Lordy

Lordy, I hope... well, a lot of things...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Important Reading

I'll finally get this blog on topic (probably) after Election Day (or after whatever chaos comes after). In the meantime, here's some good stuff from Phillip Longman.

The piece is ostensibly about the topic its title suggests, "How to Make Conservatism Great Again" (#HMCGA?), and frankly, I don't see the conservative movement following his prescriptions along those lines. But as you read further, it discusses the history of the conservative and libertarian movements vis-à-vis antitrust policy. It's not something we hear about a lot in everyday discussion, but Washington Monthly has hit upon it a few times now.

Here’s a prime example of the movement’s forgotten legacy. It is true, just as Levin and the standard story line claim, that in the early years of the New Deal the federal government implemented policies that directly and purposefully limited market competition. The particular vehicle was the notorious National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA). Under this early New Deal legislation, the government suspended all anti-monopoly enforcement against companies that promised to adopt minimum wages, establish minimum prices, and work closely with competitors and “code authorities” in government-sponsored cartels. The central idea was a carry-over from the Hoover administration, which had encouraged the growth of colluding business associations under the theory that this would lead to less ruinous competition and therefore to fewer bankruptcies and job losses.

But the standard line leaves out what happened next. In 1935, the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of NIRA as unconstitutional. And with that decision, the New Deal completely changed course. Rather than trying to suppress market competition, public policy shifted aggressively and successfully for the next four decades to making markets more open and competitive.

It is hard to exaggerate the scale on which the federal government, from the late 1930s through the end of the ’70s, used antitrust and other measures to bust up cartels and monopolies and to foster competition in concentrated markets. Declaring that the average citizen “must have equal opportunity in the market place,” Franklin Roosevelt began the process by ramping up the staff of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, from just eighteen in 1933 to nearly 500 by 1943.

Read on....

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Assholes

I think the only correct response to someone saying he or she (and it's usually a he) is politically incorrect is: "You're an asshole."