The end for Rich Uncle Pennybags?
Packing up his desk today, Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett announced the break-up of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. The tear in his eye betrayed a wistful sadness. "You know, the Division had a great run. But, after 75-plus years, we just ran out of price-fixers, monopolists, boycotters, price discriminators, market-allocators, supply-suppressors, and cartelists to go after. We won."
Barnett cited the Division’s recent implementation of a voluntary-compliance program as a big factor in accomplishing the pro-competitive mission. And he pointed to the fact that in the last couple of years the Division has uncovered only a couple of large price-fixing conspiracies. The latest one victimized multinational oil companies by overcharging them for the enormous hoses they use to off-load petroleum. "When about the only people who still need the Division’s help already make tens of billions of dollars in profits, you have to feel pretty good about the job you’ve done," he said.
Outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales likened Barnett to the legendary banisher of snakes from Ireland, "Saint what’s-his-name. Really, what was his name?"
Turning for one last look at his now-empty office, Barnett added: "Did I mention that hell froze over?"
Barry Barnett (no relation)