Moonshine by 2nd Day Air

July 17, 2009 at 12:30 pm 1 comment

| Gabriel |

Jonathan Adler @ Volokh relays a very interesting and somewhat unpleasant story of how the regulatory sausage gets made that reveals breathtaking cynicism from several parties. Basically, UPS is subject to a more pro-union regulatory jurisdiction than FedEx and so UPS is cooperating with the unions to try to push FedEx into the same regulatory jurisdiction. Assuming for the sake of argument that pro-union regulations are a good thing, this is a classic “baptist and bootlegger” coalition in which an ideologically motivated party (pro-labor people) ally with a selfishly interested party (UPS) to reach a common end (unionizing FedEx, and thereby raising its prices to be less attractive relative to UPS).

Here’s where it gets ugly. The American Conservative Union sent a letter to FedEx offering to help defend FedEx for $2 million. Fair enough, the ACU probably isn’t swimming in fungible expenses and it’s trying to create a baptist and bootlegger coalition of its own between its own open shop ideological interests and FedEx’s selfish interests in keeping its labor costs low. What’s nasty is that when FedEx declined the offer, the ACU turned around and publicly sided with UPS. That is, the ACU wasn’t merely proposing an alliance of convenience on an issue on which it had a pre-existing principled position, but it was basically auctioning its services. This shouldn’t be surprising after the Abramoff scandal, which at its core was about the religious right soliciting bribes from gambling interests to freeze out competition, but it’s still amazing to see the “baptists” acting as cravenly as the “bootleggers.”

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To the philosopher equally false The Institutional Logic of War

1 Comment

  • 1. Jay Livingston  |  July 20, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    The ACU is firmly committed to free-market capitalism –they say so in their mission statement and other documents — so it looks like they were practicing what they preach: trying to sell their services. The trouble is that, in this case an perhaps elsewhere, it’s hard to tell the difference between free enterprise and a shakedown.


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