The problem with modern America

If you follow the news coverage of this election cycle you will think that the most important issue that the voters care about is Donald Trump’s vs Bill Clinton’s affairs and sexual misconduct. In reality, this is all noise that has zero chance of affecting the lives of citizens. We have a legal system where crimes such as sexual assault and rape are supposed to be tried, where people can be convicted by juries of their peers after adversarial trial but the media focus on trying these crimes instead of the courts because they get good ratings and divert people’s attention from the real issue.

The real issue that affects America is the lack of free market in many fields that leaves people victims of monopolies that prey on them. In this post, I will touch on some of these areas and show why the lack of free market is hurting our country.

Trade

Many people on both the left and the right argue that our current trade deficit is caused by our trade agreements and blame the decline in manufacturing jobs on free trade. Trade is not the reason for this decline but it is the factor that exposed the weakness in the American industrial field which is the high cost caused by the taxes, regulations and labor laws that are enforced by the different levels of government. The cost of the government policies prevents the free flow of labor and capital to many industries such as clothing, furniture, and electronics because it is very hard to compete with cheaper imports coming from countries that don’t have the same tax, regulatory and labor burden. There is the wrong way to handle this issue by going into protectionism which will shield our industries from global competition while raising the cost of consumer goods and making all of us poorer. The right way is for the government to realize that it needs to free the American business from these burdens and dramatically reduce taxes and regulations burden and ease the laws protecting labor unions and restricting the flow of labor to the most productive use.

Many Trump supporters point to the foreign governments’ unfair trade practices such as currency manipulation and dumping of cheap products. I think that we should respond to such practices but not before we make sure that our government does everything it can to remove the obstacles facing our industries.

Monetary policy

We have a monopoly on the production of money by the federal reserve that keeps interest rates artificially low for long periods of times causing many bubbles such as the stock, the housing and the dot come bubbles of the past 30 years. Because we don’t have a free market in money interest rates are set arbitrary by the federal reserve bank and that causes money to flow into assets such as stocks, bonds and real estate during low-interest-rate times then to quickly dump these assets when interest rates increase. Interest rates should be left to the free market to set them based on the quality of the loan and the future payoff which will encourage savers and deter people from buying assets they cannot afford such as houses and cars. Market interest rates as well will make entrepreneurs focus on the economic value of their projects instead of starting businesses that have no prospect of success.

Education

The education in our country is a state-run monopoly. K-12 schools are run by the state and local governments under heavy intervention by the federal government. Parents are stuck with the public school their children are assigned to and all teachers are union employees who don’t face any accountability for the quality or results of their work. Education outcome depends on the level of support and involvement the parents can provide so children who come from families with higher income and education do much better than other kids. Leftists and progressives like to say that school spending is the reason but in reality, the United States spend more money per student than many other countries and get much worse outcomes. Colleges, on the other hand, all are paid for by either direct government money or indirect government money through student loans. This causes the college system to be so bloated with programs that don’t provide any real education value to students. Most of the spending on these universities and colleges goes to either administrative or research projects that don’t help with education. The fact that all the money comes from the government makes all majors and courses equally accessible for students so the return on investment doesn’t play a role. In a truly free market student loans interest rate will be less on majors that have higher career prospects than ones that don’t which will influence the students to make better choices and colleges to offer more cost effective education options.

Healthcare

The American healthcare system provides the best treatment options in the world but the government intervention in it is causing prices to be too expensive and prevents the people from getting the best treatment options they can get. The current dependency on healthcare insurance is a relic of the wage controls during World War 2 and the government is giving an incentive to companies to offer heath insurance through tax breaks but the same tax breaks aren’t available to people who don’t work for insurance offering business and want to buy insurance in the market. This system isolates the consumers from the real cost of health care and lets hospitals and doctors be inefficient in providing the health care services. When customers pay directly for the services they get the providers will compete to offer the best value. If you take the example of LASIK surgery which is largely uncovered by insurance, the prices have been coming down every year while the quality and safety of the procedure increases. Health insurance should only be used for catastrophic things such as surgeries and accidents while normal health services such as doctor visits and immunizations should be paid out-of-pocket. Insurance should also be owned by the consumer instead of the employer like all other types of insurance.

Another major interference by the government is the huge overhead of the FDA approval process for both new drugs and generics. It can take years for drugs to be approved and the process is so expensive and cumbersome that it dramatically increases the cost of developing new medicines and make it harder for new competitors to enter existing markets. A recent example is EpiPen where the FDA made it very hard to any new competitor to offer epinephrine injection system which effectively gave Mylan a monopoly on that markets for years allowing it to raise prices every few months. The Drug companies are already liable for any misconduct in their production and development process and the FDA didn’t prevent any of the drugs that turned out to have bad side effects over the years. The hidden cost of the FDA obstruction is the people who suffer every year from diseases that could be cured if their medicine would have made it to the market soon enough.

Conclusion

Government intervention in the free market is the main cause for all the economic issues this country have been through in the past and will be in the future. The more we hand out more of the economy to the government, the more stagnation, poverty and struggle we will face. The solution to all of our economic problems is to stop the government interference in the free market and let the people run their businesses and

Every election many voters are tricked into focusing on some bogus side shows such as who said what and who has claims of sexual misconduct against them instead of holding the candidates accountable to the results of the growing government intervention and the monopolies it spurs. I really hoped that the stagnation and slow growth we have been through since 2009 would finally make the people wake up to the realities and dangers of government intervention the economy but it looks like the big government candidate will win again.