regulation

Bottleneckers: Gaming the Government for Power and Private Profit

The Left, Right and Center all hate them: powerful special interests who use government power for their own private benefit. In an era when the Left hates “fat cats” and the Right despises “crony capitalists,” now there is an artful and memorable one-word pejorative they can both get behind: Bottleneckers.

A “bottlenecker” is anyone who uses government power to limit competition thereby reaping monopoly profits and other benefits. Bottleneckers work with politicians to constrict competition, entrepreneurial innovation and opportunity; they limit consumer choice, they drive up consumer prices, and they support politicians who willingly overstep the constitutional limits of their powers to create, maintain, and expand these anticompetitive bottlenecks.

The Institute for Justice’s new book, Bottleneckers, coins a new word in the American lexicon, and provides a rich history and well-researched examples of bottleneckers in one occupation after another—from alcohol distributors to taxicab cartels—pointing the way to positive reforms.

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