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Hypocritical Hillary

Saturday, October 8, 2016 13:34
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(Don Boudreaux)


Here’s a letter to Washington Monthly:

Hillary Clinton promises to turn back the clock on antitrust (“Hillary Clinton Finally Takes On Corporate Monopolists,” Oct. 4).  Because she’s a full-time politician, it’s no surprise that Ms. Clinton is apparently unaware of the vast scholarship that shows that the mid-20th-century antitrust policies that she now seems to champion in fact harmed consumers by stifling competition.*  But even Ms. Clinton should be embarrassed to complain, as she does, that “large corporations are amassing so much power in our economy,” while she simultaneously refuses to unequivocally endorse free trade.  After all, by subjecting American corporations to more competition from foreign rivals, free trade would diminish the corporate power that Ms. Clinton insists is so dangerous.

Because, as Ms. Clinton correctly says, “with less competition, corporations can use their power to raise prices [and] limit choice for consumers,” why has she over the past two or three years become more, rather than less, favorable toward protectionism?  How can she, with one breath, complain that American corporations face too little competition and, with the next breath, pander to the economically ignorant Sanders-Trump crowd by indicating that she, too, opposes free trade?

If Ms. Clinton really is concerned about corporate power, she would come out clearly and without qualification in support of free trade.  The fact that she does not do so is virtual proof that she is not to be believed.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

* See, for example, almost any issue of the Journal of Law & Economics from its start in 1958 through the mid-1980s. See also Dominick Armentano’s 1982 book, Antitrust and Monopoly.


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