Killing the Competition
By: Mark Hyman
I don’t smoke cigarettes and don’t understand why anybody would. But that’s not for me to decide. Cigarettes — more specifically, the manufacture and sale of cigarettes — is an example of crony capitalism.
Roll-your-own shops are mom and pop operations where customers purchase loose tobacco and paper and make their own cigarettes. They’re cheaper than the name-brands. And they don’t have chemical additives.
Roll-your-own shops were not banned due to any health reasons. But due to competition. The paragraph that wiped out the shops was slipped into the bill by Montana Senator Max Baucus. Since 2000, Baucus has received $20,000 in PAC contributions from Altria – the $70 billion tobacco company.
The real issue isn’t about selling tobacco. It’s about the cozy relationship between members of Congress and the special interests they serve. There’s a world of difference between being pro-business and pro-free markets.
What’s to stop Congress from shutting down other mom & pop businesses? Lunch trucks, roadside stands, farmers’ markets, co-ops?
Mark Hyman hosts "Behind the Headlines," a commentary program for Sinclair Broadcast Group.