Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

A common campaign promise is to “deregulate”; that is, reduce the number of regulations businesses must comply. While sometimes, deregulation does indeed help all businesses, in general this is an oversimplification focusing on the mere number of regulations. The real attention should not be on the number of regulations, and not on merely adding or removing regulation for their own sakes, but rather on intelligent regulation.

The complete antithesis of intelligent regulation is taking place in Wisconsin (no surprise) and show how the wrong sorts of regulation mean there will be nothin’ but good times ahead for big bidness in that state.

One example (h/t Think Progress) is a new law that will make it harder for small breweries to distribute their own product. In other words, they cannot handle their own distribution, and instead must hire a third–party to do it.

The previous regulation is an excellent example of rent–seeking, where a company gains profits by manipulating the business environment, rather than adding value. A wholesale distributor is a drop in the keg for a big beer baron company, but not for a microbrewery. The regulation in question increases the cost and difficulty of doing business for microbreweries, therefore hindering their ability to compete. The end result is that big beer barons are protected from competition, therefore meaning that they can stay profitable by simply having no (or less) competition rather than by, you know, brewing better beer. Clearly, businesses have no problem with regulation if it discourages competition and protects their monopolies.

The other regulation concerns a law that prevents libraries and universities from using a co–op broadband service called WiscNet. The law claws back stimulus money used to implement WiscNet, and if universities and libraries want broadband they will have to use commercial services. This is rent–seeking at its most blatant, as it is cheaper to use WiscNet. So much for “fiscal responsibility”.

For people who blow such much oxygen ranting about the evils of “socialism,” conservatives sure hate the free market.

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