HBO Real Time host Bill Maher went on a bizarre rant Friday against conservatives for having an “unshakable” belief in free markets, which Maher says is in error because big business and Washington have snuffed out competition by engaging in crony capitalism.
“Big business is the new big government,” Maher declared proudly. “It is the massive, unwieldy bureaucracy that just doesn’t work.”
After cracking a few jokes about shoddy customer service, Maher added: “That’s theproblem with the free market today, it’s not free or much of a market.”
Maher’s shtick was odd for its apparent lack of awareness that Tea Party conservatives and Libertarians have, for years, blasted Washington’s permanent political class for engaging in the kinds of crony capitalism that erode true free market competition. By engaging in what economists call “rent-seeking” behaviors–using lobbying to kill off competition and bag taxpayer-funded contracts or market share–corporations and Washington insiders diminish the value free markets produce.
That is why the Tea Party and others take both Democrats and Republicans, as well as politically-connected companies, to task for aligning in ways that siphon taxpayer dollars in pursuit of corporate profits, political donations, and personal benefit for politicians and their family members.
Apparently, Maher is unaware that a mainstay of Tea Party and Libertarian economic belief is the notion that one should be “pro free markets,” not “pro business.”