Monday, December 8, 2014

The Koch Brothers and the Nature of Government Regulation

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.

Related Reading:

Where Does Valid Law End and Regulation Begin?

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

I read the recent article in Rolling Stone about what a couple of jerks the Koch Bros. are. I don't know if there's any basis to the RS case against them, maybe a little, but a I ain't gonna research it all out fer myself. Them guys maybe could be tweaked some, but at their age, they ain't gonna ever be Objectivists.

If I was a small businessman like the one you cite, here, I'd probably tell the gvt. to just take my business and run it themselves, just give me basic subsistence and I'll do what they say, because if I go and do elsewise wherever, you'll just harass me there, too.

The motive of the regulatory state is maintenance & expansion of criminal power, once gaining the beachhead of acceptance of the right people of crime as legitimate, in the eyes of the right people, then expanding to the rest of the populace, not just businessmen, but everybody.

It's done by perverting substantive due process, then discarding it as the criminals have done publicly, and publicly enshrining procedural due process to which nothing is equal, to push the perverted substantive due process. As long as nobody raises the issue of substantive due process(individual rights), 'all is well'. All this requires the perversion of morals, rights, law, gvt. politics and politicians.

Stash this to the dust bin of history and your other 'basic' premise will just vaporize.

'Gvt.' regulations encourage the Enrons and the Madoffs. I'd even say the actions of the N.Y. legislators, in the 19th. cen., encouraged, even demanded, the actions, if not the likes, both legitimate, of Cornelius Vanderbilt in his effort to save his railroad business.