Wolf here: Michael Gorback, a Wolf Street contributor, emailed me his comment on Bill Bonner’s article, Is it Time to Invest In Marijuana?, which I’d published here on August 14. Bonner’s article is funny – though it’s also very serious. And Michael is taking the theme (funny and serious) to the next level. So I want to share it:
Bribes, better known as political contributions, are too cheap. I arrived at this counterintuitive realization after reading a piece by Bill Bonner on a putative attempt to legislatively corner the marijuana market by enacting restrictive licensing such we have for cable companies or cellular networks.
Bonner quotes a proponent of this scheme:
“We have made substantial investments in political contacts”
This says it all. You don’t invest in making a better product or a less expensive product. You invest in buying an unfair advantage. Our politicians are cheaper than CapEx. They can be purchased for a mere fraction of what a Saudi Prince would charge.
We have been looking at the problem of buying favors through the wrong end of the telescope. We’ve focused on limiting bribes, but what we really need to do is price them out of existence. Maybe we should set a minimum bribe that is so high that making a better product or providing a competitive service would be cheaper than paying the bribe.
I therefore propose that all political contributions be set to a minimum of 100% of the book value (or net worth, for an individual) of the donor.
Some may object that it violates the First Amendment. In that case we can just get an Executive Order. By Michael Gorback.
Here’s Bill Bonner’s Is it Time to Invest In Marijuana?