Commenters on my post last night pointed out something I had not been aware of: the special treatment local governments give Bass Pro Shops to set up. It turns out that the store I went to in Manteca last night is no exception. A little snooping around the web turned up the following. It does appear that the store in Manteca gets special tax treatment. Now, a tax rebate is not the same as a subsidy–although it has very similar economic effects–but, still, it’s dangerous for local government to have the power to say that some firms don’t get a rebate and some do. It essentially makes local government planners into central planners. They already are, I know, but this makes it more so.

In response to one of the comments, I do mean by “capitalism” a system of free markets with respect for private property, contract, etc. What I saw in Manteca was not capitalism, at least not the kind I advocate.

I’m aware of my friend Sheldon Richman’s attempt to get us to replace the word “capitalism” with “free market.” Like co-blogger Bryan, though, I’m not sure that this is a battle worth joining.