“The FTC and those GM ads”

by Walter Olson on May 5, 2010

I’ve got a new post up (my first, in fact) at Cato at Liberty taking issue with my friends at the Competitive Enterprise Institute over their petition to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate General Motors’s ridiculous bailout ad campaign.

{ 1 trackback }

May 16 roundup
05.16.10 at 7:17 am

{ 6 comments }

1 VMS 05.06.10 at 8:01 am

If anyone believes the content of any ad or its implications, their mother shouldn’t let them out of the house to go shopping.

2 Aaron Worthing 05.06.10 at 9:01 am

Walter

I used to work in a big firm where there were people who made entire careers coming up with one bogus way after another to allege false advertising. There is no denying that the rule is abused.

But Gosh, its hard to come up with a better example where there is actual falsity.

But it also shows the danger involved in these bailouts. The government becomes a partner in GM. Then it purports to sit in judgment of Toyota. It harms their impartiality on that subject. And we will see the same problem here. if the FTC doesn’t go after them, then everyone will think, “the fix was in.”

I think you can have a super-regulated economy or you can have the government act as a participant in the economy, but I don’t think any healthy system should have both.

3 Aaron Worthing 05.06.10 at 9:03 am

I will add that while i disagree with you, Walter, you are making a pretty good case for your side.

4 David Schwartz 05.07.10 at 11:49 am

Suppose the government gave a huge amount of money to a private company. Suppose further that this private company then used a huge chunk of that money to run an ad praising the politicians for their wisdom.

5 Walter Olson 05.07.10 at 11:57 am

And suppose finally that one’s reaction were not merely to blow the whistle thereon through political advocacy, but to propose flexing a government agency’s muscle in ways that will restrict the future freedom of private companies that have taken no subsidies.

6 David Schwartz 05.10.10 at 7:25 am

I think that argument is a bit of a stretch. By that logic, a Libertarian should never sue anyone as any success may create legal precedents that restrict the future freedom of private companies. CEI isn’t arguing for any groundbreaking new rules or expansions of government power here, they’re just arguing that the existing ones be enforced.

Comments on this entry are closed.