If you listen to Bernie, the evil in the world is laid at the feet of “millionaires and billionaires.” When any Democrat takes aim at the rich, they single out the Koch brothers and their evil empire, Koch Industries. But what does Koch, himself, have to say about it? In some respects Charles G. Koch agrees with Bernie – and so does the Rugged Individualist.
I do not blame anyone for looking out for their own best interests. That is a perfectly normal human response. It is the foundation of capitalism. Capital transfers occur when all parties concerned think they are getting a “good deal.” (Footnote)
But the system falters when government meddles with the process. Both political parties have sought to create policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. They believe they are smart enough to control the behavior of hundreds of millions of sentient human beings (or, at least, the behavior of their major donors and voting blocks). They believe they can upend the “price-control mechanism” of capitalism with impunity. Simply stated, they cannot! Their machinations only perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty.
Charles Koch authored an Op Ed recently that restores my faith in capitalism and limited government.
Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right
By Charles G. Koch
The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.
I agree with him.
Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers… Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies.
Consider the regulations, handouts, mandates, subsidies and other forms of largesse our elected officials dole out to the wealthy and well-connected. The tax code alone contains $1.5 trillion in exemptions and special-interest carve-outs. Anti-competitive regulations cost businesses an additional $1.9 trillion every year. Perversely, this regulatory burden falls hardest on small companies, innovators and the poor, while benefitting many large companies like ours. This unfairly benefits established firms and penalizes new entrants, contributing to a two-tiered society. (Statistics bear this out. The U.S. startup rate has been falling for decades. The Kauffman Foundation, citing its own research and drawing on U.S. Census data, concluded that the number of companies less than a year old had declined as a share of all businesses by nearly 44 percent between 1978 and 2012 – RF.)
Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers. That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare — even those that benefit us. (The government’s ethanol mandate is a good example. We oppose that mandate, even though we are the fifth-largest ethanol producer in the United States.)
My friends, the difference between Bernie and the Rugged Individualist lies in the solution to a problem upon which we both agree. Bernie would “solve” the problem with greater government intrusion. I would solve the problem by getting the government out of the business of picking winners and losers. The government just sucks when it comes to picking winners and losers.
Typically the second largest purchase a US citizen makes is his/her automobile. It is a classic example of capitalism. You decide which car you want from literally hundreds of choices. You are not limited by geography – you can purchase cars made as far apart as Europe and Japan. You negotiate a price with a dealership or individual. When the two parties are satisfied with the price negotiation, the deal is sealed and there is a transfer of capital for the object of desire. No one pulls a gun or drops a bomb. Both parties feel they have come out ahead. The purchaser is typically ecstatic about their purchase and shows it off to their friends and neighbors. They park it in their driveway with pride. The seller is happy – or the dealer would NOT have accepted the offer. Both participants in the deal believe they have come out ahead.
You can always spot a hardcore Democrat. They drive really old, beat-up cars festooned with bumper stickers that say “give me.” They cannot purchase a new vehicle because they always feel cheated! They only “deal” that would suit them is if you, as a seller of a new vehicle, gave it to them.