A better term for rent-seeking

John Stossel has a more intuitive term for economic rent-seeking (which I wrote about here, here and here).

His term is freeloading.

His latest FoxNews television special goes by the title Freeloaders and he too harps on GE for using rent-seeking, or freeloading, as a business strategy.

He also runs the gamut on the freeloading and gives illustrative examples that includes street beggars (he tests whether the ‘will work for food’ signs are truthful), farm subsidies, green energy and corporate welfare like GE.

Stossel says that GE declined to be interviewed for the show.  Too bad.

Stossel did show footage from an interview with a CEO of an ethanol company that agreed to be interviewed when Stossel covered the same subject 13 years ago.  The CEO said:

Why should I care?

I agree with that CEO.  See my previous post.  He shouldn’t care. If the government offers a benefit he’d be stupid and out of a job if he passed on it.  He’s only responding to incentives and he’s probably responding to them very much like many of us would.

Several of Stossel’s guests do touch on where the blame lies.  With us.

We’ve allowed a system to emerge where hundreds of millions, if not more, is spent on lobbying by special interest groups that are looking to freeload.

They’re either looking to get a direct piece of the immense flow of taxpayer funds or they’re looking for government to grant them an advantage that will very likely favor that company and hurt consumers, though it will spun as the opposite.

2 thoughts on “A better term for rent-seeking

    • Hi Alex – Great point. I should have been clearer my point. Whether he cares or not doesn’t matter much to me. What matters, and I think more deserving of our consideration because it’s the cause (I think), is the incentives he has. We can try to instill pride to fix the situation, but that probably won’t be as effective as removing the incentive.

      Do you see a difference in what he does and what we do as homeowners by taking the mortgage interest deduction on our tax return?

      Thanks for the comment!


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