The Koch Brothers are out front in actively supporting Right-wing—meaning pro-liberty, limited government—causes. Among the causes they support is the pro-free market Americans for Prosperity.
Needless to say, the Koch Brothers are among the Left’s favorite whipping boys. So, it was nice to see them defended in a New Jersey Star-Ledger op-ed recently. Frayda Levin, an Americans for Prosperity board member, wrote I'm A Proud Koch Brothers Insider on 10/2/14.
Government regulation of business is a major theme in this piece. This segment really caught my attention:
As a small business owner, I regularly dealt with the IRS, the New Jersey Department of Treasury, the New Jersey Department of Labor, the federal Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and environmental agencies at the local, state, and federal levels, to name but a few.
The list of laws that applied to me and forms that I filled out on a daily, weekly, and annual basis is even longer. Each agency requires reams of paperwork; each law they implement or regulation they pass contains hundreds of pages of complex legal language.
No small business owner could ever hope to understand this convoluted and overlapping system. Yet if I was not in compliance with any of the thousands of pages of laws, reporting, and filing requirements, I could be sued, fined, or even jailed.
I left these comments:
“No small business owner could ever hope to understand this convoluted and overlapping system. Yet if I was not in compliance with any of the thousands of pages of laws, reporting, and filing requirements, I could be sued, fined, or even jailed.”
One of the primary fundamental motives behind the regulatory state is power-lust. Fear generated by non-objective, confusing regulatory law, in which no businessman can ever really know when they are breaking the law, is an effective lever of government control over businessmen. As a government official admitted in Atlas Shrugged, “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”
The other basic premise driving ever-expanding regulation is: Punish the innocent many for the wrongdoing of the few. Let a handful of scoundrels come to light, and the politicians cry for “more regulations”; followed by the entire industry or business community being burdened with another layer of regulation. After the handful of Enron accounting scandals, thousands of innocent businesses who didn't cook their books got hit with Sarbanes-Oxley. As I’ve noted, if someone seriously proposed putting all Italian-Americans under government probation [treating them like paroled convicts] because a few became Mafia gangsters, everyone would see the absurdity and injustice of the idea. Yet, that is precisely the widely accepted premise—instead directed at businessmen—that underpins government regulation. The presumption of guilt that American businessmen labor under—and the resultant labyrinth of regulations—is just another virulent form of bigotry.
This, in a nutshell, is the regulatory state.
It is said that government regulation is needed to protect consumers. Yet, no matter how many regulations are imposed, charlatans continue to operate. Regulations didn’t stop Enron or Bernie Madoff. If government stopped wasting resources making life miserable for the innocent—protecting rather than violating their rights—and concentrated instead on pursuing the guilty, consumers, our economy in general, and our lives would be much better off.
The Koch Brothers are fighting the good fight—for themselves, sure, but also for the rest of us who love liberty.
I'm Fighting to Restore a Free Society—Charles Koch
Where Does Valid Law End and Regulation Begin?