Monday, February 15, 2010

Free the Market

There is little doubt that most in our government actually believe they are acting for the good of the people. However, as C.S. Lewis once noted, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” Such is the case with our current economic tyranny. In an attempt to craft a prosperous economy, our government has created perhaps the worst economic environment since the Great Depression. What was and continues to be exercised for our good has no doubt been our ruin and will be so for some time to come.

                Throughout our modern history the federal government has been actively intervening in markets. With the monetary supply and interest rate manipulation of the Federal Reserve, the massive deficit spending and booms and busts brought by adherence to Keynesian economic policy, as well as the control of wage rates and labor contracting by twentieth century progressives, the last hundred years or so have seen little of true free market practice. What we have seen is false prosperity, dangerous economic cycles, and the trampling of our liberties.

                Truly, the government’s intervention in the economy has left us with crippling consequences. To make things worse, instead of correcting our economic woes with proper action, our politicians seem intent on more of the same government interventionist policies that created the “Great Recession” in which we find ourselves. With talk of another “stimulus” program in development each of us should be prepared to voice opposition.

                No government can create prosperity; any attempt to do so will prove futile. But governments can create an environment suited for prosperity—a society in which free people benefit from a free market. Sadly, it appears that our government is unwilling to create such a prosperous atmosphere. Instead, there seems to be a concerted effort by politicians across the board to thwart any attempt at true prosperity and economic freedom.

                If the goal of the federal government is to combat unemployment by stripping away private sector jobs and employing individuals as virtual wards of the state, then its mission may very well be accomplished. If its goal is to get Americans back to work in an economy that is strong and vibrant, however, the government’s current policies are paving a path to failure.

                Government intervention has already failed according to its own benchmarks. The current unemployment rate proves a prime example. Claiming the necessity of massive government spending to keep the unemployment rate from surpassing 10 percent, Washington intervened massively in the market from the banking sector to public works and everywhere in between. The result was even more job loss and more debt.

The federal government continues to pour money into the problem as if there is an unlimited spring from which cash flows and as if its efforts will prove successful. Unfortunately, it is the American taxpayer which provides the government with its funds, and if trends continue, we will totally be robbed of the fruits of our labor as will future generations. As for the success of our government’s spending spree, none is to be found.

The true path to prosperity involves less, not more, government. Taxes and spending must be slashed. Toxic assets must be liquidated, not bailed out. Deregulation must occur, and economic decision making must be made by the private sector alone. Until we allow the free market to do its work the boom and bust cycle will continue, and we will continue to put off our problem to bite us down the road.

The message we should send to politicians at all levels is clear: get out of the free market’s way!

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