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Rein in that Bias

Here’s a letter that I sent yesterday to the New York Times:

The opening paragraph of your report on the Justice Department’s efforts to intensify antitrust regulation reveals – dare I say it? – the sort of left-liberal bias that you are often accused of displaying. To wit – “President Obama’s top antitrust official and some senior Democratic lawmakers are preparing to rein in a host of major industries, including airline and railroad giants” (“Antitrust Chief Hits Resistance in Crackdown,” July 26).

By writing “rein in a host of major industries,” you simply presume that the industries in question are in fact stampeding over innocent Americans – that these industries genuinely need ‘reining in’ – and that antitrust regulation supplies an effective rein. These presumptions, though, blithely brush aside some major contentions of advocates of free markets, such as that competition in reality is far more robust and multi-faceted than it is in textbooks, and that antitrust has too often been used to stymie rather than to promote competition. What to many people on the left looks like out-of-control anti-competitive behavior is plausibly seen by others persons to be, in fact, the competitive actions of businesses ever-aware that any market advantage, no matter how great, is inevitably fleeting. And what to many people on the left looks like socially beneficial government regulation is plausibly seen by other persons to be, in fact, devious devices to benefit the few at the expense of the many.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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