The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers.

The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone number for verification and in case of questions. E-mail letters to: mmilbrandt@montenews.com Letters may also be mailed to:  Editor, Montevideo Publishing, P.O. Box 99, Montevideo, MN 56265

Concentration of wealth

Three people in the United States--Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Bill Gates (Microsoft)--have as much wealth as half of the population of the United States, and eight people, inside and outside of the United States, have as much wealth as half of the population of the world. Mr. Bezos alone made $39 billion last year. Does this seem inequitable to you? Many employers, like Herbergers, are going out of business because of them.

Artificially concentrating wealth in a few hands through corporations, i.e., monopolies or trusts, is inequitable and counterproductive given the importance of property ownership to personal development and responsibility. However, it is not new. During the colonial era, the East India Tea Company arose to account for half of the world's trade. It was a key component of the aristocracy to maintain their power. Consequently, when forming the Federal Constitution, an anti-corporate (anti-trust) mindset underlay the implementation of the Constitution’s Title of Nobility Clauses. Many early State constitutions included anti-nobility clauses for the same reasons. The Clauses subsequently were ignored or forgotten.

The "robber barons" of the mid to late 1800s--Rockefeller, Carnegie, and others--were the new aristocracy of their time. In 1890, Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act to address this situation. It prohibits every monopoly. However, the Judicial and Executive Branches of the Federal Government refuse to enforce the Act as written. Every other Act of Congress they will enforce as written. They say that enforcing that enforcing the Act as written would be too expansive—but that is exactly what is needed.

We need to insist that Congress pass legislation for the Executive and Judicial branches of the Federal Government to enforce the Sherman Act as written, and for the Title of Nobility Clauses to be enforced as they were intended.

—Steve Emery

Montevideo