Correcting the Record

Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: Your case against the F.T.C.'s opposition to Whole Foods' merger with Wild Oats is 100 percent economically wholesome (" Whole Foods Fiasco," Dec. 31). Before the antitrustinistas batter us further with their self-righteous restrictions, I challenge them to present a single compelling instance of an actual merger that resulted in consumer harm. Just one. I've studied business and antitrust history for many years and can think of not one such case. Given the paucity (to put it mildly) of evidence that free-market mergers harm... continue reading
Editor, The New York Times 229 West 43rd St . New York , NY 10036 To the Editor: Like many people, Ben Stein was assured that Bernard Madoff "never lost money" (" They Told Me That Madoff Never Lost Money," Dec. 28). Unlike many people, Ben Stein wisely understood this assurance to be nonsense. Americans should apply Mr. Stein's wisdom to the greatest Ponzi scheme going: Social Security. Many pols and pundits assure us that this program is a great financial deal for ordinary Americans. But in principle Social Security is identical to Mr. Madoff's fraudulent scheme: rather than generate... continue reading
Editor, The New York Times 229 West 43rd St . New York , NY 10036 To the Editor: Bravo for Roger Cohen's explanation that market economies work by creating new firms, new products, new processes – and that these creations are both the source of our prosperity and that they require that old firms, old products, and old processes be allowed to die (" Pan Am Dies, America Lives," Dec. 18). The still-unmatched explanation of this capitalist process was penned in 1942 by Joseph Schumpeter. He is worth quoting: "Capitalism, then, is by nature a form or method of economic... continue reading
Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: You rightly dismiss the argument that a government bailout of GM, Ford, and Chrysler is justified by the concern that people won't buy cars from companies in Chapter 11 (" Mitch McConnell's Finest Hour," Dec. 13). People will indeed not buy cars from companies that might not be around in a few years. But this fact argues against, not for, a bailout. Precisely because – unlike Chapter 11 – a bailout postpones the need for these companies to restructure themselves into more-competitive producers, it... continue reading
Editor, The New York Times 229 West 43rd St . New York , NY 10036 To the Editor: Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino said Dec. 12 that " Under normal economic conditions we would prefer that markets determine the ultimate fate of private firms. However, given the current weakened state of the U.S. economy, we will consider other options if necessary – including use of the TARP program – to prevent a collapse of troubled automakers" (" White House Open to Using Bailout Money to Aid Detroit," Dec. 12, 2008). In other words, the administration thinks that the market is the... continue reading
Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: Thomas Frank laments that "market logic" promotes transactions that he finds unappealing, such as surrogate-mother contracts (" Rent-a-Womb Is Where Market Logic Leads," Dec. 10). True, the ability of men and women to transact in any ways that they choose is, as long as those transactions don't violate the same rights of others, a feature of the market. And it is a gleaming, glorious feature, largely because it protects ordinary people from the frenzied arrogance of Mr. Frank and his ilk who presume that... continue reading
Editor, Baltimore Sun Dear Editor: Dan Neil wants to nationalize General Motors, in part because "without big subsidies, there is no way in the near term to build these [electric] vehicles and make a reasonable profit, because of the stubbornly high cost of advanced batteries" (" Let's nationalize GM," Dec. 8). Neil makes several wrongheaded assumptions. For example, he assumes that the future benefits of such a battery would outweigh the current costs of using them. But there's no way he can know this to be true. These batteries cost a lot today because their production requires an extraordinary amount... continue reading
Editor, Baltimore Sun Dear Editor: You opine that Detroit automakers "need to explain in detail to Congress how they intend to eliminate thousands of uneconomical dealerships, swiftly bring their labor costs closer to what Toyota pays its workers in this country, and quickly produce more energy-efficient cars that Americans will want to buy" (" Selling American cars," Dec. 4). No. These companies deserve investment funds only if they're able to make cars that will sell AND can demonstrate this ability to private investors. Congress is manned by people who specialize in winning popularity contests called "elections." These are not people... continue reading
Editor, Toledo Blade Dear Editor: Detroit auto executives advocate "government getting a stake in the auto companies that would allow taxpayers to share in future gains if they recover" (" GM exec: bankruptcy not an option for industry," Dec. 3). I remind these executives that each American is already perfectly free and able, with no action from government, to "get a stake" in these companies. Of course, few Americans now choose to do so – a fact that reflects the considered judgment of millions of people that these companies are unworthy recipients of investment funds. If millions of investors, spending... continue reading
Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: Detroit auto executives persistently plead for Uncle Sam to bail them out – in part from the consequences of regulatory burdens that Uncle Sam himself imposed (" Auto Makers Detail Restructuring Plans," Dec. 2). This unsavory spectacle calls to mind an observation by the great Depression-era journalist Dorothy Thompson, who wrote during the height of the New Deal that "Unfortunately our policies are made by people who are often sadistic anti-capitalists ... They seem to think that the way to socialize any industry is... continue reading