Opinion

Businessmen lament terrifying decline of free-market capitalism

Some of my friends in national politics are terrified.

Several sources tell me there’s a growing fear that the institutional pillars holding the republic together are starting to destabilize – and that the center may not hold.

Free-market innovation fueled growth for the 20 years before the recent recession. But no more. Growth covers up a lot of problems. But when it drops as low as it is now and the future is unpredictable, large potholes begin eroding the road ahead. Investment in innovation and diagnostics is done for, and too many investors are heading for the hills. People become infatuated with fashions and fads. Most central banks in the world have gone stark, raving mad, printing money by the trainload to promote the illusion of prosperity.

Bill Frezza, a Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, recently spoke at a meeting of the Palm Beach County Advisory Board of the James Madison Institute.

“I’m scared,” he told us. “We have created a monster with the federal Leviathan and crony capitalism. But take care not to confuse that with free-market capitalism, because it will save us all. Yet even crony capitalists deserve to be defended against counterproductive regulations.”

Frezza said we live in a country being delivered into economic bondage by unproductive citizens who believe rights resemble shopping lists. Vast armies of bureaucrats are in charge. Half the country doesn’t pay income taxes. We have 47 million people on food stamps. They use “EBT welfare credit cards, and on ‘dole day,’ small grocers load up on junk snacks” to feed the horde, he said.

“This is America today,” Frezza said. “I’m terrified.”

Who’s going to pay the retirement bills of 78 million baby boomers getting ready to retire, he wondered. Gridlock is a good idea for Congress because it stops them from passing more laws, “but not if everybody is going over a cliff,” he added. “Compromise in Congress means, ‘I will support your bloated expenditure if you support mine.’”

Yale’s classicist scholar, Donald Kagan, has had something to add on the subject, saying that in America, “Democracy may have had its day. Concerns about the decline of liberty [are] what threaten all aspects of it.”

So we end up with an entitlement democracy, tyranny of the majority, with politicians being voted into office by fools hoping to receive unlimited benefits so they can continue gorging at the public food-bag.

We need a new plan and a revamped strategy. We can start by going back and reading the Constitution, which lists 16 enumerated powers that put a lid on how much Congress and the president can control us. Americans don’t seem to understand this, maybe because they went to public schools that don’t teach it. We may at least have some hope if we allow states to assume some of the powers of government. You can live in a state that treats you better than the feds. If you don’t like California because screaming liberals are running it, you can move to Texas or Florida.

Next step, we support free-market capitalism. That means tarring and feathering Elizabeth Warren and Harry Reid and their fellow demagogues when they use regulations against market capitalism to expand their power.

The monstrous federal beast, having grown fat on tax dollars and fed by a vast bureaucracy, can only be kept alive by printing and borrowing money. The beast collects escalating taxes and redistributes them to buy votes. Such a tax dragon stays hungry until voters elect politicians willing to slay the dragon and question the folly of printing 85 billion more dollars each month. These politicians need to be told, “We’ll be watching.” But they hope we’ll forget. Withholding support for tax-loving candidates is the way to kill entitlement democracy and ensure a republic government will take its place.

We can’t be timid in demanding that elected officials represent the interests of those who produce. If they don’t, I say we owe them no allegiance, Republican or Democrat. That’s the way to quell the terrifying fear that American democracy may have had its day.

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John R. Smith
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