View, in 5:10, practically everything you need to know about the efficiency of free markets and how freedom leads to rapid improvements in your standard of living (H/T: CafeHayek.com):
The most convincing argument in favor of free markets is to demonstrate that the poorest in the US today have access to more life-improving resources than the richest people in the US had just 80- to 100-years ago. As Milton Friedman has aptly demonstrated, none of those life-improving resources ever came from government; they all come from the sweat of entrepreneurs in the private sector who attempt to become rich by providing you the things that you want and need. The freedom for a few to become rich is a necessary condition for large improvements in everyone’s standard of living.
Would You Rather Be Vanderbilt in His Time or You in Yours?
Cornelius Vanderbilt could only wish that he could spend a summer night in an air conditioned room and most of the so-called “Robber Barons” would have lived many decades longer with antibiotics and Lipitor. Unfortunately, few people who consider themselves poor or in the middle class ever stop to think about that or think about why they are able to live more comfortable lives than Vanderbilt and Rockefeller ever could. Instead, people tend to compare themselves to the contemporary Joneses and when they look poor in comparison they usually call for laws and regulations that kill economic freedom and unwittingly inhibit their own children’s standard of living.
Our Economic Shackles
Perhaps there is no better indicator of economic freedom in the US than the tally of the number of pages published in the Federal Register each year.
“The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.”
In other words, the number of pages in Federal Register tracks the amount of regulations with which businesses and free people need to comply. Failure to comply leads to civil and criminal penalties. Many credit the Reagan tax cuts of 1981 with the dramatic turnaround in US economic growth, but probably just as important as tax cuts were the amazing reductions in regulations that the Reagan Administration pushed through Congress.
From 1980 to 1986, the number of pages published in the Federal Register dropped from an all-time high of 87,012 to the lowest number in the twenty-five years between 1975 and 2010 (47,418), a 45.5% decrease. Economic freedom flourished.
By the year 2000, the Reagan Revolution was dismantled, not just by the 1993 tax hikes, but more importantly by the substantial increase in regulations. The number of pages in the Federal Register reached 83,294 in 2000, the first time it exceeded 80,000 since Reagan took office. The Bush years barely put a dent in the Federal Register with a low occurring in 2007 at 74,408 pages. It is not surprising then that the economy under Bush did not grow as fast as it did under Reagan. By 2010, the number of pages published in the Federal Register was once again near all-time highs at 82,590.
When entrepreneurs are hobbled is it any wonder that the economy is handicapped?
Just how do those regulations get on the books? People who love to eat sausage never want to see the suasage made. Granted the issue in the attached video is a District of Columbia law that inhibits economic freedom, but all one has to do is imagine the same process on a much grander scale when thinking about how Federal regulations are created.