Why Free Markets Are Moral and Big Government Isn’t
Report by Betty Sakai
On August 7th to an audience of over four hundred people, Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Ames, introduced their book, Freedom Manifesto: Why Free Markets Are Moral and Big Government Isn’t. They each spoke about the differences between a system fed by ideas and free enterprise and one dominated and controlled by big brother government.
Acknowledging the Conservative Forum, spontaneous laughter broke out when Forbes quipped he didn’t know such a thing existed here, then added that California was once a red state in the 1970s and ‘80s. Regarding Obama, he said that no President has presided over so great a decline since Calvin Coolidge. He then asked rhetorically, “Why does government continue to get bigger when all we see is decline?” Two things he said cause this: (1) when organizations are left to their own devices, they continue to get bigger and bigger, and (2) for most people, government occupies a high moral ground. Then he pointed out how short-sighted government is as it focuses on pay, benefits, and political beneficiaries. The current administration has asked those with more wealth to give something back, to which Forbes explained that this sounds like people more prosperous have taken what they have created amorally from others. On the contrary, he asserted that government is amoral in its lack of accountability, exampling the theft of Social Security Trust Funds paid by workers years ago and the replacement of those funds with worthless, non-marketable treasury IOUs, paid out today in monthly benefits with Federal Reserve printed inflated dollars that buy less. Addressing those in the work force under the age of 55, Forbes recommended these folks demand Congress secure their Social Security by putting it into a separate trust or more secure growth vehicles. Commonly misunderstood, he said, is the role of the Federal Reserve which is not a part of Constitutional government but has taken on unprecedented powers. Describing the Federal Reserve as the primary villain responsible for the housing bubble due to its continual printing of dollars, Forbes recommended Congress severely limit the Federal Reserve’s role in monetary policy.
He went on to discuss the free market as a place where one does not succeed unless one provides what someone else wants. Transactions are not greed because there is mutual reciprocity. The free market he noted is required to develop creativity and innovation, exampled by innovators like Ray Kroc who developed McDonalds into a fast-food chain, Henry Ford who worked for years and saw the opportunity to make something everyone could use, Apple Computer with its extraordinary global supply chain, E-Bay where complete strangers trust each other in buy and sell transactions, and the development of cell phones commonly used today. Forbes said the difference between the Stone Age and today is experience. Experience happens when there is freedom to learn from failure and success. Commenting on health care, he said there has never been a free market in health care. Countering the fears of fraud in the marketplace, Forbes offered the analogy that just because there is fraud in elections, for example, does not mean we do away with elections. Free markets are people and whenever people are involved there will be problems. But people are capable of doing great things. Advocating the rule of law, Forbes predicted a major Constitutional crisis looming on the horizon as researchers investigate the lawlessness of government agencies.
Entrepreneur and Press Relations Specialist, Elizabeth Ames, followed Steve Forbes, outlining their jointly-written book, discussing how government has managed to get other institutions on their side, counseling Conservatives on what they must do to push back against the Left. More than just talking to other Conservatives, Ames emphasized that it’s not what you say but to whom you say it, how you present it, and how consistently it is presented. Conservatives must start relating to those receptive to the idea of personal freedom, personal choice, and personal economic freedom. She astutely pointed out that in real life people talk from their pocketbooks. About the media distorting the message, her advice is not to buy newspapers that fail to separate news from opinion. Regarding education, she advised that alternative choices be considered.
Forbes talking briefly about Ronald Reagan, exalted Reagan’s ability to focus on the big things. When Reagan was asked a question, Forbes said Reagan would often answer with a story. He answered one question by talking about two psychiatrists, each going to work each day but one consistently showing more exhaustion at the end of the day than the other. When the one more relaxed was asked how he could be so, he answered, “I don’t listen.”
A long question and answer session followed. Steve Forbes fielded a number of questions, including how Conservatives can get control of the GOP, the IRS union fiasco and the flat tax, the youth vote totally focused on the internet, why college tuition subsidized by government is so high, the role of the Federal Reserve, cultural decay with 30% of the babies being born out of wedlock, due process and the low information voter, entitlements, the fact that Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements, and his picks for GOP Presidential candidates: Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Governor Walker from Wisconsin.
Both speakers, Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Ames were much appreciated. A book signing followed. Both received a warm standing ovation!
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