Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stopping the Ghost of Mussolini

by The Individualist

The purpose of this article is to make the case for an amendment to the constitution that I will label the anti-fascism amendment.

The Spirit of the Anti-Fascism Amendment

The greatest danger of Fascism is governmental control of the means of production. This is Benito Mussolini’s Third Way between Capitalism and Socialism, where the machine of industry is not undone but rather the ownership of that machine is transferred to a national government. This is accomplished through byzantine regulations or the appropriation of the equity of industrial entities, most notably the transfer of ownership of corporate stock to the government. This grants the government the ability to control the means of production, even as the government retains its traditional role of watchdog policing disputes.

The problem with combining these two functions is something called “Segregation of Duties”. When one has the power to control an asset, to record the use of that asset and the authority to approve its use, then there is a potential for abuse and fraud and a breakdown of controls. When governments combine these powers over industry with a takeover of social services, the potential for abuse can lead to dictatorial control. The Anti-Fascism Amendment I am proposing is intended to stop our government from being able to exercise this type of power.

Thus, first, I propose the following:
Neither the federal government nor any state or local government may ever hold any ownership interest in any business or partnership, including for-profit and nonprofit corporations.
With the assignment of US Senators from state appointments to general elections, we began to move power from the states to the federal government. The federal government expanded its reach into what are now "entitlement programs". This creates a "segregation of duties" issue similar to the one caused by government ownership of equity, but more subtle. Government operation of these services by using regulation to override the authority of the states, means that issues with how they are managed are less likely to be corrected by the same government that is responsible for them. Since Federal courts and agencies are the auditors who regulate and the final arbiter of disputes there is a conflict when the federal government manages the operations.

Since these “entitlements” have become an accepted part of our culture and likely can’t be removed, the fix as I see it is to divorce the regulation and decision making from the federal government. I propose the following:
All monies for programs or services that would violate the strict interpretation of the tenth amendment because they cannot be justified as a power granted by the US Constitution must be decided upon by state authority. Each state will appoint one financial expert answerable to that states comptroller’s office and their decision making authority will be subject to the executive and legislative branches of each state as deemed appropriate by state authorizes. These individuals will make up a Commission located in Kansas.

Monies appropriated for these programs will be sent directly to the Kansas Commission. The federal government may only define the purpose of the funds. All matters as to program operation and the distribution of funds shall be the express authority of the Kansas Commission. The Kansas commission must provide the rules and procedures for these programs to the federal government. The federal government will then have the duty to audit those operational procedures and financial results in accordance with the rules and procedures provided by the commission.

Fascism without Godwin’s Law

Godwin’s law states that any internet discussion will eventually devolve to a comparison to Hitler. I wish to ignore Hitler and concentrate on Fascism’s father Benito Mussolini. In his book Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg places Mussolini as Fascism’s philosophical father. Fascism as an economic philosophy was based off of Corporatism which is an offshoot of syndicalism. These were ideologies which centered around worker’s unions or syndicates controlling corporations and businesses.

Many label Fascism as “rightwing” because the fascists were at odds with the communists for the control of Socialism. Both ideologies support dictatorial collectivism in the name of achieving a utopian dream. Conservatism in America is based on the classical liberalism of Jean Baptiste Say and Thomas Malthus. These are the philosophies of the US Constitution: Free Markets, Limited Government, Constitutional Republics, the regard for Property rights and Individual Liberty. Fascism is none of these things.
"There is no security of property, where a despotic authority can possess itself of the property of the subject against his consent. Neither is there such security, where the consent is merely nominal and delusive."
-Jean-Baptiste Say, A Treatise on Political Economy, 1803
Compare this with the following quote from Benito Mussolini:
“The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organization of production is a function of national concern, the organizer of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.”
–Benito Mussolini
Mussolini believed in Totalitarian control and a command economy. He achieved this goal without destroying corporations. However they were directed by the state and thus economies were planned. This article from the Library for Economic Liberty explains it very well (link). Thus, Fascism is promoted when a single state power is given control over the institutions that run our lives. That control can be in the form of regulation or in state ownership. The end is the same either way, it will be government bureaucrats who make life choices for the individual.

Can I get a Trade in on my New Deal?

Prior to the New Deal this issue was a limited one since the federal government controlled much less of the social services provided. Every day social services and charities were governed only when necessary by the state and local governments As the New Deal expanded to the Great Society, the government slowly crept into the cradle to the grave socialism.

Roosevelt enacted Social Security in 1935 and Johnson enacted Medicare in 1965. Fannie Mae started in 1938. Confiscatory income tax rates up 90% were put in place to pay for these programs. The New Deal started the meme that there were “things the government should provide,” which is the basis for justifying entitlements. With the encroachment of entitlements paid by the government, the federal bureaucracy saw fit to control how the funds were spent and Federal usurpation of power began. I truly believe in my gut that this change in the zeitgeist of Washington started with the advent of Roosevelt’s New Deal.

A Funny Thing Happened to My Freedom when I let Others Secure it for me
“The general will rules in society as the private will governs each separate individual."
Maximilien Robespierre
“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”
Charles Dickens
Carl Sagan was an atheist because he thought that there was no God based on rational thought. In the French Revolution high minded individuals rejected God to revolt at the notion that men had a higher calling. These kinds of Atheists reject the idea of God because they see Man and thus themselves as the preeminent authority. To those who are ambitious and want power, a belief in a Creator that judges men is nothing more than a road block to power. Fascism with its totalitarian control will be the vehicle of choice for people who harbor these ambitions in their heart.

We have seen our government take stock in banks and auto industries and fund entities like Fannie Mae and Solyndra. At Gibson Guitar the government walks in, accuses them of violating Indian laws though India sees no violation, and absconds with their inventory. In the French Revolution, an unscrupulous individual named Fabre D ’Englantine ingratiated himself with the Jacobins and used similar tactics to take the estates of the “evil rich” by accusations to the Counsel of Twelve that sent merchants to the guillotine. Vive la révolution!

When a private corporation makes a mistake the government is first to chastise the leaders of the company and to enact penalties for wrongdoing. Agencies dutifully report to a congress, eager to gain a political payday appearing to protect voter’s interests. When a government sponsored entity makes similar mistakes the same politicians will obfuscate the issue to avoid the political fallout of what is Congress’s responsibility.

Giving Congress and bureaucrats the kind of control over industry, social services and government which economic Fascism trumpets and heralds, and which government has been slowly adopting, creates the justification for fraud in the mindset of politics. This is the best argument that I can come up with to try to explain it. Please remember these two things:
“The government cannot honestly regulate what it owns.”

“A Fascist Economy attracts Jacobins and brings the Terror.”


We must not allow the federal government to own or control industries or companies within industries. And when federal funding programs are necessary, that spending should be made through an independent National Commission answering to representatives of each state. Otherwise, we invite economic Fascism, and once economic Fascism takes hold, unlimited power and corruption follows, which destroys freedom. The amendments I propose are my modest attempt to answer that issue.


Unknown said...

Indi: I don’t know if moving the center of distributive power to Kansas from DC could ever be accomplished, but it would be well worth a try. As you have ably pointed out, the determination of what is the proper course of action must be separated from the distribution of funds necessary to enable that action. Likewise, in a free society you are absolutely correct that the government cannot honestly regulate what it owns.

Notawonk said...

“The government cannot honestly regulate what it owns.”

Like minds, baby. I just had this conversation today, yet many, too man in my opinion, still trust the government to do what is right. ain't gonna happen.

good job on the post.

AndrewPrice said...

Sorry, I'm late... doctor's appointment. I'll have some thoughts in a moment. You've raised some interesting ideas.

Individualist said...


Moving to Kansas is a little metaphorical in nature in that it is as far from the fantasy OZ of DC as one can get.

I beleive that this was the unforseen problem with the 17th ammendment. It placed all the power in Washignton through the illusion of popular elections.

Individualist said...


That you very much I appreciate the comment.

The problem I believe is that what the governemtn does is not as visible as a corporation.

T-Rav said...

Indi, very interesting article. I'm not sure how well this would work out, especially in trying to make the government strictly adhere to the Tenth Amendment, but I like your remarks about the direct election of senators and how Obama's administration resembles Mussolini's in its Third Way "philosophy." The corporatist nature of the state definitely needs more attention.

Individualist said...

Andrew thanks for the compliment

Individualist said...

T Rav

Thank you

It would probably be all but inpossible to eliminate all the programs that violate the 10th ammendment as Ron Paul would like to do.
administration of these programs out of the hads of DC.

The idea that government should control (as in
However at the very least we can get the run) business is as you point out is not ever really questioned.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Here are my thoughts.

I like the idea of banning the government from owning corporate interests. The one exception I would make would be tax seizures and bankruptcies, with the provisio that the government must sell those off as soon as practical.

I like the idea for the very reason you mention -- how can the government act for the good of the public, rather than in its own self-interest, if it is also a player in the market?

On the other part, I like the principle... but....

Our government technically already does something like this. The Congress spends the money and the Executive runs the agencies. So technically, it already exists. I think the problem is that the wall between these two has broken down and the agencies and Congress are starting to merge.

So I like the idea in principle, but I think all we would be doing is buying a little more time before we're right back where we were. Let me think about this one.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, You're welcome! It's definitely a thought-provoking argument and something that deserves serious consideration! Well done! :)

Tennessee Jed said...

a very fine piece, Indy-- well thought out and communicated. I wholly support the notion that government should be banned from ownership, although like Andrew, I would make an exception for bankruptcies on a temporary basis.

Individualist said...

Andrew and Tennessee

Thanks for your comments. I agree with you about bankiruptcies and it was mentioned to me about a year and a half ago by a liberal trying to make arguments against it.

I do not consider that true ownership for two reasons.

One it is directed by the coursts and the legislature (I think) has very little to do with it.

Second, the actual stewardship is usually done by a third party hired and appointed by the court and who is subject to the will of the court.

There just was not room in the article to cover this and many other topics. It is verbose as it is and as Andrew can tell you the first draft was a book.

Thanks for the compliments.

tryanmax said...

Indie, I like your anti-fascism amendment, though I would not see it extend all the way down to the local level and I have misgivings about it extending to the states.

For one, many municipalities are themselves incorporated. Also, it could bar localities from providing services that they customarily provide through contracts, such as road maintenance and waste removal, on the argument that citizens should deal with the contractors directly. (And believe me, you don't necessarily want to go this route when it comes to waste removal.) Further, many localities have chosen to deal with natural monopolies, namely utilities, through public ownership. Rather than muddle your amendment with exceptions, I would see it retain its elegance by limiting its scope.

As to the Kansas Commission (I assume this will be located in Kansas City, so it shall heretofore be known as the KCKC), I think passage of an anti-fascist amendment would open the possibility for new suits against the government as well as new political will against entitlements, so it may be found to be unnecessary.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think that's necessary to prevent administrative problems with things like taxes. But beyond that, I do think it's a good idea to ban the government from owning companies. There's just no reason the government needs to be a player in the marketplace? And the negative effect of its being a player are just too high.

Also, let me make an "aside" point here. One thing that worried me with this idea was what about debt? The government loans money to all kinds of businesses, including banks. If the government couldn't do this anymore, then you run into capitalization concerns, right? And that could have made the 2008 meltdown worse....

Only, the more I thought about it, the more this struck me as very wrong. If the government wasn't acting as a backstop in the first place, then these banks wouldn't have gotten so big in the first place (or so careless) and then they wouldn't have put the economy at risk. Again, we would have been better off if the government couldn't have gotten involved in supporting business.

I really think this is a solid idea to get the government out of participating in business. Regulation is fine, participation is not.

Individualist said...


I do not see that much difference between agencies and congress. This is because Congress has been spending a lot of effort regulating things beyond its scope.

I really felt it difficult to justify the Kansas Commsion as best as I should. LEt me try an example.

The government enacts CAFE standards on automobiles. Money is directed to the agency respnsible for Congressw and Congress writes laws to assist in regulation. Some are broad granting power to the agency (such as demanding fuel efficiency should be set) and some are specific such as stating what those fuel efficiecy standards must be.

Congress may start out with laws that are broad and rely on the agency to set specifics but eventually over time Congress starts getting into specifics which is why bills are too long for Congresspersons to read in a day.

To my mind Congress would be able to only do this. Pass a law appropriating a set amount of money to be given to the states (Kansas) to pay for Fuel Efficiency regualtion.

Kansas would then have to set the standards, create the agency, and write the rules based on the decisions agreed by the states. States could if they wished set differeing standards either individually or in groups when a consensus is not able to be made.

Congress then only has the responsibility to review the rules, audit the following of the rules and the expenditures and decide if the money will be appropriated next year or not.

This is the what I envision will help this. The corruption and lobbyists will move to Kansas but they will have a tougher time as the representative answers to state governors and legislatures and don;t care about reelection campaign donations.

Even if they manage to influence Kansas the review of the program as to whether to fund it is in Washington. I can see it in operation. Getting there as you state4 would be a whole other ball game.

tryanmax said...

Regulation is fine, participation is not. Excellent summary. In the past, I've likened government intervention to a referee joining in the game. Or Calvinball. LINK

DUQ said...

Nice article Indi! Well thought out and an interesting idea. There is no way on earth the feds would agree to limit themselves this way, but it would be good for the country!

One problem I do foresee is that if people hate the Fed now, imagine how much they will hate this new regulatory body?!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I love Calvinball! What a great series that was. Calvin and Hobbes is one of my all time favorites -- especially his create use of the snowmen! :)

T-Rav said...

No no no! I don't want the Commission in freaking Kansas City! That place is way too prominent as it is, and I want it taken down a peg. I hate you, KC.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That is sort of how the Congress-Agency relationship is supposed to work. It just hasn't worked that way because the two have been blurred together in many ways and the courts have let them.

In terms of reform, I would actually prefer going the other way and requiring Congress to be more specific and taking away the agency's power. That way decisions need to be made in Congress rather than being hidden away deep behind administrative walls.

That would also slow the growth of government because right now there is an army of bureaucrats who spend every working day expanding government. That won't happen when the Congress has to make the changes.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, LOL! I vote for Pumpkin Center, Colorado -- population something like 200.

Doc Whoa said...

Individualist, Excellent article! I enjoyed this very much. I like both ideas. Anything we can do to reduce the amount of power Washington has the better and I like the idea of each state having a say.

Doc Whoa said...

Also, are you all discussing the primary tonight?

Individualist said...


The local water and sewer plant is something I must admit I had not considered. To my mind though it could still be fit into the mix although it gets into legalistic gymnastics that as a SOX auditor I hate to deal with.

We simply insist that ownership is to a thrid party which could be a not for profit corporation or enterprise fund. The regulation of the monopoly would not be at risk so long as that regualtion was done by a local or state government or where a national concern is involved the KCKC.

As to the issue with contracts I respectfully state that this is a nonsequitor since I want to ban government ownership and not government's ability to enter into a contract. I don't see the ammendment hindering this but you make very good points. Thanks!

T-Rav said...

Andrew, it's all settled. Mutual destruction of Kansas City and Pumpkin Center, CO. (Actually, I don't have much of a problem with KC, beyond intra-state rivalry. I just wanted an excuse to stir @#$%.)

Individualist said...


Thank you very much...

To my mind let them hate the KCKC because then their only recourse is to go to Congress and the only power congress has... cut off the checkbook! Great huh!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I'm always in favor of blowing up a city -- but then I'm a super-villain. . . that's how I role (see what I did there?)!

If you really want to stir #$%^ go to the film site post that Weasley Crusher MADE Star Trek TNG.

Or go to BH and post something about how Tom Hanks is a real American and we should make him president.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, We're not covering it. I'm done with primaries. But feel free to post your thoughts here. We'll read them. :)

Individualist said...


I see, I guess I disagree. I am more of the mind that specifics can be bad and we get to many of them especially in law.

I had a fraud CPE where I was told that the best way to ensure fraud occurs is to enact a list of unworkable voluminous policies and rules. The employees in the course of trying to get their job done will cutr corners and break rules. Eventually fraudsters will be made since rule breaking is a part of the corporate culture.

But I see your point if the states end up the boondoggle and Washington plays a free hand with the audit requirement that it does have then this would not work.

Individualist said...



Who was it that said "Government is the Problem".

Someone Bill Maher wishes we'd forget I imagine.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax and Indi, I wouldn't apply this to the local level either as the needs of local government are very different than running a national government. Also, local government isn't as big of a deal because there's already state and federal government oversight plus, people can move very easily if local government gets too abusive -- something which is not as easy at the state or federal level.

Also, I wouldn't apply this to contracts as frankly, I'd prefer to see the Federal government essentially do all of its work by contract rather than through federal employees directly.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, The problem with the lack of specifics is what you saw with the ADA:

Congress passes a law that is very broad -- "make reasonable accommodations." No one knows what this means or what the limits are. So the agencies get extreme power to start going after businesses with no real court oversight because they've been given this massive power to force "reasonable accommodations" on businesses. This brings corruption, abuses and economic waste.

At the same time, Congress gets a pass because they can blame the agency for implementing the laws.

Indeed, Congress ran home and said, "we fixed everything for handicapped people and nobody got hurt" -- because there was nothing in the law anyone could point to which would affect anyone. Then, when the agencies and courts went overboard, Congress said, "this wasn't what we intended" and washes their hands of it.

It's the perfect method for abusive government. Congress passes a law which appears harmless, but gives the agencies incredible scope to grab power. When people complain the Congress says "it wasn't our fault." At the same time, the agency says, "we are only doing what Congress required." So no one gets blamed and no one can fix the problem. And more and more power gets given to the feds. This is a recipe for how to pass abusive laws.

African-Americans said...

Wait, who says Tom Hanks is a real American?!

Tom Hanks said...

I have a certificate of live birth from Guam to prove it!

Individualist said...

Andrew I see your point.

I guess in my mind I see those specifics being generated by the KCKC. I see the people going to the KCKC for redress and I see Washington's role as Cop (audit) and there only power as to fund or not to fund. This give s the break I want but who knows if it ain't doable it ain't doable.

The goal in the end is not to set up a commission in Kansas or Colorado or anywhere else. It is to ensure that there is an independence between the Congress that authorizes (appropriates funds for) and the agency that executes (enacts rules). We know that it ain't there now but if this plan is a Rube Goldberg project I think we still need another one.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Maybe what we need is a sort of three-part process.

Step One: The House of representatives comes up with the idea for the legislation, down to the a certain level of specifics -- the idea is to minimize the amount of discretion the Executive has in how to carry out the rules.

Step Two: The Senate approves the funds and must sign off on the law.

Step Three: The Executive carries out the law.

Then each branch has it's own oversight role -- the House looks to see if the Executive is implementing the law as intended. The Senate looks to make sure the money is spent only as obligated. And the courts make sure the whole process is constitutional and that the Executive isn't exceeding their authority.

That might achieve the same thing.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, who's Weasley Crusher?

Individualist said...

Ok Andrew fair enough but when yhou visit DC you won't be able to say:

"I don't think we are in Kansas anymore"

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Call me trite, but I say that every time I get through the other side of Kansas when I drive cross country.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's what happens when a typo merges Harry Potter with Star Trek -- you get an annoying red headed kid who uses magic to save the Enterprise every week.

Individualist said...

Andrew on second thought I'd like to ammend your step three:

The executive carries out the rules that are the perview of the Federal Government however the States carry out the rules that are the perview of the states (there would still be a KCKC but its scope would be much less).

I still think trying to revive the 10th ammendment is worth doing.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Works for me.

DUQ said...

Romney's up by 16% with 7% reporting.

AndrewPrice said...

CNN just called Illinois for Romney.

But I'm sure he still didn't manage "to connect"... somehow.

tryanmax said...

I understand your aims in wanting to eliminate all public ownership. However, I would like to offer as examples that they can work in relation to natural monopolies the OPPD, NPPD, and MUD systems that I am necessarily very familiar with.

All three public utilities are set up very similarly with publicly elected Boards of Directors. And trust me, running for and sitting on those boards is a very big deal. On the whole, people are very satisfied with the utilities around here. What keeps things in check politically is the fact that most folks have to look at a monthly bill. However, I believe that a private monopoly would be less accountable.

Of course, I would never advocate that this structure be extended any further than these already are. NPPD only works, IMO, because Nebraska is a low-population state, and other municipalities may one day need dedicated PPDs in the future. If over-extended, I think this same system would be just as uncountable as a private monopoly.

tryanmax said...

And I say repeal the 17th! I can dream, can't I?

AndrewPrice said...

Arg. I need to stop watching CNN. This is turning into a Romney blowout and ALL they can talk about is the one or two groups where Romney isn't winning (work poor in this case) and they are all lamenting that Romney can't connect with them.

Then we talk about how much money he has. Will Newt drop out. Then back to why Romney can't connect.


AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Local monopolies CAN work, but they often don't. And as I've said above, I have no problem with local governments owning businesses because of the oversight by the state, feds and courts, plus it's a lot easier to move from bad locations than it is bad states or countries. So there are a lot of things to keep the power in check.

(That said, I do know that most local governments are very corrupt.)

Individualist said...


Local Government run utilities, power, sewar, water etc. are run by enterprise funds. These are government entities set up to run as businesses.

Even if we enacted this ammendment from a legal standpoint I do not believe this would necessarily outlaw them. Many Enterprise funds are still seen as a government entity and not a for profit corporation. I do not know if any enterprise fund actually has shares of stock although they might.

I could erasily see these institutions as being made exempt however I don't believe the language of the ammendment needs alteration to ensure it but I am not a lawyer.

Tam said...

Re: Romney in IL, of course it is also record low turnout...if everyone had shown up, surely Rick would have won, right? Grrr...Just drop out already, losers!

Individualist said...

Andrew and Tyranmax

I think that allowing local counties to own stock leaves a loophole. A crafty fed could obtain shares in an AIG or Bank of America and create an entity to hold the shares that is technically owned by the local instituions controlling it but operated by Congress.

As I explained in the comment above I don't beleive that this effects enterprise funds and other not for profits because they do not have shares of stock sold on the SEC or other markets. Usually they are still governmental entities. In Jacksonville we have JEA for power which is an enterprise fund. It is owned and oeprated by Duval County.

But I could be misinterpreting the law. Maybe additional language may have to be added to allot for this and make it clear these are OK but optimally you want to make the language as clean as possible.

Individualist said...

Interesting points though...

It is best to flush these things out befoire you consider supporitng an ammendment. Not that this woiuld get through but I feel strongly it should.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, This is a clear blow out. Santorum and Newt combined still lose by about 11% right now. And the low turnout means that the advantage was Santorum's.

But it never ends with the MSM. They are spinning away, trying to make it sound like Santorum still can win and like somehow people aren't voting for Romney -- "ignore the actual voters, and look at this small group of Santorum supporters we polled."

Santorum cannot win mathematically barring a miracle and there's no indication he's getting one. Illinois is exactly what we're about to see in California, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, etc. and that means this thing is about to become a blowout. Soon, even talk radio will have to declare victory and then abandon their side.

But in terms of dropping out, Ricky won't do it because he's on a crusade. Newt might do it soon, but he's got a lot of ego to overcome.

BTW, I thought Romney's speech was excellent. He took Obama to task.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I think it would be a bigger loophole to start allowing certain types of organizations (e.g enterprise funds) to be exempt. That's where Congress would start to find ways around the law.

I don't think exempting "local government/state authorized municipalities" from this law would give the feds a way in. But if it does, then I would prefer just banning any government ownership rather than carving out certain types of arrangements the government could enter into.

But here's another point to consider.... none of this actually prevents the governments from operating something like a bank. It just couldn't share it with the private sector. For example, the Feds could own a power station so long as it was a federal government asset and operation. It could even hire contractors to run it. What it could not do, however, would be to own an interest in a private power station. So maybe the concern about local ownership isn't really an issue?

T-Rav said...

Andrew, you could stop watching CNN, you know. Or stop supporting Romney. One of the two.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I moved on. I'm now watching Money Train and I've jumped on the Obama bandwagon... I like losing causes. ;)

tryanmax said...

Andrew, you are absolutely right. I wasn't seeing the forest for the trees. And I think a pretty safe check exists for government just up and starting an enterprise. For lack of a better term, I'd call it the "what-the-heck-does-the-city/county/state-need-a-______-for?" check.

RE: Romney, even after he wins the delegate count outright, expect the media outlets to obsess over the delegates he doesn't win in the late primaries. The way both the MSM and RWR are spinning this primary, until Romney has 90% or better, he'll still be "out of touch."

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, CNN actually asked this stunningly hypocritical question: "Romney keeps winning the primaries, winning many more votes than Santorum, overwhelmingly winning the delegate counts, and he's all but guaranteed to win the nomination. . . why won't people accept that? Why do people keep talking as if he's losing?"

Uh... because YOU - CNN are pushing that meme. You think it helps Obama, so you're pushing it. This isn't some objective thing CNN has picked up on, this is something CNN and the rest of the MSM have created. This is twisted, it's like believing your own PR.

On the other issues, I do think there are enough checks in place not to worry about local governments. They may need more rules, but a one-size fits all ban probably would be a bad idea. But at the federal (or even state) level, I think it's best to keep the government from participating in the market.

Individualist said...


I guess you are right. The point is to keep the government out of industry not to start stocks.

To my mind Utilities are the only companies left in existence that require a monopoly. The only close second are rail roads but they are heavily regulated but not monopolies.

In the end maybe what I am asking is a complete paradigm shift (OK that's my strategic managment professor talking). Perhaps there is no need for govrernment enterprise funds, regulated monopolies or industries like Amtrak.

I can see n ow that this will probably need a lot more thought to actually be viable. Still all in all I feel very strongly about this.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Coming up with something like this is always a complex and difficult process and it's virtually impossible to get it 100% right out of the gates. That's why agencies have comment periods, so people can point out all the things that no one has thought of yet.

All in all, I think you've done a great job here and your principles and ideas are in the right direction even if you don't have all the specifics yet. :)

In terms of the enterprise funds etc., it's my experience that the more exceptions you create, the more likely it will be that lawyer and courts will find ways to exploit them. And, as you know as an auditor, sometimes the exceptions eat the rule.

In terms of natural monopolies, those are about the only ones that come to mind and even there I'm not 100% sure.

tryanmax said...

Natural monopolies come and go with technology, so setting specific exceptions is to be avoided. Telephone service was a monopoly until technology eliminated the need for wires. Conceivably, if a technology came along to make it cheap and easy to live off the grid, electricity service could stop being a monopoly. Water and roads seem to be the only two things that continually justify natural monopoly and my wildest imagination can even see roads becoming needless.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Conservative are into privatizing roads these days -- I think that's a horrible idea. Roads really are one area where the state has a true interest in making sure it's done "for the public interest." Beyond that though, I agree that monopolies really aren't justified anymore in almost anything. Even in electric power, I understand that there is no reason anymore to be wedded to a local provider anymore.

Individualist said...


You make an intersting point.

Given that electricity could be more competitive and the cost of power is starting to skyrocket perhaps there is an avenue where government may be forced down that road.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I wasn't thinking of privatized roads in my wild imagination. I was thinking of Doc Brown. Roads? Where we're going, we don't need...Roads.

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