Definition of FREE MARKET
A market economy based on supply and demand with little or no government control. A completely free market is an idealized form of a market economy where buyers and sells are allowed to transact freely (i.e. buy/sell/trade) based on a mutual agreement on price without state intervention in the form of taxes, subsidies or regulation.
Based on this defintion, we do not have a free market economy in the United States. Most of you probably already know that. I've read two stories this week that make me realaize just how far greed and corruption are allowed to go in this country.
[from Reason.com] Some guy's friend gets killed by a drunk driver and he decides to do something about it. He starts a service to keep drunks off the road by offering free rides home. - When you're charging for something and someone else figures out a way to offer it for free, normally you're SOL. Unless, of course, you happen to be operating in a regulated industry with licensing requirements and you happen to have the ear of the city council and/or the chief of police. Then there's another, more appealing alternative: You can make the competition illegal.
For many years I have opposed union monopolies on providing service. I worked summer jobs to help pay for my college expenses, One summer the men at the oil refinery where I worked announced that they were going on strike. My father told me I couldn't cross the picket line without (literally) risking my life. I was furious that the planned strike would prevent me from earning the money I needed for school. It is obviously not "free trade" if others are willing to use violence to prevent you from working.
Normally, we teach children "the value of a dollar" by letting them work for it. Often our first venture into business is in the form of a lemonade stand. One young girl from Oregon had her lemonade stand temporarily shut down. Fortunately,Oregon county officials have apologized after health inspectors told a 7-year-old girl that she can’t run a lemonade stand without a $120 temporary restaurant license. Have we really reached the point in our society where government officials go around harassing young children selling cold drinks?
These are just two examples of government going overboard in its effort to protect us from ourselves. I'm sure there are thousands of others. So when someone says, "I'm from the government. I'm here to help." it might be a good idea to run the other way.