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Sun, Dec. 08

Letter: The free market isn't all that free


In his March 9 letter, "Free markets offer tangible benefits," David Wilhelmsen misleads on how the free market economy actually works. He is correct that liberals contend our current economy continues to generate inequality and that corporations and the 1 percent are, in his words, "too selfish, greedy, and bigoted to act freely within the market systems." The problem is that our economy is corporate-driven, not market-driven, and we need common sense regulation to keep big banks and big businesses from overreaching.

A quote from Henry Ford, a 1-percenter in 1922, pretty much sums up the philosophy of Wilhelmsen and his well-meaning conservative friends. "The slogan of less government in business but more business in government is a very good one." More business in government is where we are headed if conservatives have their way.

Conservatives say get government out of the way and let the free market work, but they continue to keep the government involved with giveaways to the rich. There are many, but here are three examples of conservative programs that help the 1 percent.

1. Subsidies to farmers, dominated by mega corporate farms, and subsidies to oil companies, some of the most profitable companies in the country, are giveaways.

2. The 2003 Bush Medicare drug benefit is a $50-billion-a-year giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry that we pay for.

3. Deregulation of the financial derivative market that ensured that no regulator could intercede no matter the peril was a multi-billion-dollar giveaway to the financial industry.

Thus the so-called free market is manipulated by big business through a willing conservative-controlled Congress offering tangible benefits to only a few.

Bob Lynne


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