Friday, November 18, 2016

Does Donald Trump Believe in Free Enterprise?

By Michael S. Rozeff

No, he does not. If he did, he wouldn’t say this: “I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequences.”
What’s the essence of free enterprise? It’s freedom to contract. (We always assume this is done with rightfully owned property and done for productive, not criminal, purposes.) Hiring, firing, pay, hours, quitting, medical leave, maternal leave, etc. can all be established by free enterprise. There is no need for government to be involved in any of it. Has Trump ever given the slightest indication that he supports free enterprise in labor markets? Far from it. He is on record for his own style of regulation.
If Trump believed in freedom to contract, he’d be against government interference in wages and hours. He’d be against government rules that set minimum wages. He’d be against a government rule that sets time-and-a half for overtime. One part of this law takes up 162 pages in the Federal Register.
Trump’s proposed tax cuts leave more current income in the hands of earners, and this is a step toward greater freedom of contracting. However, if it means greater debt and future higher taxes, then what it gives with one hand, it removes with the other. Unless a tax cut is matched by permanently diminishing government spending, it cannot be counted as favoring free enterprise.
America does not have free enterpriseAmerica is not a free country. The myth doesn’t accord with the reality. We know perfectly well what free enterprise entails, and it’s freedom of contract, something that we have some of but something also that is absent from our country in highly significant and important ways.
Republicans control the national government at the moment. Can we expect them to act as promoters of free enterprise? They haven’t done that in the past. Trump doesn’t signal that he wants them to do it now.
Why has this country been against free enterprise and continually whittled it away under both parties? It’s the nature of the government system that explains this. Whereas free enterprise is a positive and productive process, government and especially a democratic government like ours, with representatives or not, is a process of taking and redistribution. This is a wealth and initiative-destroying process. However, it goes on and on and grows because the powers of government are so great and so attractive. The people and their Constitution have not proven effective in stemming this growth in power; they have contributed to it. This is ultimately an act of self-destruction or suicide. The evil core of it is that it builds nothing and creates nothing. It consumes and doesn’t produce.
The only way out is to reverse course and embrace free enterprise. Free enterprise is the creative, the constructive and in that sense the spiritual way of reducing the impact of the evil that typifies our present course of self-destruction, which has occurred and will continue to occur under the leadership of contemporary politicians like Bush, Obama, Clinton, Warren, Sanders, Trump and a host of others who do not believe in free enterprise and who do not promote it.
The above originally appeared at

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