Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Government Non-Compete Clause

The Winter Olympics just wrapped up in Calgary and far too many spent far too many hours glued to a television watching hockey games, ice skating, and people going down hills on various types on skis, snowboards, sleds. Few of us have the talent to compete in these events or comprehend the commitment to training required to reach this exalted level of excellence. We do however, love to root for the them as they exhibit their skills and revel in the spirit of competition that they exemplify. 

It's a pity that this tremendous example of competitive fervor in western Canada did not inspire the government that some of these athletes represented to catch some of the spirit of the games. Our government it unfortunately appears, has a different concept of competition, either legislating against it or rigging the results of the game before it begins.

Take the US Postal Service as an example. Once a vital part of transmitting information from place to place in this country, it was founded in 1775 by Benjamin Franklin as an instrument vital to the national interests. Over the years however, it has become increasingly unnecessary, especially so in this age of the Internet. While the Postal Service grows less useful and increasingly more expensive however, it remains as a government mandated monopoly for everything but package delivery, and expends as much effort to insure this continued lack of competition as it does for anything else. Even the containers to which it delivers, though purchased and owned by citizens, are forbidden by law for use by any other entity.

Consider the education process as yet another example. Once all education in this country was a privately contracted business between citizens and teachers, with a fee being paid for a service provided. Today we have a massive education system run and funded by government money (you know, ours). And while there are still private education institutions at the university levels that are lauded, all other attempts to compete with what many now consider little more than government indoctrination camps are continuously attacked. Private schools face increasing scrutiny in spite of their successes at providing the same service at a consistently lower cost than their publicly funded counterparts, charter schools are being all but regulated out of existence to remove them from the game, and home schooling is now under increasing attack in spite of its successes. It seems that parents who take take a personal interest in their childrens' education are essential, unless they attempt to compete with the government monopoly of the process.

Now the federal government is looking closely at controlling the ways that banks and credit card companies compete for business, is attempting to all but eliminate the competition for health care insurance by becoming a player itself, and is attempting to enter into the competition of every business in every way by regulating the use of power and level of emissions in this country. And believe me when I tell you that once this two hundred pound gorilla enters the the field of play, all of the other players will be forced to step aside.

What we need to understand is that when it comes to deciding who is going to make the rules for the people of the country, the federal government does not much care to compete. Four years of the bloodiest war in this country's history (the Civil War) proved that pretty effectively. They were fought to declare very clearly that while People and States have rights guaranteed under the Constitution, those rights do not include challenging the government that their union formed (in spite of language that says otherwise in the Declaration of Independence). And while the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution declares that: “The powers delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” that's is not always the case. If you don't believe me, try running it by Washington DC when they want to set your speed limits or pass another unfunded mandate for Medicare spending.

While it appears that the citizens of this country glory in the spirit of competition, the government that they empowered has far less interest in it (at least where their operations are concerned). And while I cannot find one in The Constitution after constant study, there appears to be an invisible non-compete clause somewhere in this document that the government operates under.


Denise :) said...

Good stuff Tim, I love reading our blog, keep up the good work. :)

Denise :) said...

Your, not our. :)

Tim Higgins said...


Anyone willing to wade through the smoke in this blog is more than welcome to any of the credit (blame) that they want.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


I've often wondered what would happen to the mail delivery system if the brown truck and the white truck guys were allowed to compete in delivering the mail.

Imagine finding reusable packets of mail (and equally "fairly" priced unsolicited commercial mail) paying their fair share for the same service.

I would expect to find lower priced "real" mail and a whole lot less of mail of the kindling kind.