A Different Kind of Blog

news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

Shhhh! Don’t Wake the Justice Department Antitrust Folks While We Bail Out America’s Companies

Posted by tothewire on December 9, 2008


Too big to fail. “Congressman, our company is too big to fail.”

The hot new song all the kids from Wall Street to Capitol Hill are singing these days is “Too big to fail.” It’s got a brand new beat but I really can’t dance to it.

“Too big to fail” sounds dangerous. What happens when a company that is “too big to fail” actually does fail? Does a city fail? Does a state fail? Will America itself actually fail when a company “too big to fail” finally fails? Do you believe any of it?

Maybe the problem is they are too big to succeed and that’s why they are failing.

Since national survival itself appears now to be tied to corporate survival, you’d think the government would have someone watching to make sure a company never achieves the critical mass of “too big to fail.” — Perhaps someone at the Department of Justice. Maybe we can call it the Anti-Trust Unit.

So who has been asleep over at the DOJ-Anti-Trust unit while so many American companies have become “too big to fail”?

Thomas O. Barnett ran the Anti-Trust unit from 2005 until last month when Deborah A. Garza took over. She has been with the Anti-trust unit on and off since 1984.

Let’s call them “Rip Van Winkle” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

Before those two began their government funded nap, if a CEO was overheard bragging that his company had so much market share it was “too big to fail” the Justice Department would slap a lawsuit on them faster than they did when Bill Gates launched Windows and Internet Explorer.

How in the world have so many companies become “too big to fail” with no action by the DOJ Anti-Trust unit?

If you are unfamiliar with the bureaucratic mission of the Anti-Trust unit, let’s take a look at what their Web site says they do:

Essentially, [the Anti-Trust] laws prohibit business practices that unreasonably deprive consumers of the benefits of competition, resulting in higher prices for inferior products and services.

Anti-Trust laws protect competition. Free and open competition benefits consumers by ensuring lower prices and new and better products. In a freely competitive market, each competing business generally will try to attract consumers by cutting its prices and increasing the quality of its products or services. Competition and the profit opportunities it brings also stimulate businesses to find new, innovative and more efficient methods of production.

I count a form of the word “competition” six times. That’s the Free Market. The good businesses survive and the bad ones don’t. The
Anti-trust guys are supposed to step in when arrangements artificially prop up the failing business causing consumers to pay higher prices for worse products.

These bailouts propping up bad businesses are contrary to the DOJ’s mission.

Are the shades drawn over at the Department of Justice? What’s it going to take to get Deborah Garza out of her pajamas and over to Capitol Hill to testify against bailouts?

Check out this other little ditty from the DOJ-ATU Web site:

The Clayton Act prohibits mergers or acquisitions that are likely to lessen competition.

The Anti-Trust unit has moved to stop such potential global economy killers as the merger between two newspapers in Charleston West Virginia and standardized test writers down in Texas. Think of the horrors if those mergers were allowed to happen.
Yet here we are today, with the Big 3 automakers panhandling Congress because each is already too big to fail, threatening to merge and become the Big 2 with not even a snore heard from the antitrust folks.

I hate to break it the protectors of capitalism, but merging failing businesses with government money is not protecting capitalism, it’s trading it for “corporatism.”

What will the new line of cars from this government-business cartel be called? The “D.C./CEO hybrid?” We can drive it around in search of the shrinking free market.

Rather than Barnett and Garza monitoring the growth of companies now being bailed out by Johnny Q. Public, they seem to like to give speeches. Google searches on their names and the word “speech” gives a combined 1,800 hits.

Congress should invite them up to speak about the complicated issues involved in capitalism, business growth and antitrust.

Unfortunately Congress is too busy getting to the bottom of the earth-shattering issue of whether auto industry CEOs traveled to Washington by plane, train or automobile.

Good grief.

By Tommy De Seno



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: