COMMENTARY: Will Your Candidate Fight Against Crony Capitalism Or Join In?


The Democrat and Republican conventions are in the books. Bernie and Cruz are history… Hillary and Trump are set to battle it out to November. It’s hard not to be disgusted after watching the chicanery that goes along with the conventions. I don’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican. Chances are… you’re frustrated. If you’re a Democrat, you might be horrified to have watched your beloved Bernie, climb into bed with Hillary. If you’re a Republican, you might be mortified that you have a guy like Trump as your candidate.

Both the Republican and Democrat National Conventions are full of lofty rhetoric and promises that will never be. Each side is polling and strategizing every optic moment. Politics in 140 characters or less. Hashtags and LOL’s! Our nation seems positioned more than ever before on the razors edge.
I heard both sides speak out against corruption and what it might take to get our economy bouncing again. That’s why I am guardedly hopeful that something might get done in the name of capitalism. One of the most insidious sides of politics and business is when they come together in the dark of night and rig the game. It doesn’t take the Russians or bunch of hacked emails to figure out that Crony Capitalism is the enemy of freedom. Both sides are guilty of it to some degree or another.

If your candidate of choice is a Democrat or Republican, now would be a fine time them to lay into corruption. The people will eat it up and the nation will be better for it.
A fine display of how corruption works lies in the contact lens industry. It’s a fairly “boring” topic so it gets almost no press in the mainstream media, which leaves it a great opportunity for cronyism without accountability. Contacts aren’t as exciting as gun control or abortion, but it literally effects everyone in one way or another. Millions of Americans wear contacts every day.

Millions of Americans who had previously been held captive by their eye doctor to only purchase lenses through them are now free.
Previously, the eye docs and the manufacturers had an incestuous monopoly going on where they controlled supply from start to finish. Once that lovefest got busted up in 2003 with the passage of the FCLCA, The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumer Act. People were free to get their prescription from their doctor and buy contacts wherever they wanted to.
People literally saw the light. Capitalism and free markets are awesome.

The Act unleashed the free market competition pent up in the contact lens industry. As a result, retail stores like Wal-Mart and online stores blossomed. Now more than a third of the total U.S. market is done online. This opening of the market also caused the prices of contacts to drop to all-time record lows as competition reigned. Econ 101 actually works!
However, the eye doctors and manufacturers were not at all happy about losing their stranglehold on buyers and the billions that went with it. So what do you do if you can’t beat the system fair and square? You get a couple doctors elected to congress and then set out to re-write the laws and get rid of all that economic freedom.

The Coalition for Patient Vision Care Safety is the main lobbying group pushing for the old way to return. They are a coalition between contact lens manufacturer, Johnson and Johnson and the American Optometric Association. An unholy alliance of Docs and Manufacturers and they have found their huckleberry. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana).
Senator Cassidy, a doc, has put forward his answer to freedom called the Contact Lens Consumer Health Act of 2016 (CLCHPA). This legislation effectively undoes the good changes to the contact lens free market by adding a huge steaming pile of bureaucracy and red tape to the process. It’s loaded with enough regulation and licensing to effectively drive out most of the new ways to get your contacts. Click here to read a summary of the worst points in the Cassidy bill.

I have two kids who burn through contacts like no tomorrow. I know this subject might only matter to those of us who are visually challenged, but it should matter to all love the free market, because it shows how our system is constantly gamed.

They’ve even tried bringing regulations in through the back door, by inserting language into (S 3067), a bill to fund the Federal Trade Commission, that effectively accomplishes much of Cassidy’s goal by crushing the competition with the weight of a burdensome government. This move was accomplished via Senator John Boozman, (R-Arkansas), a former optometrist who oversees the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. Apparently, being a crony does cross party lines.
With all the fine convention speeches about freedom, it would be refreshing to see both parties come together and crush Crony Capitalism. The contact lens industry currently is an economic success story. If the good old boys have their way it won’t be that way for long.


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