Ma Bell, Milk, and the Medical Industry.
Okay, I'll admit that I was listening to NPR yesterday (8/20/09). Like the old Cold War addage goes, you have to know your enemy. And admittedly, NPR covers a lot of news I wouldn't otherwise hear about. I have to listen to it with my filters on, just like I have to listen to Rush with my filters on, but through the right glasses, NPR is reliable and even useful. But never, oh no never, funny. And when they try to be it is just embarrassing. But that's another story.
Yesterday I happened to tune in at the beginning of a story on milk. Not Harvey Milk as you might expect NPR to cover, but the white stuff I enjoy with cookies before bed. Apparently the milk freemarket is under assault having been taken over by a few, ruthless conglomerates. After all, as the number-three fluid handling industry in the nation, after water and petrochemical fuels, we're talking about millions upon millions of gallons a year. Milk may be white but that adds up to a lot of green.
The two evil culprits are Dallas-based Dean Foods, and Dairy Farmers of America, or DFA, headquartered in Kansas City. Though the stuff they pedal is wholesome, their business practices aren't. At least that is the take by independent dairy farms who are being squeezed out by what even NPR is calling a cartel. They must be making a lot of money. In truth, they have been engaging in predatory business practices and are, or may well be, in violation of various anti-trust laws now on the books. Laws that exist to foster competition because as these laws attest, choice is good for consumers because it drives down prices. The government must agree because the Justice Department under President Obama is considering filing suit against these conglomerates and breaking them up. Especially since they've joined forces.
Ma' Bell faced the same government attack in the 70's. Or was it the 80's. I forget, it was oh so long ago, and if your interested you can Google it and get firehosed. Anyway, The Bell Telephone Company pretty much was The telephone company. Because they owned the wires, they owned everything. At some point the government invoked anti-trust laws enacted by Theodore Roosevelt at the turn of the last century when the Railroads had stifled competition. Prices had risen, service had degraded, and customers were tired of having no other choice. The break up was huge, and lasted for years, but one consequence was, in part, the enormous telecomm boom of the late 80's and 90's. Amazingly, throwing competition into the mix lowered prices drastically while at the same time improving service and greatly expanding the industy. The short of it, more tax dollars into government coffers.
Now we come to the Medical industry which the left, if it could have its way, would centralize into one huge, government run blob. Many politicians on the left are on record as favoring this approach. The same politicians, that freely admit through support for moves to break up Dean Foods and DFA, and who proved by busting up Ma'Bell, that the best way to lower prices and improve service is to create more competition. So what is up? Why do they want to break up the milk cartel to lower prices, and at the same time, centralize the medical industry to lower prices? Is President Obama in violation of anti-trust laws? Is it just me or does this sound...?
When things don't make sense it pays to look behind the confusion at motives. Why are all those lemming running towards a cliff? If something doesn't make sence you have to ask yourself, what does the person doing the herding really want? The arguments posed by the left to consolidate health care to lower prices and improve service don't make sense. So what is it that they really want?
Futbol Guru, http://mises.org/community/blogs/not-a-lemming