This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

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Big Business, Big Liberals Print
By Sam Batkins
Tuesday, October 06 2009
With Democrats in charge of both the legislative and executive branches, pushing everything from government-run health care to regulating all carbon output in the country, Big Business has seemingly decided that sleeping with the enemy is good for the bottom line.

“Big Business hates the environment and supports conservative politicians.”

That’s been the typical, politically-expedient refrain sung by liberal politicians and pro-regulation special interests in Washington.  Yet now, with Democrats in charge of both the legislative and executive branches, pushing everything from government-run health care to regulating all carbon output in the country, Big Business has seemingly decided that sleeping with the enemy is good for the bottom line.

Case in point:  a coalition of large U.S. corporations is lobbying Washington – complete with a $1 million advertising blitz – to pass a Cap-and-Tax energy bill.  The legislation, already passed by the House and currently gaining traction in the Senate, would effectively regulate all carbon output in the U.S. and slap taxpayers rich and poor with a massive new energy consumption tax.

Some businesses realize that this new regulatory regime will create a favored political class, and they’re climbing on before Washington throws them overboard.  Sarah Severn of Nike, a supporter of new energy regulation, recently observed, “Clearly there are going to be winners and losers, as there are in all these things.  But I think, ultimately, it’s going to be good for the majority of businesses.  And it can only be a good thing to get engaged in energy efficiency.  I think it’s going to be good for consumers, too.”

What’s Nike thinking?  Well, they are probably more concerned with currying political favor than they are with how new regulations will actually affect consumers.  It is doubtful that Nike’s new advertising push will include information from the Obama Administration that actually admits Cap-and-Tax legislation will cost families up to $1,800 a year – a large chunk of change that consumers won’t have in their pockets to buy shiny new over-priced sneakers.

In case you’re wondering, this is not the first venture into left-wing politics by “Big Business.”  For example, Google – the patron saint of government Internet regulation – now wants taxpayers to start bailing out failing newspapers.  Since a strong argument can be made that Google actually helped to quicken the fiscal demise of newspapers, if the company is that concerned, perhaps it ought to take some of its $156 billion in market capitalization to prop up the faltering industry rather than push another taxpayer-funded bailout.

Nike, too, is no stranger to liberal politics.  Its political action committee pumped $15,500 into the campaign coffers of House and Senate Democrats during the last election cycle alone.

Of course, Nike and Google are not the only companies jumping on the regulatory bandwagon.  Apple – icon of all that is cool and chic on college campuses – recently announced that it was ending its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, effective immediately.

Apple, unlike the Chamber, wants Cap-and-Tax passed immediately and no longer seeks to offend its pro-regulation cheerleaders in the White House.  Rather than actively push for measures that would be good for business, easing restrictions on trade and lowering taxes on capital and investment, Apple instead wants to expend its political capital advocating for legislation that will effectively tax consumers every time they turn on a light in their homes.

The recent sell-out of capitalism by Big Business stirs echoes of one of the most famous opponents of the free market.  As Vladimir Lenin noted, “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” 

As Big Business deals with the devil to derive some marginal short-term market advantage, they should take heed of Lenin’s quote.  It won’t take long before Big Brother turns his gaze directly toward them, and no rebranding or PR blitz will be enough to save what they so easily prostituted in the past.

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"In nominating Barrett to the Supreme Court, [President Trump] kept his promise by choosing an undaunted originalist -- someone who interprets the Constitution based on the understanding held by its ratifiers.Trump's most profound effect on the Constitution will come when she and the other Trump Justices apply that originalism to the questions of liberty and equality."Read entire article here.…[more]
 
 
—John C. Yoo, Heller Professor Law at U.C. Berkeley School of Law
— John C. Yoo, Heller Professor Law at U.C. Berkeley School of Law
 
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