Big Government, Communications, Issues

Cronyism: When Every Day is Dependence Day

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Monday was our nation’s Independence Day. Where we celebrate our forefathers throwing off the yoke of tyranny to establish themselves as sovereign individuals – and a limited government responsible to them.

Benjamin Franklin was asked immediately after the Constitutional Convention “Well, Doctor, what have we got – a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin prophetically responded “A Republic – if you can keep it.”

It appears we couldn’t keep it.

Remember the Boston Tea Party? Which was the Colonists protesting the Tea Act? Everyone not warped by government schools’ mis-history remembers the phrase “taxation without representation.” The Colonists didn’t like government in which they had no say accessing their wallets.

But there was another facet of awful-ness of the Tea Act – cronyism.

The principal objective was to reduce the massive amount of tea held by the financially troubled British East India Company in its London warehouses and to help the struggling company survive.

In fact it was the cronyism that beget the taxation without representation.

This was supposed to convince the colonists to purchase Company tea on which the Townshend duties were paid, thus implicitly agreeing to accept Parliament’s right of taxation.

Two hundred and forty years later – we’re right back where we started. But on steroid levels so swollen and huge our forefathers would be insulted, disgusted – and left wondering why they went to all their trouble.

The federal government alone now taxes a-record-more-than-$3-trillion-per-year. (As someone who an Internet search won’t reveal said – how do you like taxation with representation?)

The Feds alone now spend just about $4 trillion a year. (The entire U.S. economy is only $17.4 trillion – so you’re talking close to 25%.)

And compliance costs with just federal regulations is nearly $2 trillion per annum.

And the budget – and the thousands of pages of regulations – increase, inexorably, each and every year.

When the government wields a checkbook and a regulatory hammer this huge – huge cronyism is going to happen. Big Businesses will bribe Big Government for Big Favors – and the rest of us are left to pay the freight and clean up the messes.

This year, the Feds have $6 trillion worth of cronyism to deliver. $4 trillion in cash – and $2 trillion in regulatory impositions. And they use it…well, liberally.

(President Barack) Obama Cronyism Enriches Friends, Shortchanges Others

Obama’s Crony Capitalism and His Top 2008 Donors

80% of DOE Green Energy Loans Went to Obama Backers

Massive regulations aren’t imposed on everyone equally – for which the Fourteenth Amendment calls:

…(N)or deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

They are imposed by Big Government at the behest of Big Business Cronies. On the Cronies’ competitors and service providers – but not on the Cronies themselves.

As President Obama’s time in office wanes – he is ratcheting up the cronyism. His Federal Communications Commission (FCC) alone is at this point little more than a cronyism Pez dispenser. And almost inarguably Obama’s biggest Crony – is Google.

Google’s net worth is $350 billion. (Denmark’s Gross Domestic Product [GDP] is only $342 billion.) Google absolutely does not need or deserve special government assistance. But they’re getting loads of it.

Network Neutrality? Google successfully got Big Government to prohibit Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from charging bandwidth hogs like Google anything for bandwidth.

How big a bandwidth hog is Google?

Netflix, (Google-Owned) YouTube Gobble Up Half of Internet Traffic

So who pays Google’s monstrous bandwidth tab? We do – each and every month, in the form of higher ISP bills. I’m sure you like augmenting Google’s profits just as much as I do.

“Privacy?”

The FCC is expected to craft regulations in the coming months on how broadband providers handle sensitive customer data….

95+% of Google’s monstrous income – comes from selling sensitive customer data. Broadband providers – are (much smaller) data-selling competitors. The FCC is about to make it much more difficult for Google’s much smaller competitors – while leaving Google’s massive data-selling model totally alone. Regulations for thee – not for me, eh, Google?

Set-top-boxes?

In the age of apps, the Federal Communications Commission is set to wage a battle for the future of the old-school pay TV set-top box.

The five-member commission on Thursday is set to consider whether rules should be crafted that would require cable, satellite and fiberoptic TV providers to allow a new wave of third-party devices — and software-based apps — that consumers could use instead.

This USA Today reporter gets it right – with apps, we are leaving behind the set-top-box. The FCC may as well try to prop up the horse-buggy-whip industry.

But apps are bad news for Google. When you use your Hulu, Roku or Netflix app – or for that matter your Comcast or Time Warner app – Google doesn’t have access to your data. So they can’t then sell your data.

But if you use a Google set-top-box – they can. So in defiance of technological advancement and the realities of the ever-evolving marketplace, the FCC is prying open the door of the sinking set-top-box ship. Because Google wants it.

The examples of Big Cronyism from Big Government are nigh endless – and piling ever higher, incessantly.

The Founding Fathers would be appalled – and demanding action.

We should be doing exactly the same.

Happy InDependence Day, All.

This is a guest post by Seton Motley Founder and President of Less Government

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