20 March 2013

CostCo as Bootlegger

Rhymes With Cars & Girls | Crimson Reach | Another case of ‘liberals’ being against the little guy

In the course of making some larger point I’ve already forgotten, Matthew Yglesias said, casually,
Liberals tend to like Costco since it’s a relatively high-wage employer for the retail sector, and thus a vocal supporter of minimum wage hikes that would create problems for lower-paying competitors...
This struck me. I realize that here Yglesias is just doing his occasional stark-honesty thing. But it’s worth pausing to ask ourselves: Why do ‘liberals’ ‘like’ anticompetitive regulation? Why is that a given nowadays?
I like RWCG's "binning" theory.

My alternative explanation is that they don't 'like' anticompetitive regulation per se. Or at least this is not an example of that liking.

Instead it's simple tribalism: they want higher wage floors, CostCo wants higher wage floors, so they like CostCo. The anticompetitiveness never enters the equation. It's simply preference affiliation.

The progressives are like Baptists, thrilled to have anyone else come inside their revival tent. Even the Bootlegers. No, especially the Bootleggers, because that let's them throw it back in the face of their opponents. "See, even this guy thinks we have the right idea!"

Sadly, the Red Team usually lets them get away with this. Their rhetoric about free markets is so shallow, and they spend so much time hiding behind crony groups like the Chamber of Commerce, that they're powerless to defend against the Blue Team's "even this business supports our policy!" The GOP has so many arguments-from-authority that rest on incumbent businesses that they can't fight back when the Dems use the same bullshit against them.

Anytime you treat, e.g., "it's good for Dow Chemical, therefore it's good" as the beginning, middle and end of an argument you're inviting the other guys to do the same to "it's good for CostCo, therefore it's good."

Neither party has any interest in differentiating between "good for these businesses" and "good for free markets."

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