It’s hard to discern much that’s coherent — much less cogent — from the cacophony that is Occupy Wall Street, but one valid complaint continually sounds through the noise: When business interests get in bed with the government, injustice tends to result.
The Wall Street Occupiers are of course focused primarily on bailed-out financial firms (though not on union favorites GM and Chrysler, which, unlike most of the bailed-out financial firms, will end up costing taxpayers a huge pile of money). But surely the Occupiers will also take a firm stand against one of the crassest examples of crony capitalism in the last three decades.
I’m speaking of the deal the Obama Administration struck with the insurance industry, pursuant to which industry leaders initially agreed not to oppose Obamacare in exchange for a provision forcing all Americans to purchase the industry’s product or pay a fine. Not only does this deal privilege powerful business interests at the expense of ordinary Americans, it also promises to exacerbate income inequality by allowing medical professionals, who face very little price competition when buyers purchase their services using third-party insurance, to sustain their high salaries.
Surely the Wall Street Occupiers recognize that if Congress can use its power to regulate commerce to coerce citizens, as a condition of merely existing, to purchase a private company’s product, then future instances of crony capitalism are inevitable.