Tag Archives: pro-business

An Important Distinction

Master of the Senate, the third volume of Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson, opens with a lengthy history of the world’s greatest deliberative body from America’s founding up to Johnson’s time. On page 44, describing the end of a lengthy period of Senatorial stagnation in the early 20th century, Caro writes about how leadership deliberated:

The “Senate Four” or the “Big Four,” as they were known, still met in summer at Aldrich’s great castle in Narragansett, near Newport – four aging men in stiff high white collars and dark suits (Aldrich, being at home, might occasionally unbend to wear a blazer) even on the hottest days, sitting on a colonnaded porch in rockers and wicker chairs deciding Republican policy – a policy that was still based on an unshaken belief in laissez-faire and the protective tariff.

Caro is a masterful biographer and a fine writer, but he is sometimes a little confused on economics. Protective tariffs are government interventions in the market, and therefore the precise opposite of laissez-faire. Then, as now, Republican leaders were much more pro-business than pro-market. This is an important distinction to make. Failing to make it can lead to egregious — and avoidable — errors.

CEI Podcast for February 17, 2011: Let the Best Bulb Win

Have a listen here.

Brian McGraw, a Policy Analyst for CEI’s Center for Energy & Environment, talks about the coming incandescent light bulb ban, who it benefits (bulb manufacturers), and who it hurts (consumers who no longer have a choice). Brian also touches on the important distinction between pro-business and pro-market thought. Pro-business thinkers would tend to support an incandescent ban, given what it could do for bulb manufacturer’s bottom lines. Pro-market thinkers prefer an open, competitive market process where consumers decide which type of bulb is best, not lobbyists and politicians.

How Do These People Avoid Cognitive Dissonance?

Supporters of the health care bill spend a lot of time attacking health insurance companies.

The health care bill, by the way, would legally require people to give a lot of money to those same insurance companies. A lot of money. It would be the largest corporate gift Washington has ever given out — as much as $1.5 trillion over ten years by one estimate.

Health insurers’ loudest detractors are actually their best friends, and they don’t even seem to realize it. Apparently, regulatory capture is not always a conscious process.