dilemmanade
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
  Deregulation and Privatization

  Politicians are fond of saying that the government should not be picking winners and losers. Paul Ryan said it just the other day.

  It is a lie that needs to be put to bed once and for all. The truth is that picking winners and losers is exactly and the only thing government does.

  Politicians choose between legislation and tax codes that favor fossil fuels or renewables. They choose between national health care and insurance companies. They choose between guns and butter. And so on. Every bit of it picks winners and losers.

  Politicians are elected to look after the public good. And this is the point: More and more politicians have shunted the public good aside altogether. They use the hideous hand waving justification that giving more and more deference to the profit motive and the already rich (private good), will magically result in rainbows and ponies for the rest of us (public good): the Myth of the Magical Marketplace.

  The MMM argument boils down to this: uninhibited selfishness leads to the greatest good. The theory is absurd on its face, and no amount of hand waving or magical thinking will make it less vile or more true.

  You don't have to believe in MMM to like free enterprise. Freedom is good, and free people will be enterprising. But we don't need to tilt the board toward the already rich and powerful in order to have free enterprise.

  Deregulation and freer private markets doesn't mean the best product or service wins, as the MMMers would have you believe. It means, instead, that the already powerful can use their size and wealth to crush competitors, and raise prices, and eventually degrade products and services. A free market without regulation is a free-for-all market. The winner is the biggest, strongest, the most brutal or unscrupulous. That's how free-for-alls play out. And that kind of winner does not play nice once they're on top.

  Politicians who want to deregulate and privatize ultimately want to do so because they get contributions or await sinecures from corporations that will benefit from deregulation and privatization. They are choosing private good over public good in order to benefit themselves. They are corrupt.

  Donald Trump is pursuing Trump private good right out in the open. He's not pretending to not pick winners and losers. Sure, it's corrupt. But it's petty.

 
When life gives you dilemmas, make dilemmanade.

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