Asking for a little
honesty from critics of GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is a naïve hope, but absent
honesty, we might at least expect some more intelligent criticism than this
found in a recent Minnesota Independent article
“Rep. Michele Bachmann took
to the floor of the House of Representatives twice Tuesday, likening the United
States to the Titanic and lambasting “gangster government” for meddling in
carmakers’ affairs – though she boasts on her Web site of doing the same auto
dealership-advocacy she decries Democrats for.”
This “analysis” demonstrates
the total lack of understanding of free market economics by progressives who
equate “auto dealership-advocacy” with being pro-business or being pro-free
markets. Bachmann was not criticizing Democrats’ (or her own) dealership
advocacy, but she was indeed blasting government policies that make that
un-American (my word, not Bachmann’s) activity necessary.
In her remarks
on the House floor, Rep. Bachman cited a Democrat Senator who arranged a meeting
between an auto dealer and GM, which resulted in the dealership getting a
disfranchising reprieve. She also noted that Democrat Barney Frank was able to
arrange a meeting for a GM dealer with the same result. She, too, sought help
for a local GM Dealer.
“When I was on the phone today
for over an hour with one of my local dealers,” Bachmann said, “the very first
thing out of her mouth was this: She said, ‘This is the most un-American thing I
have ever seen in my life. I can’t believe that I lived to see the day that my
country would come to this point where, having my dealership for 90 years, I get
a letter FedExed to me that tells me I have until Friday to sign this document
to not only give up my company that was made worthless–worth $15 million, made
worthless overnight–now GM is demanding
that she hand over her customer list, her service customer list to
The point Rep. Bachmann is
making is not that Democrats and Republicans should not be working on behalf of
auto dealers; she was lamenting and lashing out that such action is necessary.
Instead of building business by providing the best products and services (and
investing resources in doing so), the American auto industry now operates in a
gangster-like environment in which it is more profitable to “invest” in elected
officials than in one’s own effort.
“The Federal Government has set
up a new cartel and private businesses now have to go begging with their hand
out to their local–hopefully well politically connected–Congressman or their
Senator so they can buy a peace offering for that local business,” said
Bachmann. “Is that the kind of country we are going to have in the
future?” she asks.
“We need to call this for what
this is,” Bachmann added. “We need to call this for what this is. Call it out.
The American people need to get outraged and figure out that it could be them
Bachmann is right. What is
happening in this country is not capitalism. It is not free market economics. It
is not “necessary” to save either capitalism or free markets. “Gangster
government” is the blatant exploitation of fear, uncertainty and doubt spawned
by an economic crisis created by decades of government meddling in the economy.
It is “the law perverted” as Frederick Bastiat wrote in “The Law.” It is the
destruction of the fundamental principles upon which this country was founded —
the primacy of individual sovereignty, the sanctity of private property and the
rule of law.
This is, paraphrasing a line
from Barry Goldwater, no time for moderation in defense of
Craig Westover is a Senior Policy Fellow at the Minnesota Free Market Institute.