• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • The Golden Age of Political Entrepreneurship is Here

    As Joel Kotkin detailed in the Washington Post this weekend, the Wall Street Bailout and Trillion Dollar Deficit Plan being pushed through Congress this month mark the transfer of power from commercial cities like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, to Washington DC.

    In the business world, campaign contributions and lobbying efforts have replaced cost cutting as the way to maximize profit. Going to Washington with hands outstretched can prevent bankruptcy, and can provide a stimulus to the bottom line. Competing without such government aid is becoming more and more difficult, and rebels who shun such tactics are a dying breed.

    This “political entrepreneurship,” or use of political power in place of competition, is not new. In fact, as far back as the “robber baron” age, some businesses preferred to use the power and purse of Congress, rather than have to do the hard work of cost cutting and innovation necessary to be a successful market entrepreneur. The true “robber barons” were not businessmen competing freely in the market, but those businessmen who gained monopoly advantage by lobbying Congress and buying market power.

    Today, we still have some “robber barons,” protected by government and producing shoddy products, but we also have endless more miles of red tape on regular business, an incomprehensible tax code with favors for special interests, and subsidies and “pork” for every conceivable interest group request. It. Yet with all this spending and protection, we’re told we need more “stimulus,” and we need to “protect” more jobs.

    In the academic world, two developments are driving the movement from economics to politics. The all-round analysis of economics, which can take into account all interactions and effects of various policies, has been abandoned for narrow subtopics and mathematical abstractions. Meanwhile the economists themselves have taken political views and ignored economics in their policy recommendations (for example, Paul Krugman).

    But, the movement away from rational and realistic economics – the realization that there are limited resources and limited time, and that we cannot at once waste time digging holes and filling them up again, and also be productive and create prosperity – and toward politics – the art of deception, favoritism and trading favors – will necessarily bankrupt the country.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to The Golden Age of Political Entrepreneurship is Here

    1. Gary Florida says:

      My Grandfather taught me an old proverb many years ago "If your outgo bcomes more than your income it will be your DOWNFALL" I think our nation is there now & I pray God will change the tide that seems to be inevitable to us as men.

    2. Ozzy6900, CT (The Bl says:

      Maybe we need another "march" on Washington D.C. as was done a few years ago. Only this time, we the taxpayer will be marching with our hands out, looking for a bailout! But there will be no money for us!

      There is nothing wrong with gaining personal wealth from business. For that fact, that is why people go into business – to make money! The problem comes when the guys at the top keep dipping into the coffer and not keeping up the business. Then when everything is falling apart, they turn to the Government instead of filing Chapter 11. THIS is what needs to be stopped! When you run the company into the ground, you should have to either fix it or back out. The Government has no business getting into business!

      People, we are in deep, deep trouble here!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×