Thomas Sowell

The average price of steel rails fell from $68 to $32 before TR became president. Standard Oil, the most hated of the "monopolies," had in fact innumerable competitors and its oil prices were not only lower than those of most of its competitors, but was also falling over the years. It was much the same story in other industries called "monopolies."

The anti-trust laws which Theodore Roosevelt so fiercely applied did not protect consumers from high prices. They protected high-cost producers from being driven out of business by lower cost producers. That has largely remained true in the many years since TR was president.

The long list of low-price businesses targeted by anti-trust laws range from Sears department stores and the A&P grocery chain in the 20th century to Microsoft today, prosecuted not for raising the price of Windows but for including new features without raising prices. Much of the rhetoric of anti-trust remains the opposite of the reality.

Jim Powell's soon to be published book, "Bully Boy," goes in detail into the specifics of President Theodore Roosevelt's many crusades and their often disastrous consequences. But who cares about consequences these days?

TR was a "progressive" and denounced "malefactors of great wealth." What more could the intelligentsia and the media want?


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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