How to Educate Voters About the Free Markets

As the fall elections approach, the campaign season really begins now.  Voters will begin seeing and hearing ads and speeches from candidates and PAC’s (political action committees) who are not known for telling voters the truth-whether it’s on the candidate’s voting record, things the candidate has said in his or her past, publicly or privately, things the candidate has done in his or her own past, or even on the issues themselves and why they matter. The odds of getting the full truth about the candidates and issues this fall are as likely as seeing the Washington Redskins or Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl this year-you can wish for it all you like, and sure MAAAYBE it will happen, but the chances are, you aren’t going to get what you hope for (not a hater- I’m just being realistic based on past history).

The Caesar Rodney Institute was founded four years ago to change the way people think about certain issues. Unlike political candidates, we aren’t there to collect votes; we provide our information free of charge. We do not publish anything unless we are absolutely sure the data has been independently verified for accuracy. We do not try to scare you into hysterical actions with no thought; we invite all to read the blogs, read our editorials and research studies, and participate with us in teaching the public about the principles which made America great: the freedom of choice in life: choice in where to live, what occupation to have, choice in what to say, who to donate to, or anything else which makes you happy and prosperous. Everyone is welcome to agree or disagree with CRI’s findings, we are about freedom of speech and ideas.

This is the key part of the blog post today: how to teach the free-market system to those who have been deluded by “progressive regressives” (they call themselves progressives but what they really want is a monarchical czar-like system where bureaucrats make all the decisions for us peons-something that went out of style decades ago) into believing the government is their friend. That these eeeevil corporations and businesses just  want to “get you” because of their greed-and only the “big brother” government can “protect your rights” from these evil people who just want to get you. As if the government is never greedy or doesn’t have enough power already.
They also demonize anyone who believes as we do that the government should return to its original intent as specified by the Constitution-both the US Constitution and the Delaware Constitution.

So your job, not only this fall but always, is to educate the public about why free-market philosophies work. Here are some tricks to try at home with friends, family, classmates, neighbors, co-workers, employees, employers, etc.:

1. Give them a bag full of random goodies. Ask them if they are happy with what they have. Now offer them items you are sure they desire more than what was in that bag-this is the essence of free trade: the freedom to obtain things of value to you and for them to obtain things of value to them. Why? Value is subjective. I value a bag of Kit-Kats more than I value a bag of York Peppermint Patties. If I had the patties, I’d be less happy, and maybe someone who doesn’t like Kit-Kats, or who can’t eat chocolate/candy, will also be unhappy. Under the Statist system pushed by these “regressive”,  the government determines the value of goods., regardless of whether you want those services or not .This is called “price control”. You see this in monopolies all the time-it’s the reason  why when purchasing you have to purchase the cable digital box with over 200 channels, even if you only want 10 of them, all for a very high price: in the absence of competition, there is no incentive for the provider to do a good job. Not happy with your electric bill from your utility company, or your local government agency? Too bad. They have a monopoly, and they can do what they want.

2. Explain to people the dangers of being in debt. Ask people what their credit card statements look like. Then ask what will happen if they never pay off the full amount, or if they fail to pay at all, what will happen to them. You know the answer: the credit card companies will eventually come after them, deny those people who spend unwisely more credit, and the credit card company can repossess your items to pay for the debt. Now ask these people if they really think the US and Delaware can continue being in debt with no consequence. “Taxing the rich” doesn’t work because even if you take 100% of the money from the top 5% of people, you can’t pay down your debts and continue to spend unwisely. And if they really think there are no consequences for overspending in the government-see what is happening to Greece, Spain, Italy, and California.

2. When you hear someone tell you that more government spending is the key to fixing the economy,Give a person three one-dollar bills and then pull out a dollar bill. Then ask for one of your dollars back. Ask that person if both of you are wealthier because the wealth was “redistributed”. Assuming they say no, but insist the government is still wonderful, ask them how the government gets its money. All government bodies get it in three ways: raising taxes (taking money from one person to give to another), borrowing (say from China or some other entity which does not operate in the best interests of America or Delaware), or in the case of the Federal Government, printing it (causing inflation). The government cannot create wealth because it doesn’t create value: all it does is provide for some services that the private sector could not, or should not, do (examples: military, coin tender, act as an arbitrator for legal disagreements). Stimulus fails because all it does is take money from one group to give to another; explain to your neighbors that for one group to benefit, say solar companies, that means someone else ( a bakery for example) has to pay more in taxes and thus cannot hire more people or expand services. Redistribution of the wealth, via higher taxes and fees, does not “stimulate” the economy, because it is impossible: wealth was merely transferred, not created.

3. If you hear someone talk about the benefits of providing “access” to health care for more people, and how healthcare is “going to be better now”, tell them they have ten seconds to count to ten. Then, tell them to count to ten and write their name ten times on a piece of paper in ten seconds. Then, tell them to count to ten, write their names on a piece of paper ten times, and also separate a bag of M & M’s (or Skittles or whatever you like) by color. All in ten seconds. When they inevitably complain this is impossible, ask them how they can expect doctors to treat more patients and do more tasks without an increase in the numb The ACA will add 30 million people who currently don’t have health insurance to the system, and promise them it’s “free”. For example, many people have been told they now have a “free” annual checkup. Think about how long you sit in the doctor’s office now. Now imagine say 200 more people trying to see your same doctor. You think it will be faster? You think the doctor will do just as good a job as he did before he had to take on more patients? This has to be communicated to patients. Also, doctors typically spend 2-3 hours a day on paperwork. Just wait until they have more patients to take care of!

To be fair, we are not saying every provision of the bill is bad: for people with pre-existing conditions who were unable to buy insurance, or for young people (such as myself) who cannot afford an ever-expensive health care policy, being able to have those things is nice. Also, for some people, access to certain types of care would be less restricted under the new bill. But the negative aspects of this bill outweigh the good that comes with it.

Try these exercises out, or come up with your own. What matters is that people understand the principles of why the  free-markets matter. Any problem we have, healthcare, education, energy, economic, social-ALL can be fixed with the principles of the free markets. Over the coming months CRI will be educating the public about these principles and how to teach others them. By ourselves, we cannot get this job done: with all of you, we can change people’s minds and lives for the better.

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