Mises Wire

Mike Pence Thinks the “Free Market” Is Making You Poor

Vice President-elect Mike Pence has no idea what the term “free market” means, or at least, that is what his most recent statement would suggest. Defending President-elect Trump’s $7 million deal with Carrier, Pence recently stated, “the free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing.”

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While there have been some libertarian arguments made in defense of this new deal with Carrier, which will keep 1,000 jobs in the United States instead of moving them to Mexico, blaming the free market for a loss of American jobs is far-fetched, to say the least.

RELATED: “In Defense of Trumps’ Deal with Carrier

However, there is something even more disturbing about Pence’s belief that the free market has failed the American people: it shows a complete lack of understanding for what a free market really is. Surely, if Pence had a clear idea of what a free market economy actually entails, he would know that America, doesn’t actually have one.

While still faring better than many other nations, America has become somewhat of a beacon of crony capitalism. From corporate bailouts to giant subsidies given to American companies which do not actually need these handouts, the United States does not have a great track record when it comes to keeping the government, and taxpayer dollars, out of big business.

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Unfortunately, the American government’s obsession with propping up big companies has led to a major disconnect when it comes to understanding free markets and how they operate. For young Americans, many of whom had their economic opinions shaped during the housing crisis and the resulting TARP bailouts, crony capitalism is all they know. These economic catastrophes were integral in leading many young people to subscribe to ideologies like socialism and communism, in order to combat the corporatism which they believe to be true capitalism.

It is this very line of thinking that has given us the cult of personality surrounding Bernie Sanders and even Jill Stein. Many Millennials would rather try pure collectivism, an ideology where everyone fails, than allow for a free market system where the winners and losers are chosen organically.

Of course, young people are not the only ones to blame for the mass misconception of free market capitalism. Whether they are fully cognizant of their role or not, our elected officials have done all they can to continue this ruse that markets only succeed when the government steps in to save the day.

For Pence, and other prominent political figures, to continue perpetuating this lie that free market capitalism and cronyism are one in the same is not only misleading, it is also extremely dangerous. This false narrative demonizes the use of free market solutions and instead places its faith in more government intervention. This myth will only lead to bigger government, not a drainage of the swamp which the Trump administration initially promised during the campaign season.

This contradiction between how free markets are perceived and how they actually function is extremely confusing to most Americans and it has led to widespread misunderstanding and fear of free market economies. Without an administration willing to stand up for truly free markets while condemning cronyism, we can never expect to bridge the information gap when it comes to understanding capitalism.

Whether Mike Pence is truly ignorant when it comes to economic theory, or just simply regurgitating typical statist rhetoric in order to win over his constituents, he might want to consider picking up a copy of Economics in One Lesson before he is sworn into office.

Brittany Hunter is a Mises University alumna, blogger, and creator of digital content for Generation Opportunity.

Image Source: Donkey Hotey via Wikimedia www.flickr.com/people/47422005@N04
Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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