Vail Daily letter: Free to choose |

Vail Daily letter: Free to choose

Buddy Shipley
Vail, CO, Colorado

Corporations cannot force anyone to do anything they do not want to do or buy anything that they do not want to buy. If you do not like a corporation, you are free to voluntarily choose not to patronize it!

No business can force anyone to work for them. That would be slavery. If you dislike a company’s terms of employment or the wages offered, you are free to seek work elsewhere. That is freedom! As Milton Friedman explains in his book by the same title, we are “Free to Choose.”

Conversely, no person can force another person or business to hire them or compensate them beyond what the employer is willing or able to pay. The obvious exceptions are government-mandated minimum wages, which in effect are price fixing. Anything that could even remotely be accused of being price fixing in the private sector is condemned as a crime, gouging or greed. But it is praised (by some) when the government does it.

Terms like wealthy, rich and greedy have been reduced to nothing more than epithets used by pandering politicians to spit at ambitious and successful people they dislike. It’s even become vogue to use these slurs against corporations – businesses and the private sector in general – while portraying government as our last best hope for salvation and the sole source of all that is good.

Are people really this gullible? Don’t they realize, as Thomas Sowell explained, “You can become the greediest person in the world tomorrow and it wouldn’t raise your income one dime?” How can anyone condemn the private sector as greedy when 47 percent of Congress are millionaires, yet just 1 percent of the private sector can claim that status?

Also, when corporate executives commit crimes, they are indicted, tried and imprisoned. In government, only the most egregious crimes committed by elected officials are ever prosecuted. Even then justice is rarely served, and the politicians get to retire to an unimaginable life of leisure and privilege.

Instead of occupying Wall Street and blaming businesses for all your woes, perhaps people should direct their angst at these parasite politicians.

Only government forces people to buy things they do not want, and forces us to continue funding failed and bankrupt programs, departments and agencies we do not want and do not like. Businesses do not possess such power, only government does.

Every corporate monopoly that has ever existed was sanctioned by government, yet only corporations are blamed and accused of greed and corruption, never the government or politicians. Why?

Only government forces people to subsidize corporations, products and technologies that cannot survive without the support of self-righteous politicians and unelected government bureaucrats answerable to no one, who possess little or zero actual private sector experience, and who often know absolutely nothing about the matters they manipulate, but who still insist on picking winners and losers based on wishful-thinking, and their faulty and failed ideologies.

When corporations behave as stupidly as our governments, the free market punishes them. If any such checks and balances against government exist, clearly they do not work. Government exempts itself from the market forces that compel corporations to respond to change or die.

Instead of responding rationally as individuals and businesses must, too many government officials prefer the pathological practice best described by Ronald Reagan: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” This has never been truer than it is today, so it would be foolish to expect anything to improve until this changes.

Businesses that do not to respond properly or quickly enough to market forces will falter or fail, whereas government simply raises taxes or cuts services (without a commensurate reduction in taxes). Businesses do not enjoy the luxury of such flexibility. Businesses are not insulated from reality, whereas government is clearly oblivious to it.

If you lose your job because your employer downsizes or closes his doors, do not blame the business owners. Blame government taxes, oppressive regulations and parasitic labor unions.

You gain a whole different perspective when you’re the one signing the front of the paycheck. Everyone should try it some time. Meanwhile, give thanks to the businesses that employ you.

Buddy Shipley


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