The Great Progressive Era in United States History(1890-1920) was characterized by the enactment of antitrust laws. Presidents of this era were concerned about American consumers being cheated by big monopoly industries like the Standard Oil company, now known as Exxon-Mobil.
What is a monopoly? According to www.investopedia.com, “A monopoly is a situation in which a single company or group owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service. By definition, monopoly is characterized by an absence of competition, which often results in high prices and inferior products.”
Wikipedia further explains: “Advocates of strong antitrust laws argued the American economy to be successful requires free competition and the opportunity for individual Americans to build their own businesses. As Senator John Sherman put it, ‘If we will not endure a king as a political power we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life.’ Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act almost unanimously in 1890, and it remains the core of antitrust policy.”
Republican President Benjamin Harrison, who was a strong advocate for competition, signed the Sherman Antitrust Act into law. Republican President and renowned “trust buster” Teddy Roosevelt put the new law into action, suing over 45 companies for monopolistic activities.
Democrat President Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921, asked for and received revisions and clarification from Congress regarding the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 clarified the Sherman Act of 1890 by naming certain business tactics illegal, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The progressives of today are not cut from the same cloth as Harrison, Roosevelt or even Wilson.
This modern generation of progressives has foolishly embraced monopoly as the ultimate panacea to all that ails humanity. However, this ultimate monopoly is not one of business or corporations.
This ultimate monopoly created for the “common good” is being brought to us in form of BIG government. Remember, “monopoly is characterized by an absence of competition, which often results in high prices and inferior products.” One does not have to look far for evidence of how our BIG government monopoly is failing us. Peter Shumlin’s $200 million dollar intrusion into the health care industry in Vermont and his failed implementation of single payer is one example. Another example would be the current Vermont government’s monopolization of K-12 education and the resulting oppressive high taxes and substandard student achievement. The most frightening example can be found in the chaos and deprivation taking place in socialist Venezuela.
Stuart Lindberg, Cavendish