Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent rant about lobbyists in the Trump transition team (just before they were all sent packing) brings me once again to editor David Rotman’s MIT Technology Review article Capitalism Behaving Badly. Specifically this:
[W]e should admit that markets are created and shaped by government policies, including government support of innovation.
If we are to admit that markets are created and shaped by government, we also must admit that lobbying is created by government as a protective reaction to that
regulatory manipulation ‘market’ creation and shaping.
Don Boudreaux puts it well at Cafe Hayek
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is upset that President-elect Trump’s transition team includes many corporate lobbyists (“Elizabeth Warren Criticizes Donald Trump Over Lobbyists in Transition Team,” Nov. 15). Well now. Sen. Warren is second-to-none at empowering Uncle Sam to exercise broad discretionary powers over corporate affairs – powers that, if exercised one way, yield that company hundreds of millions of dollars in additional profits or, if exercised another way, saddle that company with hundreds of millions of dollars of additional costs. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that corporations work diligently to have their voices heard among the din of everyone clamoring for the new emperor’s attention.
For Sen. Warren to be upset that Trump’s transition team is filled with hordes of corporate lobbyists panting for political favors is akin to a Madam being upset that her bawdyhouse is filled with hordes of men panting for female favors.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
Lobbying is protected by the First Amendment. Even absent Constitutional protection, lobbying would continue at a level commensurate with the degree to which government creates and shapes markets, only it would be more nefarious – say like the Clinton Foundation pay-to-play shenanigans.
Meanwhile, the House GOP beat back a plan by some of its own members* to restore internal super-lobbying by reinstating earmarks.
*Who should now be Primaried.
Update 1:15PM: In the interests of naming names, “Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, and Tom Rooney of Florida are listed as sponsors of the amendment.”