Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Corporatism: GE, ObamaCare, and Ethanol

Arkes' reminder.

...Let’s go back then to the days of the New Deal, when “corporatism” was thought to be the new idea, more attuned to the modern age. Instead of a society riven by clashes of interest, with businessmen pitted against workers, everyone would be brought together in common councils.

...One story of the time might reveal the nature of the beast: In 1934, Jacob Maged, forty-nine, a tailor in Jersey City, was fined $100 (in 1934 money, remember) and sentenced to three months in prison. His wife and four daughters would have to take over the running of the shop in his absence. And what had he done? Knowingly, deliberately, he had pressed a suit for one of his customers for only 35 cents instead of the 40 cents mandated under the National Recovery Act. And Abraham Traube, president of the Cleaners and Dyers Board, cheered the verdict. He said that it was about time the law was enforced, and “if we did the same in New York City we would soon get the whole industry in line.”


...it is ever a temptation on the part of many people to become “rent-seekers,” to have the law require the use of their goods or services. They may press to require insurance policies to cover in vitro fertilization, compel the use of Ethanol in gasoline, impose tariffs on sugar from abroad. The temptation to create new councils, vested with authority, also lingers: we have the plan now to create a commission to determine what kinds of medical care may be supported or barred under a program of medical care run by the government. Justice Scalia once aptly warned that the Constitution gives the Congress the power to make laws – not [auxiliary] legislators.

Arkes also mentions Exelon and PG&E--he could have mentioned GE as well.

Ironic that the most active practitioners of "corporatism" are Democrat politicians, no?

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