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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. 


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