The economic battlefield is strewn with the lost swords and shattered shields of failed corporations, and the age of the free market seems to have ended. Steel owls of liberal orthodoxy seem to be standing about the grave of the free market, and everywhere the controlled market seems to be the wave of the future. Still, in this melee of "reform" the free market remains the superior system and we must return to it if we ever hope to recover. Doubtless it has gone astray and to get it back on track will require tough choices in regard to spending, regulation and above all conservative theory. The rise and continued eminence of the United States has been possible according to a number of features. A resilient well meaning people, significant checks and balances on government power, and a system that fostered diversity all contributed greatly. But in economic matters the success of the United States can be traced to one form: the free market. The silver-shielded hypaspist of the free market is open competition and no other force has made more money, invented more technology and fostered as much growth as competition. As Americans we pride ourselves in a high work ethic and the ability to compete, but somehow in recent decades we have gone far astray from this concept.
In a strange combination of regulation and deregulation the federal government has seriously weakened the tenets of the free market. Excessive regulation and taxes, designed for large corporate entities, disproportionately burdened small business. At the same time, the government's failure to establish clear rules on a host of business issues created the environment for the recent sub-prime collapse. Companies and banks were allowed to grow to a point where they could not be allowed to fail, prompting a stream of endless bailouts.
Recently, failed companies like GM, were absolved by the government of bad business decisions and essentially given a mulligan on incompetence and bad management. Over regulated on one hand and allowed to run wild in the other, many American corporations ran afoul, overextending themselves and making unwise decisions. Normally, such actions would be offset by the competitive aspect of the free market, but the government has shown an unbridled desire to take away this risk thru guarantees and bailouts. Such action only worsens the decline, subsidizing failure and corrupting the free market into a controlled one. Sadly, this treachery is extended by the fact that the various bailouts are financed by an increased tax and debt burden on small businesses and individual families. Lest we forget, the same week GM asked for 17 billion in additional funds they announced mass layoffs of 50,000 workers.
With the recent economic downturn many state that the free market has been disproved and is no longer in play. But in truth this is impossible because the free market hasn’t been in play for a long time. Both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for this and both will need to show bravery and leadership in order to get it back on track. In fact, both must come to the conclusion that the role of government in regard to the economy is to preserve the feasibility of the free market and nothing more.