Big Business and big government cronyism is bad for taxpayers and consumers: Let the free market work

capitalism

There’s a common misconception that people in favor of free markets love corporations. That isn’t the case.

There’s nothing wrong with a business being highly successful and expanding operations. The question becomes what happens when their operations end up getting involved in government and when government tries to influence business.

This is an issue a lot of groups have struggled against. Both the original Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street protests were against the government-big business bailout of 2008/2009. The solutions were much different. The Tea Party wanted the government and businesses to be separated and not mix with each other. Occupy (outside of it’s not-top hits) wanted businesses taxed to eternity and capitalism destroyed.

The problem with Occupy’s solution is it expands the role government has in people’s lives. The idea of using higher taxes against businesses and “the rich” doesn’t work (just look at France). Burger King is also an example because of their plan to leave the U.S. if they merge with Tim Hortons. Paying taxes isn’t patriotic, despite what President Barack Obama thinks.

It isn’t just higher taxes which is causing the problem. The other issue is how much money corporations get from governments. What the Ex-Im Bank does for corporations is well known to United Liberty readers, but people forget the part state and local governments play. New York is promising businesses won’t be taxed for ten years. Toyota was given $40-million by Texas to relocate, along with about $7-million from Plano.

This isn’t free markets. It’s cronyism.  It’s the government propping up companies in hopes of making things easier. This needs to be completely stomped out.

At the same time, corporations need to be doing more than just looking at the bottom line. Making shoddy products which people flock to isn’t right. In Atlas Shrugged Dagny Taggart’s rail company wanted to make the best product available to serve their customers.

There’s the legend of Steve Jobs telling the iPhone development team to create a phone they would use, not just one that’s got the Apple name on it. This is how companies should succeed. Image Comics and Dark Horse Comics have been very successful because of their willingness to let authors and artists be creative and come up with their own stories, instead of cookie cutter tales.

Frank Miller has probably one of the best quotes regarding shoddy products, especially with Hollywood:

Product. From Denny’s to McDonalds to Texaco to Exxon, the mass market makes one preeminent demand of its product and that demand is that it be consistent. You wanna know what you’re gonna get. No challenges, no surprises, a cheeseburger in Boise must taste and look exactly like a cheeseburger in Seattle. Everything has gotta be easy to swallow. Everything has gotta be the same every time, no challenges, no surprises…Endure the happy talk, but be aware that it’s friendship when they want free work out of you and it’s just business when they turn around and fire your sorry butt. Expect to be fired, it is an axiom in Hollywood…It’s the money, honey.

This problem shouldn’t be solved by a law. It should be solved by people being patient, researching and not going after the next tiny bauble of “oh, new stuff” which shows up every six months. Make companies earn their money by putting out good products. If they keep making bad devices, then shop elsewhere. Let them succeed or fail on their own merits. It’s what should have happened to the auto companies but didn’t.

Corporations are also notorious for stifling the little guy. At times it really seems like big businesses don’t care at all about competition unless it’s between another big business. A great example is the current fight over Lyft and Uber. Both ride-sharing companies are getting massive push back from taxi companies because of how popular they are.

Dallas almost passed a law which would have completely killed the two companies, while Virginia temporarily banned both businesses for almost a month. These bans and new regulations are being done at the behest of “Big Cabbie” and are cronyism at its worse. It’s been fantastic to see how people on both sides of the aisle, along with relatively apolitical celebrities, are teaming up to keep Uber and Lyft alive. That’s the free market at work.

The only way to get the U.S. back to being an actual free market country, is to support businesses which aren’t looking for a handout and electing local, state and national leaders who are against cronyism and actually mean it (looking at you Andrew Cuomo). It may take a while to correct the cronyism era of the U.S., but it’s worth doing. It’s a long fight, but if it isn’t done things are going to get worse. Much worse.


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