Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Anti-Corporate Agenda

Coffee Party member OBRag called me out in the comments of my last post on that subject, asking where I got my anti-left wing sensibilities from (he said we were all in it together as paycheck slaves) and was seeking cooperation on an anti-corporate agenda. I have edited my response from the comments:

Thanks for commenting. You pose an interesting philosophical question as to where I get my anti-left wing sensibilities from, I may try a blog on that some day. With respect to corporations, they are neither inherently good nor evil, but opportunistic. The free market is the most effective disciplining force that keeps their behavior under control, even turning corporate behavior to a net positive. I think that many corporations today have become incredible forces for good in the world. American corporations help feed the world, and American corporations brought the PC and the internet to the world for two examples.

The most egregious corporate abuses occur when they team up with big government, see Kelo vs New London and its aftermath. In general, if someone is a wage slave, then they need to get new skills and find new work that will make them happy or go into business for themselves. We are not at the mercy of corporations in our employment any more than we are as consumers. With respect to the banks, they are subsidized under too big to fail, when many should have just gone bankrupt. There is deposit insurance to protect the little guy. It is the government intervention that encourages the risk taking that led to the financial collapse. The answer is to punish the stockholders with bankruptcy and the corporate executives with loss of their jobs.
As I have said before, if we want an anti-corporate agenda, then let's end the subsidies, bail outs and tax breaks that go to corporations. But that would mean vast simplification of the tax code not seen since Reagan and Rostenkowski worked out a deal. In general, it means we have to renounce government interference in the economy to achieve a true anti-corporate agenda. But politicians of both parties can't resist the temptation. This is where the Tea party comes in, we educate the public on the negative impact and demand a smaller more accountable government. I'm not talking laissez-faire but just minimally intrusive policies.

For example, on health care, wouldn't it have been good enough to just subsidize the lower income brackets to purchase health care and guarantee portability so that pre-existing conditions can be covered? No the left wanted vastly more government intervention than that; now we have goodies provided for all sorts of industry groups with a huge new bureaucracy to decide winners and losers in the industry, that will only cause more corporate cash to flow into elections. In my view, the left wing agenda just fed the very beast it purports to be trying to slay. Peter Senge talks about this in a different way in The Fifth Discipline, we create the very reality that causes the problem we are trying to deal with, because we fail to apply systems thinking to the problem. Big government turns out to be the cause of big business abuse not the cure.

The only sensible response is to have policies that encourage, not limit, competition, to temper corporate ills. It turns out that increased government spending and regulation both have the effect of shielding corporations from competition by erecting barriers to entry. Once again a minimalist approach to regulation, and a dedication to smaller government are necessary to achieve the outcomes the left says they desire. The alternative is full state ownership of the means of production, aka communism. I guess that also answers why I have anti-left sensibilities, it's about the freedom.


  1. Dude, you are not a wage slave. You are a free man, free to make of your life what you will. People who seriously refer to themselves as wage slaves are living in 19th century Europe where upward mobility is impossible.

  2. See also Goldman Sachs - U.S. Treasury Dept.

  3. Of course it would, but when was the last time you saw someone elected on such a platform? Either you are for radical reform, or you are against any reform. Pick your team.

    The blue team loves big government,
    The red team loves big business.

    Who loves the little guy?

    >For example, on health care, wouldn't it have been good enough to just subsidize the lower income brackets to purchase health care and guarantee portability so that pre-existing conditions can be covered?