THE ASSAULT ON FREE MARKETS
IS AN ASSAULT ON PROSPERITY
April 13, 2015
The federal government is spending money we don't have and borrowing money we can't pay back. The scenario of spending and borrowing goes on while the advantage of the free market system is frowned upon by some.
In the face of all of this, there are calls for more government, more taxing, more bureaus, more central planning, more governments operatives, and more control over the lives of individuals . These voices call for the growth of a dangerously out of control national deficit. This past week it was reported that over 93 million Americans are not in the labor force. This is the highest ever!
Currently, the US national debt is is nearly 19 trillions dollars.The estimated population of the United States is 324,575,810. So, each citizen's share of this national debt is $56.659,810 or $ 154,110 per each tax payer. This titanic-type debt has continued to increase an average of $2.73 billion per day. That is shocking!
Today, there are concerns about health care, national security, diminution of jobs, too much control over small businesses, and redistribution of wealth over recovery. We are seeing an increase in the number of entitlements and greater federal control and/or ownership of corporations and banks. At the same time, there are calls to increase taxes on working men and women, and increase the scope of government. These same voices call for greater regulation of property and capital, advocate comparative class warfare, a call to send conservatives a' packing and, at the same time, encumber the advantages of a free society within a free market economy.
What we need today is a politics of positive construction. Even in face of all of the big government control notions and actions, there are still voices of optimism. It was the late Milton Friedman who said "One person's opportunism is another person's statesmanship." Americans are a people of great resilience and strength with a spirit of optimism in free markets and free market solutions. In short the American economy, when given a chance, is fabulously resilient. What we need to see today is politics of positive construction rather than the incessant politics of personal destruction.
It is helpful to define several key terms. The word "free" is a treasured word in the English language and a treasured concept throughout the world. And the application of its definition is particularly appropriate here. Everyone benefits from free markets. But the degree of benefit is related to the degree of freedom in which free markets are permitted to operate. There is an old Jewish concept called 'midah k'neged midah' -- literally, 'measure for measure,' and this concept applies here. The measure of quality of the free market is related to the measure of freedom from encumbrances. "Free" refers to freedom of choice, not freedom from cost or responsibility. "Free" refers to freedom from over- regulation and restriction. The free market implies the willful exchange of goods and services, either directly or through the intermediate utilization of a stable measure of valued consideration.
The health of a free market is tied to a number of factors, one of which is in the definition of "rights" a case in point, "entitlements." We hear of "rights" not only of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but of a host of other things, such as the right of employment, of a certain level of income, the right of freedom of economic insecurity, of health care, and the like. If we consider the original rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence and enumerated in the U. S. Constitution, it should be clear that there are massive differences between those rights and the "ones" we hear about today. The original rights were rights to live by one's personal effort without interference of others. The Declaration of Independence speaks of the right to pursue happiness; it does not offer a guarantee of it. Truly, this makes all the difference; for in a free society with free markets there can be no guarantee that effort will meet with success. In a free society with unimpeded free markets, no one can go back and make a new beginning, but everyone can start here and make a brand new end. It is up to the individual. Socrates said, "The way to gain a reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear."
Our country's economy was originally based upon a free market system, which prospered in direct proportion to the extent of adherence to the principles involved. From the beginning, there were those who realized the distinct advantages to the people. The principle of market exchange and pricing is that it tends to bring supply and demand toward a balance.
Desirable competition is the most equitable distributor of resources, not government. When there is unnecessary intervention of government into the process, the free market is deprived of the pricing mechanism indispensable to its success. It is the ultimate irony for those responsible for any dilemma that they justify further intervention by claiming that the free market does not work, when in reality it is unnecessary government intervention which intensifies the problem in. Inflation illustrates clearly how government creates problems. Inflation is purely the expansion of the money supply. It has been said that "inflation results in a non legislated tax increase." By printing virtually valued-down paper dollars to pay for deficit spending, previously circulating money is diluted and devalued. Rising prices, rising wages, and the rising cost of living are NOT the cause of inflation; they are its results. And appeals to "fight inflation" by voluntary or even mandatory restraints constitute a camouflage of the primary cause.
Often we have seen, in order to obtain public favor during an election, there are those public officials who will bring innumerable programs in place, thus causing an involuntary transfer of capitol, clearly impacting free markets. It is an effective political practice to appeal to the electorate with the messages of "soak the rich" as an approach. Almost every additional government regulation created in the past recent years can be shown to offer an advantage to some individuals or group, at the expense of competitors and the public. Subsidies, bailouts, wage and price controls, "free" services, and "out of control" entitlements further disrupt and even destroy what is left of our free markets. An assault on free markets is an assault on prosperity.
It has been said "Beware of governments bearing gifts; eventually they are going to take you over." A government that sees itself in the business of fulfilling endless entitlements will soon find itself under pressure to grant more and more with less and less. And the vicious cycle continues with burgeoning bureaucracies, declining opportunities and declining prosperity. And the health, vibrancy and underpinnings for solid growth of the free market economy will have suffered another potentially disabling stroke. Ronald Reagan said "Government has an important role in helping a country's economic foundation. But the critical test is whether government is genuinely working to liberate individuals by creating incentives to work, save, invest, and succeed."
The strength of our economy is tied into our definition of free markets. A number of decisions must be made, one of which is define the distinction between what are "rights" and what are "entitlements." Then and only then will we begin to restore the purpose of government as the protector of the "rights" of a free people and not tangle up folks in a milieu of dependency.