LIBRE’s POV on Economic Opportunity
The American story is one of people rising to achieve great things. However, it’s become increasingly difficult for people to share in that experience in recent decades, the result of a two-tiered system that makes it too hard for too many to get ahead. We’re working to reverse that trend by making it easier for the least fortunate to grab hold of the economic ladder and rise. We are working toward a system in which government grants privilege to no one and everyone has access to opportunity. All people should have the ability to succeed, contribute to their communities, and live meaningful lives—regardless of their starting point.
We want an economic system that makes it easier for the least fortunate to grab hold of the economic ladder and rise. Economic opportunity is the most effective anti-poverty program in history.
Today, the federal government has vastly overstepped the Founders’ vision for limited government, as lawmakers expand the size of government but are reluctant to raise taxes to pay it and are even more reluctant to rein in spending. Government spending doesn’t stimulate the economy; it’s a drag on the economy. It distorts markets, picks winners and losers, and creates perverse incentives for individuals, investors, businesses and industries to pursue more government handouts instead of creating more value for themselves or their customers.
Cronyism / Corporate Welfare
The U.S. has strayed from the ideal free market system where the government’s role in the economy is limited to protecting individual rights, enforcing contracts, and punishing and deterring fraud. Federal, state and local governments are larger and interfere more in the free market economy. In the ideal free market system, businesses and individuals are rewarded for the value their goods and services create without a government dictating any of the terms. When the government picks winners and losers and awards favors to politically connected businesses or industries, it undermines competition and gives politicians and businesspeople an incentive to engage in corruption and kickbacks.
Policies like corporate welfare have created a system in which success for some comes at the expense of others. In a recent six-year period, for example, the federal government doled out $4.4 trillion to just the top 200 U.S. companies, costing roughly $35,000 per household.
We’re working to restore an economic system that advances equal rights by eliminating all special government favors—whether they be subsidies, tax credits, or anti-competitive regulations.
Taxpayers deserve to know the true weight of the federal regulatory burden that they face every day. A major hurdle to understanding and reducing this enormous burden is the lack of clarity around just how large the problem really is. Existing measures – like the number of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations – do not clearly define the real impact of our out-of-control regulatory accumulation.
Our regulatory system has also become so burdensome and complex that small businesses report spending more than $80,000 on compliance in their first year of operation—providing a steep advantage to large businesses that can more easily absorb such added costs.
State and federal barriers that devalue work, create cycles of dependency, and prevent people from finding fulfillment in the profession of their choice should be eliminated. People should be empowered to earn success through meaningful work, have power over their paychecks, and who they associate with.
In the current climate, burdensome occupational licensing prevents many would be entrepreneurs and hard-working people from achieving their dreams, hitting the Hispanic community especially hard and driving up the cost of living for everyone. Policies like occupational licenses often stack the deck against the unemployed by requiring them to sometimes pay thousands of dollars and endure thousands of hours of training to simply enter their chosen profession.