It is – sadly, always – a clash of two titans. The private sector and government. There are claims made that it is – or can be – a symbiotic relationship. The free market and government – walking hand-in-hand into a brighter tomorrow.
But it is never symmetrical – it is always adversarial. In large part because it isn’t a fair fight. The government gets to bleed the private sector – they get to tax and regulate the opposition.
Imagine McDonald’s getting to take money from Wendy’s. And impose tens of thousands of regulations on how Wendy’s does business. If the opposing pitcher is also the umpire calling balls and strikes – how’s that game going to turn out?
Which is why we must always rigorously adhere to the Yellow Pages Rule:
If you can find it in the Yellow Pages (or on YellowPages.com) – the government shouldn’t do it.
The private sector creates – to the tune of $17-trillion-a-year. The government gets all its operational capital by leeching the private sector – because it creates nothing.
The private sector has given us electricity. And the Internet. And (cell) phones. And cars. And planes. And… And creates enough wealth to support professional sports. And music. And sculpture. And….
The government has given us ObamaCare. And the Veterans Administration. And the fabulous cybersecurity of the Office of Personnel Management. And Benghazi. And Fast and Furious. And…. It’s $18+ trillion in debt – and climbing.
I know for which participant I am rooting.
Our nation’s farmers know this dichotomy all too well. Yesterday we had examples of both the private sector and government doing what they respectively do.
The Internet of Things and the Future of Farming
Lance Donny, founder of an agricultural technology start-up, OnFarm Systems, gave a wide-ranging talk that laid out the history of farming and presented the case for its data-driven future. Inexpensive sensors, cloud computing and intelligent software, he suggested, hold the potential to transform agriculture and help feed the world’s growing population.
Venture capitalists seem to share some of Mr. Donny’s optimism. In the first half of this year, venture investment in so-called agtech start-ups reached $2.06 billion in 228 deals, according to a study published last week by AgFunder, an equity crowdfunding platform for agricultural technology. The half-year total was close to the $2.36 billion raised in all of 2014, which was a record year….
The benefits should be higher productivity and more efficient use of land, water and fertilizer….
Higher yields and less waste…can be achieved with better information on weather, soil conditions and market demand for specific crops – all delivered via cellphone.
The private sector: Higher productivity – and more efficiencies. Explosive growth – with beneficial lessen-ings. More – with less.
Compare – and contrast:
President Barack Obama Orders Steeper Cuts from Power Plants
Obama was installing the core of his ambitious and controversial plan to drastically reduce overall U.S. emissions, as he works to secure a legacy on fighting global warming.
Set aside the fact that Congress never authorized any of this – which makes it yet another unConstitutional unilateral fiat. Set aside the fact that there hasn’t been any global warming at all since 1998.
Set aside the fact that even if there were any global warming – and it was man-caused – what the President is imposing won’t move the thermometer at all. Set aside the fact that it is especially insignificant when massive industrial countries like China and India rightly refuse to join us in committing economic suicide.
What the President’s latest imposition will absolutely do is “necessarily skyrocket” the cost of electricity. How very government: All pain – no pleasure. All down – no up. We don’t grow and get better – we shrink and diminish.
How do our farmers (and everyone else) take maximum advantage of the free market’s rapid developments – if government is exploding the costs to power it all?
Farms use a LOT of electricity – for the Internet of Things and lots of other things. The government just dramatically tightened its stranglehold on electricity production.
The private sector giveth – and government taketh away.
This first appeared in Human Events and Red State.