If we really did have a free market

Wal-Mart loses $187 million appeal

Good:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc has lost its appeal of most of a $187.6 million verdict for Pennsylvania hourly workers who accused the world’s largest retailer of denying them meal and rest breaks.

A three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania on Friday said there was sufficient evidence for Philadelphia jurors in 2006 to conclude that Wal-Mart’s practices violated state wage and hour laws. It also said Wal-Mart’s own internal review uncovered violations regarding “off-the-clock” work.

I’m glad to see the government helping to ensure protections for these workers. The “free market” (not that we have one) could never have corrected this wrong. Indeed, this isn’t even a wrong in the eyes of free market capitalists. Only government has the power to fix these sort of large-scale abuses that would so easily go by the wayside otherwise. Thank goodness it’s here.

Barton is in line with the Republican Party

As everyone knows by now, Rep. Joe Barton apologized to BP for the $20b fund Obama strong armed from the company. The reason Obama was able to do this was because of the non-free market style economy the U.S. has which allows for the threat of greater, government-enforced penalties. Of course, the free market would be entirely flaccid in trying to wrest any real funds from BP. Thank goodness the U.S. has never had such an awful, awful system.

But Republicans and their sister Teabagging party wish we had a free market system. It sounds like liberty – despite the inevitability of monopolies, limited (if any) rights for workers, and no real enforcement of safety standards, retirement plans, or anything else that makes modern life comfortable. But it sure does sound swell. And that’s why they like it. It isn’t that it actually makes a majority of people happy or that it results in a strong economy. In fact, one of the few free market economies – Hong Kong – has only been able to experience any success because of the supporting structure of communist China. On their own, free markets will fail. If they don’t, the well-being of the people subjected to the whims of the few who become powerful will come under greater and greater strain over time.

But forget all that. It still sounds nice. Liberty! Boy, oh, boy! That’s why Rep. Barton made his apology.

What Obama managed to accomplish with BP runs counter to the free market principles the Republicans and Teabaggers support (until they need/want roads, schools, a place to put the homeless, a war on drugs, etc, etc). Rep. Barton is perfectly in line with the Republican Party on this one. Obviously they ran away screaming because of the political fallout of the situation, but if everything they’ve ever said was in the least sincere, then they hate that BP is being forced to pay.