The free market is something that very few people actually understand, yet it faces criticism constantly from Republicans and Democrats alike. For the average American, the free market is equally to blame for the housing crisis of 2007-2008 and the slowness of the “recovery” that has taken place since. Republicans blame the free market for the loss of jobs in manufacturing, and Democrats blame the free market for the high prices of education and health care.
Some ought to take a step back and ask themselves how it is possible for the market to be all of these things at once. If the free market is that bad, why does America still consider itself a “capitalist” nation? Wouldn’t the polar opposite of capitalism – communism – be worth trying? Of course not!
Most people are greatly confused about America’s economic system. The American economy is not based on laissez- faire capitalism or anything of the sort. At best, one could say our economy is “mixed” with parts being “free” and others being controlled by massive government regulations.
Sadly, when one looks at the ten planks of communism written of by Karl Marx in 1848 in The Communist Manifesto, one will realize that America is well on its way to being communist, NOT capitalist.
1. Abolition of property in land and applications of all rents of land to public purposes.
This can be seen in the property taxes in America. Even once a home is paid off, the owner is forever responsible for paying a toll to the government for the privilege of living on “privately” owned property. Also, should the government ever want to take your house, they can do that too, using eminent domain laws.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
Well, we can see this all around us. Although the tax rates have evened out from where they were immediately following WWII (when the top rate was 90%), we continue to have a progressive tax system, and the most popular proposals for tax overhauls in Washington keep Marx’s graduated tax ideas in place.
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
We don’t tend to have huge inheritance taxes, but there are still plenty of stories of family farms and small businesses being closed due to unrealizable “death taxes”. Abolishing inheritance is becoming more and more popular on college campuses and with the radical left.
4. Confiscations of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
While the American government doesn’t confiscate all property, it is going farther all the time. To officially renounce one’s citizenship now costs thousands of dollars, when just a few years ago it was in the hundreds. More people are leaving, and to keep people here, the government makes them pay for it.
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
This happened when the Federal Reserve was founded by in 1913. We have a national bank that controls interest rates and has a monopoly on the printing of government-approved money. No one can ever say we live in a free market when we have state-controlled money and interest.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
What do you think the left’s fetish with public transportation is really all about? Virtually all roads in America are owned and operated by the government, and to set a new one up one must go through the Department of Transportation. The FCC regulates what is said on television and radio, and politicians often consider local municipalities taking ownership of failing newspapers.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
Hello Department of Agriculture! Farming has by and large been nationalized. Extensive regulations, subsidies, and the paying of farmers to NOT grow crops all to keep agriculture prices “steady”. Farming in America is already controlled by the government.
8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
This, thankfully has not been established.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
The left has a great fascination with urban farming, does it not? This by and large has not been instituted in America.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of child factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.
Bernie loves to win votes by offering “free college tuition”. Children already have government education (working out pretty well, right?) and draconian child labor laws have kept children out of the workforce in any meaningful sense.
One cannot blame anything in America’s economy on the free market. In almost every way, America is highly regulated and controlled by federal, state, and local laws. Many would wrongly assume America has the freest economy in the world, but each year it actually drops in ranking of economic freedom.
The Heritage Foundation does not even consider America a “free” economy. Instead we’re listed as “mostly free”, ranking 17th in the world, behind such countries as Lithuania, Georgia, and the United Arab Emirates. Interestingly, when compared to the Human Development Index, one finds that the lists bear a striking resemblance. More economic freedom means a more prosperous society.
When placing blame for America’s troubles, please do not place it at the feet of the free market. It shows an ignorance of the free market and an even greater ignorance of the economy we actually have.