“Rent seeking,” better understood as privilege seeking, is the common practice of seeking economic gain through the political system without reciprocating with public benefits.
Recent news of the city of Columbia offering special incentives to American Airlines, but not to Delta, prompted Phil Garcia to write about the consequences of rent seeking (and even compared the situation to his children wanting more allowance). Garcia commented how rent seeking hurts competition and raises taxpayer burdens. Check out his excellent letter to the editor in the Jefferson City News Tribune — Your Opinion: Airport ‘rent-seeking’.
Also read our posts explaining why Columbia made a poor decision, and a related op-ed about how Columbia intends to pay for an airport expansion.