Back in July, Dollar Tree announced a bid to take over Family Dollar for $74.50 a share in cash and stock, or about $8.5 billion. Last week, Family Dollar rejected an all-cash offer from Dollar General at $78.50 a share, or about $9 billion. What strikes Ira Stoll about the whole thing is the role that the U.S. government seems to be playing in depriving the owners of Family Dollar of the extra half-billion dollars (though some of that half-billion would go toward paying a "breakup fee" to Dollar Tree). What is the government protecting against? The risk that the dollar store company will use its newly enlarged market clout to negotiate better terms from its suppliers, thus saving customers even more money?