Steve Forbes has written the right book at the right time with the right ideas. Read it before you vote.
“Freedom Manifesto: Why Free Markets are Moral and Big Government Isn't,” just out by Forbes and co-author Elizabeth Ames, begins with questions each voter should ponder before Election Day, 2012:
• What kind of a society do we want to be?
• What best serves the public good—free markets or Big Government?
Forbes and Ames make the case that “free markets are moral and Big Government isn’t.” Their arguments are effective because their moral framework includes ideas used by Democrats and liberals like “fairness” and “helping others.” Forbes and Ames write that as a promoter of “the values of trust and cooperation, generosity and democracy, economic freedom has been a more powerful force for individual rights, self-determination—and morality—than any government bureaucracy.”
They acknowledge that, “There are unquestionably greedy people to be found in free markets. There are bad people in all societies. But democratic capitalism is the most moral system because it does the best job of channeling our energies into activities that benefit all of us.”
Whether you agree with Forbes and Ames depends on the models you prefer regarding choices like these:
• Meeting your needs: FedEx or the Post Office?
• Innovation: Apple or Solyndra?
• Customer service: Nordstrom or the Department of Motor Vehicles?
• Hope, growth, jobs and opportunity: the presidency and policies of Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama?
Some of the “bottom line” questions Forbes and Ames pose are:
• Do you want the bureaucracy that gave you the Post Office to direct your medical treatment and run critical industries?
• Is it fair for people to get ahead based on political connections (crony capitalism) instead of the real value they provide to others (democratic capitalism)?
• Do we want a government with faith in people that promotes prosperity—or one that divides society, punishes enterprise, and restricts our freedom?
Forbes and Ames remind us that, in speaking of the government and its power to tax and control, “In 2004, Hillary Clinton told a group of well-heeled liberal supporters” that (in her words), “We’re going to take away things from you on behalf of the common good.”
It is eight years later and Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton for the presidency. But he has based his term in office and his re-election bid on the morality of her premise.
Your thoughts and feelings about that—and reading “Freedom Manifesto”—will help you to choose which candidates you’ll vote for on Election Day.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.