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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Teddy R's Folly

Thomas Sowell points out the foolishness of Teddy Roosevelt's monopoly busting jihad that landed him on top of Mount Rushmore and deep into the hearts of "progressives". Time Magazine has devoted its recent issue to Roosevelt's "accomplishments".

Sowell provides some historical perspective that most prices were drastically low on products made by the "Robber Barons":

The average price of steel rails fell from $68 to $32 before TR became president. Standard Oil, the most hated of the "monopolies," had in fact innumerable competitors and its oil prices were not only lower than those of most of its competitors, but was also falling over the years. It was much the same story in other industries called "monopolies."

The anti-trust laws which Theodore Roosevelt so fiercely applied did not protect consumers from high prices. They protected high-cost producers from being driven out of business by lower cost producers. That has largely remained true in the many years since TR was president.

Sowell also advises is that James Powell is soon to publish "Bully Boy" that will analyze the harmful effects of TR's policy. (Having read his "FDR's Folly", no doubt this new one will be an excellent addition to the library).

Speaking of "robber barons", I watched an interview on CSPAN3 last night with Peter Krass whose book on Andrew Carnegie looks very interesting. The Left must really hate rags to riches stories. They assume that in order to amass fortunes, people had to hurt others in the process. Part of this is imbedded in their false understanding of economics. They hold to the zero sum game concept that means anyone's accumulation comes at others' losses. But did not Carnegie's railroads help free slaves, transport food to the poor cheaply and help build the cities that can house millions of refugees?

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