01.19.2011 0

Our Regulated Society

By Adam Bitely –

Obama has been quite busy reframing his image to the American people since the crushing results of the 2010 midterm elections. At the midway point of his first term, he is quickly attempting to cast himself as the middle-of-the-road independent in the mold of Bill Clinton post-1994 midterm elections. While this rebranding scheme might work on some, don’t let it fool you.

Writing in the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal, Obama admits that he loves the free market society that exists in America. As he wrote, “America’s free market has not only been the source of dazzling ideas and path-breaking products, it has also been the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known.” And he is exactly right.

His next paragraph, however, contradicted this newfound admiration of that very system. Sounding like a typical politician, Obama felt the need to justify the role that government regulators play in the supposedly “free” marketplace.

Obama says, “throughout our history, one of the reasons the free market has worked is that we have sought the proper balance.” Of course, the balance he refers to is government regulators interfering in the marketplace. Obama continues, “[w]e have preserved freedom of commerce while applying those rules and regulations necessary to protect the public against threats to our health and safety and to safeguard people and businesses from abuse.”

This quick reversal inside of two paragraphs reminds one of George W. Bush’s similar reversal that he made in the fall of 2008 while advocating the bailout of the entire financial system. Bush stated that he had to go against the free market ideals that he so deeply believed in to preserve the free market system.

As Ludwig von Mises wrote, the “market economy safeguards peaceful economic cooperation because it does not use force upon the economic plans of the citizens. If one masterplan is to be substituted for the plans of each citizen, endless fighting must emerge.” Government regulators in the marketplace do not preserve the “freedom of commerce” as Obama stated, rather, they hinder it. History has shown this time and again.

Government regulators use force to steer the marketplace in the direction they deem fit. This can be seen through such legislation as ObamaCare, which forces everyone to purchase health care all the while regulating the health care industry by forcing health care providers to perform certain functions for the customers. This is the exact “masterplan” that Mises warns of that hinders marketplace freedom.

If the American marketplace were truly free, it would not have government regulators dictating to companies how they perform their business. Consumers would be allowed to freely choose between companies with the freedom to purchase products or services from companies that they freely chose to engage in trade with, and would similarly have the freedom to not do business with companies that they would rather not engage with. These freedoms do not currently exist in the American marketplace.

Obama realizes that government regulators can be harmful to a degree. He issued an executive order that requires federal agencies to make sure that their regulations protect safety, health, and the environment while also promoting economic growth. This order demonstrates how un-committed Obama is to stopping out-of-control regulations that are harming the marketplace.

If he were truly serious about reforming the regulatory system, he would have banned regulations and started scaling them back. But that was not done. Instead, he asked the regulators to justify their regulations to the American people the way they have done since the beginning of time.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @AdamBitely.

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