Monday, May 11, 2009

The Cost of "Free"

If you are going to pursue truth, you have to be prepared to change your mind!

The Cost of “Free”

Rep. Pete Sessions, head of the House Republican committee tasked with electing more GOP members, has a unique theory as to why unemployment continues to rise: Obama wants to wipe out free enterprise.

Sessions told the Times that Obama's plan is to "diminish employment and diminish stock prices." By doing so, Obama "intended to inflict damage and hardship on the free enterprise system, if not to kill it" as part of a "divide and conquer" strategy to consolidate power.

(Remember, in the past, Sessions has argued that the Republican Party ought to emulate terrorists. The GOP, Sessions famously argued in February, ought to model its "insurgency" after the Taliban. "Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," he said.)

“Free enterprise” really took off in the second part of the1800's, with the industrial revolution. It worked so well that giant monopolies formed, the antithesis of free enterprise as described by Adam Smith. (Few know or remember: Adam Smith did not think much of corporations .)

So we, the people, came up with anti-trust laws, taking a bite out of the “free”

And just as one group of people organized to leverage the return on their assets, through stock companies, another group of people organized to leverage the return on their assets, through trade and labor unions. (They had a pretty tough go of it though, given relative political power.)

Another bite out of the "free."

Free enterprise led us into the Great Depression. So we came up with business and finance laws, taking another bite out of the “free.”

As industry grew, to maximize their profits and return for shareholders, which is what they were supposed to do, free enterprise got rid of their wastes as cheaply as possible, leading to widespread pollution.

So we, the people, came up with environmental laws in the 70's, taking another bite out of the “free.”

Capitalism and enterprise with restrictions (“sort-of-free enterprise”) have generated much wealth and, in many ways, a much better world.

Our latest experiment with easing the rules by which business is governed, “sort-of-freer enterprise,” the financial and economic meltdown of the first decade of the 21st century should have again shown us that “really-free enterprise” leads to pretty high costs for "free."

One essential part of our governance is the structure of checks and balances. The need to restrict the freedom of the executive, of the judicial and of the legislative is understood by all and is seen as a response to human imperfections.

Free commerce, without checks and balances simply hasn't worked well over our history.

Cries for "free enterprise" are simply denial of this basic human truth.

Whistling Past The Graveyard Department:

Sunday, 5/10/09, on ABC's This Week, John McCain expressed his view that the problem for Republicans was not that Americans had rejected their right-wing policy ideas, but that they had not communicated those policy ideas well enough in the recent past.

Okay. If that's what you need to think...., I'm all for ya.....

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