believe this, Rob?

Every Walmart SuperCenter I’ve seen has driven local economic growth. Restaurants and other retail stores immediately open in the vicinity of a Walmart. That’s the seen impact of a Walmart.

The unseen impact is that lower Walmart prices for consumers leaves them with much more disposable to income to feed into other job-generating businesses. When a household spend less on food and clothing, it has more money to spend at hairstylists, ballparks, and hip-hop concerts.

Darren November 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Do you really believe this, Rob?

He didn’t say he did, at least not in the post you are replying to. His point was that “the main argument against Walmart” is unreferenced in the criticism of the bill making that criticism weaker than it would have been.

John Dewey November 15, 2011 at 4:42 am

I hoped to learn if Rob believed that argument.

It would be hard to believe that the main argument made by the bill’s promoters, the union workers at Safeway and Giant, would be that Walmart will drive out other businesses. Safeway has been using its economies of scale for decades to drive out smaller grocers all over the nation.

The argument that Walmart will drive out smaller businesses is a relic from the long-ago days when Walmart operated chiefly in small towns. Today Walmart competes not against mom-and-pop retailers but against other giant corporations. Target, Costco, Safeway, Krogers, and the rest have learned how to compete. That so-called “main argument” against Walmart is really not worth adressing, IMO.

SheetWise November 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm

“This is such a spectacularly bad idea, on so many levels, that it’s hard to imagine how it came to be taken seriously in the first place.”

“Introduced by Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring)”

Ian Random November 14, 2011 at 5:28 am

I often wonder to myself about anti-Walmarters a lot. How much more do they want to pay? What about choice? Let the people decide with their feet? I personally love big box stores as they make excellent rest stops. It is one of the reasons I avoid downtown with the bathroom is for patrons only signs that tend to scare me off.

kyle8 November 14, 2011 at 5:33 am

As Brotio above said, they are elitists. It is funny that only after they took up the anti walmart bandwagon did they become concerned about Mom and POP stores. Mom and Pop where filthy bloodsucking capitalists before.

Ubiquitous November 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

Cronyism is all over the country:

Should it be legal for lawmakers to buy stocks in companies directly affected by their legislative efforts?

In early 2008, Nancy Pelosi and her real estate developer husband, Paul, were given an opportunity to buy into a Visa IPO. It was a nearly impossible feat—one that average citizens almost certainly could never achieve. The vast majority of purchase opportunities went to institutional investors, large mutual funds, or pension funds.

Despite Pelosi’s consistent railing against credit card companies, on March 18, 2008, the Pelosis bought between $1 million and $5 million (politicians do not have to report the exact amounts, only ranges) worth of Visa stock at the IPO price of $44 per share. Two days later, the stock price rocketed to $65 per share, yielding a 50% profit. The Pelosis then bought Visa twice more. By their third purchase on June 4, 2008, Visa was worth $85 per share.

How did Nancy Pelosi snag one of the most coveted initial public offerings in history? The facts are still emerging. Yet according to Schweizer, corporations that wish to build congressional allies will sometimes hand-pick members of Congress to receive IPOs. Pelosi received her Visa IPO almost two weeks after a potentially damaging piece of legislation for Visa, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, had been introduced in the House. If passed, the bill would have cut into Visa’s profits substantially by lowering so-called “interchange fees,” the 1% to 3% charge retailers pay Visa when customers use Visa cards for purchases. Interchange fees are a critical source of revenue for the four credit card companies–$48 billion in 2008, to be exact.

tdp November 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I saw a news report on this while at a restaurant (owned by the family of a GOP candidate for VA state Senate, coincidentally) and was almost sick to my stomach when only 6 or 7 congressmen supported a bill to ban congressmen from doing what is patently illegal for anyone else. Why should congressmen get any special privileges? They are already rich enough, given their high salaries, huge benefit packages, and ability to run multi-million dollar campaigns every few years. Why should these arrogant pricks get ANYTHING else special, considering their role in screwing over American citizens and creating the crisis that has left millions of people out of work and struggling to make ends meet? This is the most glaring example of elitism and hypocrisy that I have ever seen. People can’t afford to meet basic expenses and the jackoffs who tanked the economy and cost them their jobs are getting Insider Trading privileges? (I wonder if those privileges helped them escape the effects of the stock bust they created in the housing market?)

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm

It’s disgusting. Things that we’d get thrown in jail for Congress can do on a whim.

Congress is exempt from insider trading laws. HOW THE HELL IS THAT NOT IN THE NEWS.

If they went after Martha Stewart, then they should go after Congress.

You want to know why there’s corruption in America? You want to know why the common man gets screwed? Nikolai, Mergieo, IB, all you self-righteous, Ivory Tower idiots want to know why we’re in this situation? LOOK AT THE LAWMAKERS! Who are the ones writing the laws? Who are the ones intentionally inserting loopholes? Who are the ones making the political office profitable? Haliburton can’t pass a law. The Koch Brothers can’t pass a law. The Chinese can’t pass a law. All your other scapegoats CAN’T PASS LAWS. It’s the lawmakers! It is these people who vote to give themselves raises. It’s these people who vote to make them exempt from tax laws. Its these people who have elevated themselves to a political ruling class, who look down with disdain upon all us folks who just try to earn a living and live our lives in peace. They look down from their shining city on a hill and say “that’s not good for you! I’m going to outlaw it.” Or “We don’t like that, so no one will.” Or “We don’t like the idea of someone producing stuff better than us, so we’ll just shut them off.” These people think they are better than us. They think they serve some mystical Greater Good and that allows them to be exempt from the laws of the common man and Nature. They steal from us through their taxes and mandates. They starve the world through their farm subsidies and sugar tariffs and energy policies. They condemn billions to poverty with their protectionist tariffs. All in the name of some Greater Good. America is the greatest country in the world. We have the resources to help the entire world grow and prosper, moreso than any other nation that has ever existed in the history of the world. We have the chance to eliminate global hunger, eradicate global poverty, destroy dictators and promote peace. All we have to do is eliminate the barriers that prevent us from doing this. All I am asking is to let us discover the best ways to help one another. But we will never be able to do that as long as the snake of corruption is in the Garden of Eden.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I do apologize for that, but it feels better to get it out of my system. Been holding that in for a few days now.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Jon, there is no reason to apologize. I’ve been commenting on this blog since only the spring, and it’s easy to see why an intelligent person gets annoyed with the big-government advocates on this blog. It does not matter what the facts are. They will always argue for big government. And, occasionally ask misleading questions in vain attempts to prove that they are somehow smarter than those who advocate for limited government and individual freedom.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Well said!

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 10:28 pm

You really shouldn’t encourage me like that :-P .

But thank you.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm

You are welcome!

Darren November 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm

How is “big box retailer” defined?

Sameer November 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I think it’s time to start a “neighborhood group” of my own.

tdp November 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Citizens Against Economic Illiteracy and Hypocrisy

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