Regulatory capture is how fascism hits your doorstep

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has raised the issue of regulatory capture in the matter of pharmaceutical company "capture" of the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all powerful agencies in the public health sphere.  He always reminds us of the financial entanglements and the resultant political relationships that are combined to make regulatory capture, a cooperative relationship that approaches collusion and the appearance of an old enemy of our representative Republic: fascism.  He says it is destroying American freedoms and even economic vitality and must be extinguished.

That administrative state is even more of a problem for the citizens because of regulatory capture — the control of agency activities created by the industries or non-governmental agencies that influence agency regulatory activity to the disadvantage of the citizen-consumer.

The sham appearance of agency review by supposedly independent adviser experts is akin to regulatory capture, but there is a lot more discussed in an article by Jeffrey Tucker, founder of the Brownstone Institute and regular columnist for the Epoch Times.

Mr. Tucker starts his essay with examples of how small businesses and farmers and general activity are impaired and made more expensive by the administrative/regulatory state.  The regulatory state has its allies in the regulated areas.  The trend to mergers and acquisitions makes for large entities that have the ability to influence government much more than the middle-class person, professional, or small business–owner.  Mr. Tucker provides some detail: 

  • The production, processing, transportation, and sale of food are heavily regulated, and that results in large interests controlling food with quasi-monopolistic power.
  • The Food and Drug Administration is heavily dependent on the pharmaceutical companies for its budget.  That means the Pharma dog wags the FDA tail on many matters.
  • The behavior of the FDA in the matter of COVID vaccines and boosters is a clear example of Pharma influence.
  • The Department of Labor is heavily influenced by the labor unions, reducing competition and increasing costs.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is in an incestuous relationship with Wall Street and big investment houses.
  • The Federal Reserve is a tool of the banking industry.
  • The Department of Defense is in a long-time intimate relationship with the suppliers of planes, ships, mobile platforms, munitions, and tech companies.
  • Communications, environmental concerns, and trade are all heavily influenced by government and private relationships.

Mr. Tucker provides a longer list of captures but doesn't mention that the revolving door of employment is also a major factor in the collusion — people move from public to private jobs and back and get rich because of their government connections that are beneficial to companies and private interests of all kinds in the profit-making and non-profit sectors.

All told, this system constitutes not a free market but a corporatist structure more worthy of Mussolini's Italy than the country that once embraced free enterprise. Once you look carefully at what's really going on under the hood of the regulatory state, you can't help but be stunned.

Tucker suggests that the government is too big — well, that is an understatement — and it is taking us into extraordinary risk territory with excessive borrowing and inflationary monetary policies.     

John Dale Dunn is a retired emergency physician and inactive attorney in Brownwood, Texas.

Image via Picryl.

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