Sunday, September 28, 2003

Rights and Reason: Commerce on commerce

Commerce Secretary Donald Evans has an op-ed in today's Washington Times explaining the Bush administration's approach to business:
Past government leaders have failed to address the growing burdens American businesses carry. Inaction in the 1990s on problems such as growing health care costs, runaway junk lawsuits, insufficient energy and unreasonable business regulations now are forcing businesses to lay off employees.

The Bush administration came to office to solve problems — not pass them on to future generations. The president is working with Congress to create the conditions under which businesses can grow and create jobs.

The president's tort reform and medical liability reform will make our businesses more competitive. Junk lawsuits — especially the ones aimed at our doctors — might enrich trial lawyers, but they bankrupt good businesses and put blue-collar Americans out of work.
Evans' fine rhetoric, unfortunately, does not explain why the administration's antitrust policy has become more aggressive and destructive with each passing month. Evans highlights the unique burden doctors face from tort lawsuits, yet he expresses no understanding of the antitrust burden thrust upon them by the government's antitrust lawyers. Evans notes unfair regulations destroy jobs, yet he makes no acknowledgment of the wealth that is destroyed by the FTC's efforts to undo mergers years after the fact or the jobs that have been lost when businesses are forced to shut down rather than face antitrust investigations where they are afforded few, if any, constitutional due process rights.

Every day this administration is in office, its antitrust regulators hurt the rights and economic livelihoods of "average Americans". Until Secretary Evans (and his boss) realize this, we must continue to treat the current administration as an enemy, not a friend, of individual rights and capitalism.

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