Who has more power over you: rich business owners or government officials?

Police arrest pro-life student
Police arrest pro-life student

Economist Walter Williams answers the question in the Daily Signal.

He writes:

Let’s look at the power of the rich. With all the money that Gates, Bezos, and other super-rich people have, what can they force you or me to do?

Can they condemn our houses to create space so that another individual can build an auto dealership or a casino parking lot? Can they force us to pay money into the government-run—and doomed—Obamacare program? Can they force us to bus our children to schools out of our neighborhood in the name of diversity? Can they force us to buy our sugar from a high-cost domestic producer rather than from a low-cost Caribbean producer?

The answer to all of these questions is a big fat no.

You say, “Williams, I don’t understand.” Let me be more explicit.

Bill Gates cannot order you to enroll your child in another school in order to promote racial diversity. He has no power to condemn your house to make way for a casino parking lot.

Unless our elected public officials grant them the power to rip us off, rich people have little power to force us to do anything. A lowly municipal clerk earning $50,000 a year has far more life-and-death power over us. It is that type of person to whom we must turn for permission to build a house, ply a trade, open a restaurant, and do myriad other activities.

It’s government people, not rich people, who have the power to coerce us and rip us off. They have the power to make our lives miserable if we disobey. This coercive power goes a long way toward explaining legalized political corruption.

We have much more to fear from big government than we do from big corporations, and this is granting that big corporations are bad. There’s no question that big corporations are generally very liberal, and opposed to social conservatives, and even fiscal conservatives. But what can they really do to you? Not much.

There is a lot of anger among young people in particular against “big corporations” these days, and many of these young people vote for bigger government because of it. But big corporations can only ever try to sell you things, and if you don’t like it, turn off the TV and block their ads on Twitter. But you can’t as easily stop the IRS from attacking your conservative group, or get rid of a SWAT team conducting a pre-dawn raid to punish you for being a conservative.

2 thoughts on “Who has more power over you: rich business owners or government officials?”

  1. The really dangerous power that big corporations have is lobbying power. As the Podesta emails show, the big financial houses like Goldman Sachs handpicked Barack Obama’s entire cabinet. Disney has singlehandedly ruined copyright law.


  2. How do you respond to the charge that it is Big Corp that buys off Big Nanny?

    I am a free market capitalist, of course, but Big Corp is behind Big Nanny right now.


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