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"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." - John Philpot Curran


FTC Bullies Whole Foods into Submission

Here in America, you'd think that we would value free market capitalism, especially when it comes to something as fundamental as feeding our own families. Not so. The market doesn't determine where you shop for food; the federal government does.

After being harassed and threatened with lawsuits for violating (unconstitutional) anti-trust laws, Whole Foods Market Inc., the nation's largest organic foods chain, has caved to pressure from the Federal Trade Commission rather than risk bankruptcy by being dragged into a kangaroo court battle. The company has agreed to sell 13 stores after the FTC challenged its $565 million purchase of Wild Oats Markets, its largest competitor. Whole Foods will also sell leases and assets of 19 Wild Oats stores that have already closed.

Why the bullying? Federal regulators were worried that the buyout would create a natural-food monopoly. A "monopoly"? The federal government is the very definition of a monopoly. But they know what's best, right? If the feds were so concerned about the effect this transaction would have on the economy, one wonders why they didn't just offer to bail out Wild Oats Markets in the first place.

Whole Foods did try to fight back by filing a lawsuit against the FTC in December, claiming that its due process rights had been violated (which they were). The company refiled the case in January with the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington in hopes of getting an expedited decision, but that motion was denied.

The settlement currently is awaiting approval from the thugs at the FTC. The stores now up for sale had recorded sales of $31 million in the fiscal first quarter of 2009, but Whole Foods will end up with no more than about $19 million once they are sold.

This is American "free enterprise" in action.



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