"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Conservatives and Corporations

One of the big myths of the left is the idea that conservatives love big corporations.  This myth gets perpetuated because leftists have a severe problem with language. So much so, that the subject could be a very large post all on it's own.  But I'm going to proceed from here on the assumption that most people following this blog so far actually can understand that words have fairly fixed meanings and that there reasons why we have different words for different concepts.

If you are new to this blog, you need to be aware that I have provided a glossary in the right sidebar for your convenience.  This is necessary because leftists and many people who have been indoctrinated in government "schools" may have some bizarre ideas about what some words mean.  I'm not going to leave that to chance on this blog.  Bearing that in mind; on with the post.

True conservatives don't like big corporations for the very same reasons that we don't like big government.  They tend to grow impersonal and inflexible.  They tend to be less responsive to individual needs and desires.  Daphne over at Jaded Haven had a post not long ago about swearing off going to the "big-box" stores and sticking to the smaller stores.  I had been on that bandwagon for a while already, though admittedly there were some things I had to get at such places that I couldn't otherwise buy, but for the most part, if I can patronize my local small proprietor, that's what I do.

In all of the talk about the economy and how bad it is, the left, and of course that includes the mainstream media talk about how capitalism has failed.  Now they use the word capitalism hoping all the mindless drones will associate it with a free market economy.  That is an easy assumption to make since people who would vote for democrats and even many who vote for republicans don't really understand any of those terms or how basic economics works on practically any level.  If you believe that Paul Krugman understands economics because he was given a Nobel prize for economics then you probably believe that a Nobel peace prize should have been awarded to a "Palestinian" terrorist from Egypt.

For those of us who actually do understand basic economics and the terms used, we would like to know  how a system could fail when it hasn't been used in at least 40 years, and in many areas, far longer? Let me put it another way.  Pretend that the economy is a Boeing 747.  Free-market capitalism demands that we obey the laws of aerodynamics. You have to maintain the aircraft to minimum standards and you can't just load it any way you want to, and you can't make it do things outside of its flight envelope.  But the government steps in and says you have to load it with 20,000 pounds more than its recommended gross weight and you have to use 10,000 pounds less fuel than what's needed to get from L.A. to Honolulu, now just go make it work.  We are the government.  We want it to work that way.  It should work that way. We have the authority and we are going to see to it that you do it that way.  Then when the plane crashes, the government says that the aerodynamics just don't work anymore.  The people flying the plane just didn't know what they were doing.  Forget aircraft from now on.  We will build a bridge to Hawaii. This will put more people to work.

I don't think anybody reading this blog can name a single industry that produces anything that isn't subject to all kinds of ridiculous and unnecessary regulation.  Go ahead and try to think of one.  Even a small one.  The interference of government at all levels makes it extremely hard for even the smallest of business to get started or squeeze out a modest profit, and that's before they are faced with any competition.  Then when small businesses are up against big corporations who have the advantages of large-scale buying power, specialization and division of labor to control costs and the ability to lobby legislation in their favor; it takes Herculean effort to just survive in such an environment.

I ran across the following quote by someone who is on the leftist side of economics who actually has a functioning brain.  The following is only the first of three paragraphs quoted at Samizdata.net as the quote of the day for January 11, 2011

I know, my friends, that you are concerned about corporate power. So am I. So are many of my free-market economist colleagues. We simply believe, and we think history is on our side, that the best check against corporate power is the competitve marketplace and the power of the consumer dollar (framed, of course, by legal prohibitions on force and fraud). Competition plays mean, nasty corporations off against each other in a contest to serve us. Yes, they still have power, but its negative effects are lessened. It is when corporations can use the state to rig the rules in their favor that the negative effects of their power become magnified, precisely because it has the force of the state behind it. The current mess shows this as well as anything ever has, once you realize just what a large role the state played. If you really want to reduce the power of corporations, don't give them access to the state by expanding the state's regulatory powers. That's precisely what they want, as the current battle over the $700 billion booty amply demonstrates.

I wrote before about eliminating many agencies of the Federal government because they not only produce nothing of value and instead are just giant incinerators burning up the blood, sweat and tears of the productive American workforce, but they actually do harm in the very areas they pretend to be proponents of.  The agencies that regulate do this in three ways.  First, there is the income tax. Governments that are limited to just the things that governments ought to be concerned with don't need to tax people's income. We did fine without one prior to 1913.  Secondly, the increased cost of regulation on everything from bookkeeping to safety, takes away from the potential profits that in turn could increase the pay of an employee.  And if it isn't hurting the pay of the employee, then it is artificially raising the cost of the goods or services to the consumer.

Now, if you are a really big corporation or one among only a few, it would be a lot easier for you to do business and protect your profit margin by squeezing out all the smaller competition and creating an environment where nearly all the demand is driven to you.  Such an arrangement may not perfectly fit the definition of a monopoly, but it's close enough.  Then when the government does find an excuse to take it over, now we've descended to socialism.

In my small remodeling and repair business, I would have loved to have hired some young kid on even a part-time basis to just be a gopher and clean up person who could learn a little at a time and start developing some valuable skills.  But it wasn't worth it to me to have to pay even minimum wage for such unskilled work, and especially when there was too much of a possibility that a lot of my invested time in teaching could just end up going down a hole because I didn't know how many kids I might go through before I found one who understood the concept of apprenticeship.

There were times when I wanted to learn a new specialized skill and was even willing to apprentice myself to somebody's business for minimum wage and no benefits just so I could get the training, but was turned down because of regulation and insurance requirements.  What should have been a simple contract agreement between me and another businessman was thwarted by government interference.

True conservatives don't like huge corporations because they also tend to be breeding grounds for unions.  Unions are inherently anti-individual.  Most union members love the idea of being able to hide their own mediocrity in the collective.  Why work harder to get ahead when you can rely on the union leadership to intimidate management?  Unions thrive on fostering and maintaining an adversarial relationship between management and workers.  Who suffers from such a condition?  The customers.  You can see it in the differences between airlines and grocery stores.  I think hell would have to freeze over for me to have a reason to get on a commercial flight due to the TSA and that joke known as Homeland Security, but if I had to fly I would want to go on Southwest, not United or Delta.  I love shopping at Publix, but I can't stand Kroger.  That's based not on the comparison of two stores, but more than 30 stores across two States.  It always comes down to the attitudes of the employees that I encountered in those stores.  The better the company, the better the management, the better they treat and compensate their employees, the less likely they are to go union.

Conservatives like freedom.  Freedom means there's going to be competition.  Freedom of choice means that quality gets rewarded and poor products and services die a natural death. Big government regulation and subsidy both interfere with that process.

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