The Gipper Killed It
Harry First’s June 2 “Bring Back Antitrust!” is welcome and refreshing. For years, as we have discussed issues of economic injustice and accelerating inequality, commentators have focused on tax policy, globalization, attacks on organized labor, minimum wage and immigration. These are important. But completely left out has been the destruction of antitrust law, which allowed fair competition and protected small businesses and consumers.
The death of antitrust occurred under Ronald Reagan. When we ended limits on vertical price controls, restraint of trade, predatory pricing and strict scrutiny of mergers, among other changes, we created a seismic shift in our economy. Large competitors can now limit small businesses’ access to vendors and suppliers, drive up their operating costs and use predatory pricing to eliminate those pesky competitors who might actually gain a foothold. This has happened in industry after industry, including emerging technologies. Wal-Mart is a prime example, but it is hardly alone. Thanks for this piece–and bring us more.
Elephant on a Seesaw
The implosion of the Republican Party, astutely analyzed by Eyal Press in “Is the Party Over?” [June 2], offers us some hope for the change many wish the November election to bring. Two points. First, the Republican Party has increased the scope of government, not shrunk it. The expansion of the military-industrial complex and domestic security apparatus contradicts the original conceptions of conservatives, who were rightly suspicious of the state.
Second, many hold to the idea that the Republican demise is simply based on their failure to deliver competent administration and to shrink the welfare state. But corporate America has killed off jobs and attacked the standard of living. We need more solutions beyond the market and the state. Many liberals love the state and many conservatives love the market. The people alternate between the limits of both. When the limits of one become apparent, the other will return to power. Liberals need to get off this seesaw and embrace options beyond the market and the state.
JONATHAN MICHAEL FELDMAN