Goldberg is no fan of ‘stakeholders’

Jonah Goldberg explores for National Review Online readers the value of subjecting entrenched interests to competition.

Down with stakeholders.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out against affordable health care for kids. Retail medical clinics — at drugstores, Walmarts, etc. — are cropping up across the nation, thanks in part to the expected longer waiting times and out-of-pocket expenses stemming from Obamacare. And the pediatricians don’t like it. “While retail clinics may be more convenient and less costly, the AAP said they are detrimental to the concept of a ‘medical home,’ where patients have a personal physician who knows them well and coordinates all their care,” reported the Wall Street Journal. You say “medical home,” I say locked-in customers. Tomayto-tomahto.

The pediatricians have a point, albeit a weak one. You can’t say the same about teachers’ unions, whose top priorities are to take care of their members, even when such care comes at the expense of students. In New York City, the passion from teachers’ unions is all aimed at pay raises, killing charter schools, and keeping rules that make it harder to get rid of incompetents, criminals, and even, occasionally, sexual predators. …

… When I say that this dynamic is endemic to society, I do not mean endemic under President Obama — or under America or under capitalism. It is a natural human tendency. The augurs of ancient Rome fought any attempt to break their monopoly on divine prophecy by studying the flights and entrails of birds. The Luddites declared war on the machines, long before anyone had heard of Skynet, because the Luddites were market incumbents being ousted by new, and better, technology. Taxi drivers are trying to use the law to fend off companies like Uber. Every occupational group that pushes for the licensing or regulating of its industry does it, at least in part, to keep competition out.

The standard left-wing complaint is to blame only big business and capitalism. But if you don’t think that exact sort of thing happens under socialist and Communist systems, you don’t know anything about those systems.

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