Paradox of the Statist Businessman

The January 2nd meeting of Don McIntire’s Executive Club featured a panel of state legislators talking about the upcoming February “emergency” legislative session and other matters.

When asked what’s wrong with the legislative process, State Senator Larry George talked about how many big business people come to Salem not looking to be left alone by government, but looking for protection from their competitors and special favors for themselves. He explained that the Capitol is often filled with big business people and their lobbyists seeking to gain advantage over their small business counterparts. The small business types often aren’t even in the room because they don’t have the time or resources to play the political game; they’re too busy serving their customers and meeting payrolls.

Sen. George warned that in the current political climate these big business people are playing a dangerous game, and that at some point they will find themselves on the receiving end of government’s intrusive powers. Rather than wait for that point to arrive, he hopes they will change course and stand up for the freedom of all businesses, large and small, to serve consumers on a level playing field, where government enforces contracts but doesn’t write them.

As I listened to his description of how business and government interact in Salem, I was reminded of a powerful essay by a New York businessman who sees the same dangers when business and government interact in Washington, D.C. Read it yourself and gain a better understanding of what this capitalist calls…

The Paradox of the Statist Businessman

Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank.