Free Enterprise


The term "free enterprise" is often used to describe America\'s
market system. Unfortunately, when the government sets rules and standards
for the companies in the system, the result is not free enterprise. Free
enterprise is defined by Wilson S. Johnson, President of the National
Federation of Independent Business, as "the successful marriage of personal
freedom with economic freedom". (1) With free enterprise comes competitive
pricing, more wealth which is distributed widely among the population, and
small business survival--an important trait when over 50% of America\'s
non-government workforce is employed by small businesses. Deregulation
brings free enterprise in a sense truer than it has existed in the past.
Businesses should not be regulated by the government.

Deregulation in the eighties has brought new meanings to industries
such as airlines, railroads, and telecomunications. Although adjustment
proved traumatic, the airline industry grew from 36 to 156 individual
airlines.(2) The result has been competitive prices, a huge web of new
routes, and competitive employee wages. In 1980, Congress got rid of rules
that encouraged railroads to keep unwanted routes, that forced prices too
high to compete with truck and barge rates, or kept prices too low to make
a profit. (3) Now railway companies are making deals with shippers at
competitive rates allowing, once again, the railroads to be an important
part of America. Since the breakup of AT&T in January 1984, almost every
element of tele phoning has been open to competition. Numerous firms have
been formed boasting low long-distance rates, car phone models, fiber-optic
cable, and such. The complexity of customer\'s bills and other confusing
aspects of having so many different companies are predicted to work
themselves out with time. It is obvious that deregulation has allowed
competition to evolve and thrive in industries where it had never been
allowed to.

It is obvious that the presence of many companies in the market is
beneficial to the consumer in terms of competitive prices and creating
jobs. "The annual yield on a small savings account" has soared from 5.5 to
over 9% since 1980.(4) About 80% of passengers travel by plane under a
discount fare.(5) The cost of standard telephones fell one-third between
1982 and 1983.(6) Although the government has been allowing companies in
these industries to compete, this lift of a guiding hand should not allow
companies to risk health hazards of their consumers. Just because the a
irlines are allowed to compete should not imply the destruction of the
Federal Aviation Administration\'s safety rules under which airpalnes must
fly, for example. Government\'s role in business should be to see to it that
the consumer is safe without limiting his choices and educated so he can
make the best choices. Deregulation brings the greatest good to the
greatest number of people by allowing free enterprise to flourish in even
more of America\'s big industries. Free enterprise had built America and
will sustain America as a safe, educated, flourishing nation.