The expenditure of resources in order to bring about an uncompensated transfer of goods or services from another person or persons to one’s self as the result of a “favorable” decision on some public policy….Examples of rent-seeking behavior would include all of the various ways by which individuals or groups lobby government for taxing, spending and regulatory policies that confer financial benefits or other special advantages upon them at the expense of the taxpayers or of consumers or of other groups or individuals with which the beneficiaries may be in economic competition.
In public choice theory, rent-seeking is an attempt to obtain economic rent, (i.e., the portion of income paid to a factor of production in excess of that which is needed to keep it employed in its current use), by manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by creating new wealth. One example is spending money on political lobbying in order to be given a share of wealth that has already been created.
And while the first blast at Rent-Seeking Walmart’s new stores has petered out, it is an EXCELLENT, encapsulated example of Rent-Seeking by those waving the Union Label. There are those in DC that will do anything to keep out the Big Box stores, especially Walmart. The Unionistas claim that Walmart doesn’t pay it workers well enough (er, then why do they work there? but that’s for another post). So, the Biz-Haters and the Unions wanted to have a “living wage” restriction placed upon Walmart via the Large Retailer Accountability Act that would have put their entry level labor costs 25% over the competition:
The bill would require retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating District stores of at least 75,000 square feet to pay their employees a “living wage” — no less than $12.50 an hour in combined wages and benefits. The proposal includes an exception for employers who collectively bargain with their employees, and existing employers have four years to come into compliance under the law.
Notice the store size (only Big Boxers). Notice the corporate sales limit (er, Walmart is WELL north of that). OK, that would be fair – if a town has decided what it’s “look and feel” is to be, so be it. But notice the “Rent-Seeking”:
“includes an exception for employers who collectively bargain with their employees“
In other words, the unions (who have tried to get into Walmart for decades) use the force of Government to seek higher wages than what they can otherwise. That is the classic example of Rent-Seeking. We see the swirling “scratch mine, scratch your’s” here – the evil confluence of unions, politicians, and all-around Walmart haters. They can’t beat them in the Marketplace – and government has become so large, so intrusive, and so far from the Founders vision of the sanctity of Private Property, no one is safe. And this is just one example. I already brought up the Milk Cartel. And just look at all the lobbyists just for Farm Bill and the nascent Food Stamp bill – yet another example that if Government didn’t do so much, and if so much wasn’t at stake simply at politicians whim, do you really think so much money would be spent to influence those politicians?
Those Greedy For Power Politicians – when programs are so large and so much money is at stake, how much difference is there between them and the old aristocracy?
PS: “Large Retailer Accountability Act” – er, accountable to WHO? Certainly to customers – or customers would not voluntarily purchase their goods (and their annual sales are about $470 BILLION – customers must be satisfied). Certainly to staff – or they would not continue to work there OR (given the high turnover in retail anyways) continue to seek employment there. Certainly to the legal system – they must follow all laws and regulations (even moronic ones like the above).
But to Unions? Nope.
To Politicians? Nope. But it is only because politicians now wield great power do they THINK that others should be accountable to them. This is call Tyranny – when public servants fancy themselves to be Public Masters in deed (for they would never say it in word – or at least, only the really stupid ones).