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Who Decides: Cronies, or Customers?

Cronies have risen, but customers still make twice as many decisions. The more, the better.

James Anthony
May 28, 2021

If you didn’t pay attention to how historians frame history and how media people frame news stories, you might think that the people who decide pretty much everything are politicians:

Voters elect politicians, bad things happen, and Progressive politicians fix things.

But you undoubtedly do pay attention to how historians frame history and how media people choose and frame news stories.

You might even know that your past exposures to such content make your brain automatically filter and limit what information you can even perceive, and transform how you interpret it [1]. As it turns out, fortunately, that’s not much of a problem.  

Who Decides: Cronies?

Your experience and learning are far broader and deeper than the history and news that are framed by governments and cronies.

You already have a far-more-detailed picture, more likely along the following lines, of who decides:

Party leaders limit which politicians get on ballots.

Voters elect politicians.

Politicians serve up news stories, claim to fix problems using legislation, and pass along the actual work to appointed government people.

Appointed government people serve up news stories, claim to fix problems using regulations and recommendations, and pass along the actual work to cronies [2].

Cronies force us to follow government recommendations and force us to follow their own rules too. (Suddenly now, novel so-called [3] public health rules are near-ubiquitous, and will become permanent tools for controlling us unless we apply substantial offsetting power [4].)

We the people are to a large extent mere subjects of these elite party leaders, politicians, appointed government people, and cronies.

Likely the last point looks somewhat wrong, but likely you don’t have a clear picture of just how wrong it is. That can be fixed easily enough.  

Who Decides: Customers!

To adjust your picture to match reality, all you need is a little more of the right information.

In the American Colonies, total national, state, and local government spending was only 1% to 2% of GDP [5]. Customers decided the most, by margins of between 49 to 1 and 99 to 1.

In the USA through 1913, total national, state, and local government revenues were only 4% to 8% of GNP [6]. Customers decided the most again, by margins of between 12 to 1 and 25 to 1.

Since 1913, total national, state, and local government spending have grown to the current 33% of GDP [7]. Customers decide the most even now, by a margin of 2 to 1.

This adds the right perspective:

Cronies decide the most about how some of the added value gets raked off by cronies, government people, politicians, and parties.

Customers decide what’s most valuable to them. Customers and producers create all of the added value.

We haven’t had a small-government major party since 1894 [8], and it shows.

We’ve never had state [9], county, and city charters that enumerate limited powers, and this shows too. State and local government spending are now as large as national-government spending [7].

The more that cronies decide, the worse the decisions are.

Cronies can’t know what customers value. Cronies value their own interests over customers’ interests. Cronies do as little as possible to add more value.

When customers are in control, customers decide which producers thrive and which producers fail, and customers and producers create the most added value [10].

The way back to greater control by customers and greater satisfaction of customers’ wants is simple:

  1. Select as many small-government politicians as possible in the current Republican primaries, and elect as many as possible [11].
  2. Design and build at least one small-government major party [12].
  3. Enact state, county, city, and residential-association charters [13] that provide the constitutionally-guaranteed republican governments [14], by separating powers, enumerating limited powers, and delegating offsetting powers.

The Constitution, when followed right [15], doesn’t empower cronies, it secures individuals’ rights. Who decides is what determines who is free.

The customer is king.


  1. Bargh, John A., and Tanya L. Chartrand. “The Unbearable Automaticity of Being.” American Psychologist, vol. 54, no. 7, July 1999, pp. 462-79.
  2. Anthony, James. “Socialism Kills Freedom.” rConstitution.us, 2 Mar. 2021, rconstitution.us/socialism-kills-freedom/. Accessed 28 May 2021.
  3. Kulldorff, Martin, et al. “The Great Barrington Declaration.” 2020, gbdeclaration.org/. Accessed 28 May 2021.
  4. Anthony, James. “COVID Tyranny Should Be Overpowered Using Laws.” rConstitution.us, 15 Jan. 2021, rconstitution.us/covid-tyranny-should-be-overpowered-using-laws/. Accessed 28 May 2021.
  5. Perkins, Edwin J. The Economy of Colonial America. 2nd ed., Columbia University Press, 1988, pp. 190, 205.
  6. Wallis, John Joseph. “American Government Finance in the Long Run: 1790 to 1990.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 14, no. 1, Winter 2000, pp. 61–82.
  7. Chantrill, Christopher, “Total Budgeted 2021 Government Spending.” USgovernmentspending.com, www.usgovernmentspending.com/total_spending_2021USpn. Accessed 28 May 2021.
  8. Rothbard, Murray N. The Progressive Era. Edited by Patrick Newman, Mises Institute, 2017, pp. 163-97.
  9. Maddex, Robert L. State Constitutions of the United States. Congressional Quarterly, 1998, p. xvi.
  10. Mises, Ludwig von. Bureaucracy. Yale University Press, 1941, pp. 20-1.
  11. Anthony, James. “Voting Guide for Constitutionalists.” rConstitution.us, 30 Oct. 2020, rconstitution.us/voting-guide-for-constitutionalists/. Accessed 28 May 2021.
  12. Anthony, James. The Constitution Needs a Good Party: Good Government Comes from Good Boundaries. Neuwoehner Press, 2018.
  13. Anthony, James. “How Elections, Parties, and Charters Matter.” rConstitution.us, 22 Jan. 2021, rconstitution.us/how-elections-parties-and-charters-matter/. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.
  14. Natelson, Robert G. “A Republic, Not a Democracy? Initiative, Referendum, and the Constitution’s Guarantee Clause.” Texas Law Review, vol. 80, 2002, pp. 807-57.
  15. Anthony, James. “On the Reading of Old Constitutions.” rConstitution.us, 9 Oct. 2020, rconstitution.us/on-the-reading-of-old-constitutions/. Accessed 28 May 2021.

James Anthony is the author of The Constitution Needs a Good Party and rConstitution Papers and has written articles in The Federalist, Foundation for Economic Education, American Thinker, American Greatness, and rConstitution.us. Mr. Anthony is an experienced chemical engineer with a master’s in mechanical engineering.


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