26th February 2012
The US is often talked about as a major supporter of the “free market,” but as we’ve seen over and over again what we have is really crony capitalism, with lots of efforts being made to protect certain industries through regulation. This hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Economist has an article more or less mocking the US for pretending to be all about small government free markets, while really being buried in pointless, confusing and unnecessary regulations:
But red tape in America is no laughing matter. The problem is not the rules that are self-evidently absurd. It is the ones that sound reasonable on their own but impose a huge burden collectively. America is meant to be the home of laissez-faire. Unlike Europeans, whose lives have long been circumscribed by meddling governments and diktats from Brussels, Americans are supposed to be free to choose, for better or for worse. Yet for some time America has been straying from this ideal.
My, what a surprise. Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.
To legislators, creating legislation is the only hammer in their toolbox, so they see every issue as a nail, even when that’s rarely the case. And that hubris of being able to create perfect legislation to account for every eventuality is the opening for the lobbyists. Politicians who want to think through every possibility ask the lobbyists to help — and the lobbyists then have every opportunity to tilt the playing field to their clients, and against the public interest. And that’s exactly what happens all too often.
I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked.