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Let Newspapers Fail!

root-columnMembers of Congress have recently suggested that the federal government should undertake a billion dollar newspaper bailout. President Obama seems interested. Really? Why? Because the other bailouts worked out so well?

Congressional investigators have disclosed their doubts that AIG will ever be able to payback it’s government loans. At the same time, economists suggest that at least $20 billion of the government loans to U.S. automakers are lost forever. GM and Chrysler now constitute a $100 billion welfare program, that just happens to sell cars (that no one wants). Meanwhile the economy continues to flounder despite the $800 billion economic stimulus package (a bailout to more fat cat corporations and Obama contributors). This disaster just keeps on growing (because government is involved).

Now we’re discussing billion dollar government loans to newspapers? Who suggested that idea? Let me guess- perhaps newspaper publishers whispered in the ears of Democratic Senators and Congressmen who have accepted their contributions and editorial endorsements over the years. And what did they promise in return for a bailout? More contributions? More endorsements? Did they promise favorable news coverage of the pet programs of Obama and the Democratic Congress? Perhaps they promised negative news coverage (or complete blackouts) of the massive Tea Party rallies and protests gathering steam across America. Isn’t that called “pay for play?” Doesn’t the idea of newspaper bailouts threaten the very image of media impartiality and independence? Who is going to report on this scandal, if the entire media is compromised by one political party?

Bailouts are symbolic of government at its worst- showcasing incompetence, corruption, favoritism and arrogance. Let’s start with the simple idea that this is all unconstitutional. The Constitution bans government from getting involved in private enterprise- PERIOD. But setting aside that little problem, common sense alone should result in the banning of any more bailouts. Darwin was correct with his “survival of the fittest” philosophy. The free market and consumers should best determine who survives and who thrives- not government. Let’s look at the auto industry. Perhaps there are simply too many auto brands and dealerships. Perhaps thousands of auto dealerships need to go out of business in order to heal the industry and jumpstart the comeback. Perhaps 2500 auto dealerships nationwide instead of 5000 would make the survivors healthier, stronger, more profitable, built for the long haul. Perhaps if the auto industry contracted, the surviving players would create even more jobs in the long run. No pain, no gain- perhaps by keeping failing companies alive, we are hurting consumers and costing more jobs.

When airlines like TWA, Eastern and Pan Am went out of business, consumers simply turned to different brands, such as Southwest. When Zenith went out of business, consumers simply bought more Sonys. Did life as we know it in America cease to exist? Of course not. In the long run, these business failures were healthy for the system. Consumers benefitted from newer and less expensive alternatives. In any case, it isn’t government’s job to pick winners, or prevent failures. History proves politicians and government bureaucrats are poor (and corrupt) decision-makers.

What holds true for automakers, holds true for all businesses in a capitalist economy. Would the world have survived the loss of AIG? Certainly. Other insurance companies would have taken over their niche (and perhaps done a better job). We survived the loss of Wall Street behemoths such as Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch. Dozens of banks have failed in the past year, yet our banking industry has survived. Why didn’t we save each of them? Casino giants like MGM Mirage and Las Vegas Sands (Venetian) teetered on the verge of bankruptcy and insolvency. Yet Las Vegas survived. Even lawyers are struggling in this terrible economy. This contraction in the legal profession will put hundreds of law firms out of business, costing thousands of lawyers their jobs. Should we bailout lawyers to save the economy? (To the contrary- my educated guess is that the world will be a better place with fewer lawyers).

The same holds true for newspapers. Perhaps there were far too many newspapers in this country in the first place. Perhaps there weren’t enough advertisers to go around. Perhaps it’s healthier for the newspaper industry if a few hundred (or even a few thousand) newspapers go out of business. Perhaps the ones who survive will be stronger. Perhaps the failed newspaper companies will be replaced by media mavericks with better business models.

Or perhaps newspapers are a dying business, slated for extinction. Within a few short years, we may be all getting our news exclusively from the Internet. What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that up to consumers to decide? Why should government artificially prop up a failing industry that the consumer no longer wants to buy or read? That’s the point of capitalism- if consumers wanted to read those newspapers, they wouldn’t be going out of business. Why is it government’s job to prop up a company that is rejected by consumers in a free market economy?

But the biggest (and worst) danger of all in a possible newspaper bailout, is the potential for political corruption and censorship. If President Obama saves the New York Times, will that newspaper ever write a negative editorial about Obama? (Of course, it never has and never will- but that’s another commentary about liberal media bias). If the Democratic Congress saves newspapers in Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston and Philadelphia, would it surprise you to think that the editors of those newspapers will only endorse Democrats for Congress as a thank you to their benefactors? Or visa versa- perhaps a Democratic Congress will only choose to bailout newspapers that have reliably endorsed Democrats for decades. The potential for corruption, bias and censorship is startling. The potential to silence freedom of speech based on partisan politics and what can only be described as “open bribery” is enormous.

The bailout of banks, insurance companies, and automakers was unfair, immoral and unconstitutional. But the potential bailout of newspapers is the worst mistake of all. The very underpinnings of America- free speech, an unbiased and independent media, separation of editorial opinions from financial dependence- are all at stake. But perhaps that’s exactly what President Obama and the Democratic Congress are banking on. Afterall, once the Obama cabal controls the media, the rest of their plan falls easily into place.

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Wayne Allyn Root was the 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate. His new book is entitled, “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts.” For more of Wayne’s views, commentaries, or to watch his many national media appearances, please visit his web site at: www.ROOTforAmerica.com.

3 Responses »

  1. Hi
    You seem to have forgotten that when companies go out of business, governments lose tax revenue. That tax revenue is used for perks and wages, and likely some palm-greasings... for government employees (politicians). And besides, most politicians are capitalists. So, the old "whatever the market will bear" turned into "whatever the nation/world will bear". Scrape-off all the superfluous BS from capitalism's "whatever the market will bear" motto, and you get the truth... "whatever can be gotten away-with". It's part of "getting a leg up" which is a pyramid scheme thing, and if you look at the back of the USA dollar, you'll see a Colombian Freemason pyramid scheme symbol. And if you look at the location of the USA government (Headquarters of American Way/AmWay pyramid schemes Inc)... its found to be in a "district of Colombia" and not part of the USA. Servitude-infested pyramid schemes-o-inequality ALWAYS collapse, just like the many we failed at building in the playgrounds as kids. While the upper 1/3 are "heads in the clouds", the kids on the bottom get crushed from having the weight of the world's knees in their backs. That's what happens when a nation is stupid enough to not-outlaw "get a leg up" pyramid schemes like capitalism. Look to the USA military survival/supply system, and the USA public library system... for ownershipless, moneyless, Christian socialism done right. TRUE socialism is the act of NOT using economies/ownership/pyramiding/hierarchies. Socialism/communism is a wonderful thing... when done right/Christianish. Its why the English language's three classiest words/phenomenon... community, communion, communication... are based upon "commune"(-ism). Abolish economies (money, ownership, hierarchies/leg-up)... and you have removed the tools by which rat-racing pyramid schemes like AmWay/Capitalism... can exist. Just one law... making monetary discrimination illegal... and that'd be the end of pyramiding. Hurry.

    Best Regards

    Larry "Wingnut" Wendlandt
    MaStars - Mothers Against Stuff That Ain't Right
    (anti-capitalism-ists)
    Bessemer MI USA

  2. Anti-capitalistic rhetoric aside, the times are indeed changing and if the consumers of this land are not buying newspapers because they get their news other ways, then the newspapers should have looked at the trend and figured out a way to serve the people interested in reading from a paper. They should scale down the print side and face facts that print newspapers is a dying breed or figure out a way to get people interested in reading day old news again. But certainly don't bail them out with public money because they didn't show good business sense. Otherwise, why didn't Kodak get bailed out when the digital age started diminishing their film development division profits?

    • BOB! Its alive! :)

      I think SOME of the problem is that gathering news... became prohibitively expensive. We see no satcom ENG trucks in Afghanistan or Iraq, or anywhere else of interest for that matter. Tose trucks mostly sit parked. When your bureau can't gather news, they write local feel-good stories, or use AP/UPI wire services for their news... which is repeating and is often spun to fit the official propaganda line. Whenever you see newspapers and even e-news services... run the exact same stories as each other, then you can count on it all coming from one of the wire services, and no ENG is done by the news bureau. In fact, don't even bother calling them news bureaus anymore. Its more "news guy", and its just one of his many tasks. Its infeasible'n'implausible'n'impractical (inini) to do news gathering (and tons of other things) these days. Its been squeezed to death. Wrung out and hung out to dry... and crumble.