The Progressives formalized crony capitalism early in their reign with the Sherman Antitrust Act, originally intended to protect us from corporate greed, or at least promoted that way. Progressives have always seemed worried about corporate greed but have seldom appeared to notice the greed of politicians.
In any case, big business gained an increased interest in funding politicians’ campaigns soon after the government began to regulate its corporations. The mutual back-scratching has proceeded ever since at every level of governance, now built into laws as well as custom. It’s a win-win game, right? Businessmen get protection from competition and politicians get campaign money. Both are happy, with nothing to lose.
Protected businessmen though, charge higher prices; they aren’t facing competition. Consumers lose, with a lower standard of living imposed on them…but mostly, they don’t notice or know enough to realize they’re being suckered by the guys and gals for whom they faithfully vote.
A recent story: Monks Fight to Sell Caskets in Louisiana encapsules the scene for you, if you’re interested. Local government is the factor here, and a local monastery. Both small enough to comprehend; the large scale Federal version is bigger, but not different.
See, monks work, just like you and I and everybody else; they have to support themselves. Some famously make liqueurs and wines; those in our story, make caskets. You market the skills available, right? If you’ve ever ordered a casket, you know they must be made of gold, silver, ebony and mahogany; they cost nearly as much as stuff ordered by the Department of Defense. That maybe reflects the fact that, in Louisiana anyway, only registered funeral directors (who must be licensed) are allowed to market the things. Cozy, huh? Only to protect you, of course. From something; I’m not sure exactly what.
But the monks aren’t licensed funeral directors, so when they started selling caskets at (gasp) competitive prices, the mighty state leaped in to protect its citizens with court orders, threats etc. Any preceding angry calls to politicians from fat cat coffin makers are unreported, for some reason.
It isn’t just burial boxes; your entire economy is infested with this sort of thing, from farm to factory and at every level of government. You get to pay for it in everything you buy, especially for instances, for milk, sugar, corn, (and everything containing corn) and anything used for “defense” (ask any senior citizen about $600 toilet seats) or nowadays, healthcare. People are starting to notice the scenario in college education, too.
When it’s your turn to die and your family can’t afford to bury you in Louisiana, recall those monks standing by, anxious to provide you a nice, affordable coffin, (complete with computer and cell phone if desired) but prevented from doig it by your caring, compassionate politicians.