I used to bet football games, and play occasional hands of cards (I’m mostly retired). I did so mostly online – via a company based in Costa Rica.
Did I know the owner of the Costa Rican company? No. Did I know anyone in Costa Rica? No. Did I have any particular affinity for that nation? No. To quote Joe Walsh (the James Gang, solo and Eagles musician, not the former Congressman):
Ain’t never been there – they tell me it’s nice.
The Costa Rican company got my money because the World Wide Web allowed me to shop large swaths of the planet for the business I liked best.
Free trade is a fabulous thing. The Internet is a fabulous thing. The latter makes the former even easier – which is a fabulous thing.
Unless you have an old school brick-and-mortar business model – and insist on not changing as the world does.
For most stubborn businesses – that spells doom. If you’re an industry titan and can afford to pony up to politicians – you look to get the government to protect you from Reality.
It’s called Crony Socialism (it’s not Crony Capitalism – because it has nothing to do with capitalism).
And with this particular federal government – with a $4 trillion-a-year budget, countless huge regulatory hammers poised over every nook and cranny of the economy and politicians looking to deal – very bad things can happen.
It’s usually Democrats – the Huge Government Party – who use the Leviathan as a government-money-and-regulation fundraising weapon. For instance – remember the “green” “energy” (which isn’t green and provides nearly no energy) portion of the abysmally failed 2009 “Stimulus?”
It did nothing for energy or the economy. But it did a lot for Obama Backers.
Sadly, Republicans – allegedly Less Government’s representatives – are not immune to the pernicious infection that is Crony Socialism.
Meet casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Who has generated a personal net worth of $37 billion in large part with his brick-and-mortar gambling houses. Who sees U.S. online gambling as a threat to his empire – but doesn’t seem to see that the Internet extends WAY beyond our borders.
Who has been a huge Republican donor – he gave $49.8 million to center-right Super PACs just in 2012. And who is now looking for Crony Socialist legislative payback – someone to save him and his older-school businesses from the Reality that is the WORLD WIDE Web.
Sadly, some Elephants are willing to oblige.
The bill to ban most online gambling for money was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) earlier this year.
How exactly will said bill ban online gambling? By reworking a half-century-plus old law – to apply it to the 21st Century Internet economy. Behold the 1961 Federal Wire Act.
Here’s Senator Graham on video:
“Uhhh, yeah. We’re going back to the wiring act. The Wire Act prevented transfer of money for online gambling.”
Stop right there. How did a 1961 law prevent online…anything? There was no online.
The Senator continues:
“Even if you wanted to do online gambling you would have to have regulations, right?”
Stop right there. The Senator’s bill doesn’t regulate online gambling – it bans it.
And my personal online Costa Rican experience was just outstanding – without regulations. It was most likely much more outstanding precisely because there were no regulations.
Senator Graham seems a bit confused. What could be contributing to his un-clarity?
The solution to Crony Socialism is Less Government. If the Leviathan wasn’t quite so enormous, the cronyism from which we constantly suffer wouldn’t be quite so prevalent.
The less power and money government has to throw around – the less money will be campaign-contributed to swing government the contributors’ way.
It’s sad – and angering-ly pathetic – when allegedly Less Government Republicans look to expand the Leviathan further still to get some of that Crony Socialism money for themselves.
Editor’s Note: This first appeared in Red State.