“So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.” – Milton Friedman interviewed by Phil Donahue in 1979.
Milton Friedman’s words stand as true today as they were 41 years ago when he spoke them. The American Free Enterprise System has given rise to the strongest economy in the world, accounting for 25% of the world’s gross domestic product with only 5% of the population.
The reason for this success is simple – the core of the free enterprise system is that everyone is given the same equal opportunity to compete. It is that equality of opportunity that has allowed the “pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness” as so eloquently stated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.
In the free enterprise system, Steve Jobs can drop out of college and build a future tech giant like Apple in his garage.
In a free enterprise system, Sarah Blakely could go from abandoning her plans to go to law school, to working at Walt Disney World for three months, to inventing SPANX, to buying the Atlanta Hawks and now being worth over $1 billion.
In a free enterprise system, Shawn Carter could watch his father abandon his family, yet turn a difficult childhood into the motivation to create a hip-hop empire that has made him the most successful hip-hop artist ever, with a net worth of over $1 billion.
But the free enterprise system is not just for billionaires and celebrities – big businesses, small businesses, and family businesses all exist because of the dreams of their founders and an open market system where they could turn those dreams into reality. And the benefit is not just for the owners of those businesses, but the millions who are employed by them and may someday choose to follow their own dreams into the free market.
That is why, according to Citizens for Free Enterprise polling, 95% of Americans support small business, 89% of Americans support entrepreneurs, and 86% of Americans support the American Free Enterprise system.
Yet, as successful and popular as the American Free Enterprise system has been, for the past 100 years socialism continues to rear its head as an existential threat to the economic freedoms that power our country.
Socialism as an actual system of economic planning and government grew out of the writings of Karl Marx and Frederich Engels but was not truly put to the test until Vladimir Lenin led the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 and formed the Soviet Union. Various other versions of Marx’s vision led to socialism in China, Cuba, Venezuela, and Vietnam to name a few.
In a pure socialist state, the government controls the economy of the state and its citizens are dependent on the government for their needs, including income, healthcare, and even family planning. Ultimately, because human nature longs for freedom of thought, speech, action, travel, and work, the socialist model turns repressive and dictatorial in order to maintain government control.
For the past one hundred years, the United States has successfully countered socialist expansion throughout the world by exporting the free enterprise system. But over the past several years a growing socialism movement in the United States has arisen to threaten our free market system.
Political leaders like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and Ilhan Omar have formed a socialist bloc and have been able to marshal the forces of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (all of which were in fact developed in a free market system), to advance the cause of socialism to a younger generation.
As the sentiment for socialism grows, so does the political power of the minority of lawmakers who support it. Central government planning ideas have become actual pieces of legislation. The Green New Deal effectively turns the energy sector from a largely free market arena, to a sector fully under government control with all decisions made by bureaucrats and all costs passed along to the taxpayers.
Meanwhile, if the socialist bloc in Congress has its way, a federal job guarantee would eliminate any sort of merit-based selection for federal jobs. Instead any applicant would be guaranteed a job in the federal government, only adding to the very bureaucracy these same socialists want to be more controlling of our lives. Anyone committed to free enterprise should be watching the malicious destruction of private property in our cities and fear for a future where the federal government can be infiltrated by anarchists devoted to the destruction of society as we know it.
THIS is the reason for Citizens for Free Enterprise. To educate and advocate the benefits of free enterprise and to change the hearts and minds of those who have been led astray by the typical socialist promises of shared utopia, which always end in shared misery.
We will compete with the socialist bloc in the marketplace of ideas and demonstrate the benefits of free enterprise by highlighting real world success stories of daring entrepreneurs who could only be successful in a free market. We will support candidates that are committed to free enterprise for all. And we will use history, facts, and real-life horror stories to educate people on the dangers of any drift towards socialism in the United States and the repressive state that it always becomes.