Monday, January 23, 2012

(un)Free Enterprise

Today, I had the distinct pleasure of teaching my daughter about business.  Amanda, who usually teaches our two girls, asked if I would teach this particular segment.  For some odd reason, she thinks I’m passionate about free enterprise, liberty and capitalism.  Not sure where she got that crazy notion.  So, today our lesson was about free enterprise. 
Her textbook, which I like for the most part, went on to explain that in America the government doesn’t tell businesses what they must make and sell; rather, business owners make those decisions.  I thought about the magnitude of this statement and the profound implications it has for our lives.  And then I thought about how some are trying to change this, and perhaps, have changed this already.  The culprit: Obamacare.

Obamacare mandates that every single American buy health insurance or pay a fine.  That particular provision begins next year, by the way.  So, in effect, the State has mandated that some businesses sell medical services.  If the State forces me to buy a product, it follows that a business must offer that product for sale, no?  Therefore, the State has a de facto mandate that some segment of the economy be in the healthcare industry.  If you disagree, I would then ask that if no such business existed to offer the mandatory product, could the government still mandate the purchase of a non-existent product?  (Actually, they could. Read here.)

So, Obamacare has ushered in an era of UnFree Enterprise, where the State begins to decide what some sell and what everyone must buy.  And who knows where we’ll go from here.  After all, if the State can mandate the purchase of insurance, what can’t they do?


  1. There's also the issue of government subsidies that encourage businesses to make certain things. Like ethanol, or solar panels. And, while the government won't necessarily tell you what to supply, it certainly will tell you what features to include (car safety) and similar standards, and how to make it (labor laws).

    1. One thing her textbook says is that individuals are free to make and sell any products...allowed by law.

      Shouldn't the market place decide which products live and which ones die, not politicians?

      The FDA bans certain drugs because some folks may die, yet the same FDA allows the sale of cigarettes.

      Only consumers, equipped with relevant and timely information, should decide which products they want.