• Arne Mortensen

Special Interests

August 2009

Special Interests

A cornerstone of the American psyche is a sense of fairness. Yet we have an ever growing set of laws that favor special interests. We deplore the lobbyists that essentially buy governmental favors for their organizations, giving little thought to the damage they do to the rest of us. We, the people, gnash our teeth and think out aloud if not silently nasty thoughts about the lobbyists and the elected officials who accept their “guidance.” We, the people, try as we might to clean up this special interest mess see the next batch of politicians doing the same thing, regardless of their lofty campaign promises.

F. Hayek, a remarkable economist, was asked by Walter Williams whether there was any one law that would solve this problem. He answered that there was: “[make all laws apply equally to everyone.]” Think about it with just this one example: you don’t grow tobacco, so if the government pays someone in the Carolinas not to grow tobacco, they’ll have to pay you also. Poof, special interests are gone.

Imagine if every Senator and Congressman had to live by the same rules that you and I do! Wouldn’t you like to have the same health care and retirement as they have?

Why do we permit laws that make some people “more equal than others,” (from George Orwell’s Animal Farm)? What could be more American and fairer than insisting that all laws apply equally to everyone?

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