As a conservative, what would you say about a billionaire using his political clout and massive wealth to pay high profile Federal officials to use the power of the Federal government to regulate away a potential business rival?
If you are like me, you’d find that maddening and another example of how our federal government “works.”
Well that is happening again and in a way that you might not realize. And there is something you can do about it that won’t cost you a dime.
Over the past months, a billionaire casino mogul has been dumping money into political coffers (including Senator Lindsey Graham) to ban online poker and gambling to protect his bricks and mortar poker and gambling establishment. Why is this a problem?
Imagine for a moment that in 1999, a group of brick-and-mortar retailers lobbied the federal government to issue an outright ban on Internet shopping. The reason – with all the time Americans spend on computers, we certainly couldn’t control ourselves if we had a shopping mall in every home.
We would undoubtedly spend too much at Amazon.com, sending ourselves spiraling into debt and destroying the fabric of our country. Of course, brick-and-mortar retailers were not that bold. But, the folks who want the federal government to institute an outright ban on Internet gaming are nothing if not bold.
The website of the main coalition boasts a mission of protecting American citizens from an almost-certain downfall, if mostly because Americans won’t be able to help ourselves. But, underneath this supposed philanthropic mission – and made obvious by the example above – is the not-so-subtle quest to hold onto profits.
Led by a billionaire casino mogul, brick-and-mortar casino magnates drafted legislation to crush online competition. Yesterday Republican Lindsay Graham, along with co-sponsor Democrat Diane Feinstein, introduced this bill in the Senate. The bill has also been introduced in the House of Representatives.
Comedian George Carlin once wrote that “Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” And if Diane Feinstein is on board with this idea, you should immediately be wary. This legislation is tantamount to the federal government endorsing one industry and group of companies over others – a clear violation of free-market principles that underscore competition and innovation.
But perhaps even worse than a full-scale ban of Internet gaming, the bill contains carve-outs for special interests to which the ban would not apply – horse racing and fantasy sports. The carve-outs are an obvious way to not make too many powerful enemies, while also solidifying the ability to tap future markets. The casino operators and their friends must not be as opposed to online gaming as they pretend to be.
That is because it is not about the right or wrong of online gaming. It is simply an effort to protect the gambling interests with the deepest pockets and the most influence on political figures. This is how policy gets made in Washington D.C. Not based on principle or good policy; but who has the money to fund political campaigns.
Perhaps most concerning from a policy perspective, the bill represents a federal power grab over issues traditionally delegated to the states – each of which currently determines gaming policy inside its own borders – while simultaneously opening Pandora’s box for further regulation of the Internet. This is not really about the right or wrong of gambling on line. This is about the kind of shady politics that continues to destroy the fabric of our Republic.
The slippery slope that is the federal government’s power grab subscribes to Newton’s First Law of Motion – an object in motion stays in motion; and an object at rest stays at rest. Take education for instance. It is doubtful that when the federal government gave its first $1 to a state for education programs, one would envision a world of top-down regulation. But, $1 snowballed into $100, which snowballed into more than $100 billion.
It is time to preserve federalism and free-market competition and to stop the government from picking winners and losers in the private sector. And that means rejecting the latest overt attempt at crony capitalism.
So what can you do?
You can help stop Republicans from doing additional harm to the Republican brand by stopping this effort before it starts. Contact your Congressman and Senators and let them know that you oppose this ridiculous “ban” and allow the states decide if they will allow this in their states.
You can get involved in this effort directly by going to http://alwaysbetonfreedom.org/ and signing their on line pledge. The only way that Republican’s will stop putting politics above principles is if you make them. And we need you help today.