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Friday, June 18, 2010

Christie Loves Monopolies

Someone recently was declaring to me that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a conservative. This makes no sense, not when considering the Christie administration's desire to select Rutgers University as the sole grower and provider of medical marijuana, and not when considering its recent decision to ban research gardening of oysters and shellfish in the New York Harbor and Raritan Bay.  

It makes no sense to describe someone as a conservative when he favors shutting down private activity because (as he asserts) the state government cannot protect the public.  

It makes no sense to describe someone as a conservative when he favors creating a public government monopoly, expanding government's power and ability to command and control the citizenry.  Each of these actions prohibits private activity and allows the activity only by a public entity, or not at all. This creates a government monopoly, pure and simple.  Either the government does "it" or no one does it at all. Of course, government being nothing more than a collection of individuals looking to score on connections, contracts and favors, this could be seen as just a new way to funnel more economic benefits to a select, or "connected," few.

It seems that when Christie was a prosecutor, this favor-trading was considered corrupt and possibly criminal. (We agree: it doesn't exactly pass the smell test.) Now that Christie is governor, such actions are ostensibly to protect the public. One suspects this is more using government power to create and benefit from a public monopoly.

Christie and the Republican establishment call this conservative. Others call it crony capitalism; yet others call it socialism for the rich (or connected). As a taxpayer and ordinary citizen, you get a restriction or ban on your activity, no freedom of choice to research environmental conditions in New York Harbor...and the bill for it from a government monopoly.   I call this the typical big-government, pro-bureaucracy mentality that has led the country into near-insolvency.   Maybe all we are seeing in New Jersey is a reshuffling of the deck chairs, instead of genuine reform.

How is this "conservative"?

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