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OFF-TOPIC The U.S. Only Pretends to Have Free Markets

csalvato

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This article caught my eye today. Some interesting quotes here:

None of this has happened by chance. In 1999, the United States had free and competitive markets in many industries that, in Europe, were dominated by oligopolies. Today the opposite is true. French households can typically choose among five or more internet-service providers; American households are lucky if they have a choice between two, and many have only one. The American airline industry has become fully oligopolistic; profits per passenger mile are now about twice as high as in Europe, where low-cost airlines compete aggressively with incumbents.
In my research on monopolization in the American economy, I estimate that the basket of goods and services consumed by a typical household in 2018 cost 5 to 10 percent more than it would have had competition remained as healthy as it was in 2000. Competitive prices would directly save at least $300 a month per household, translating to a nationwide annual household savings of about $600 billion.
Basically, the assertion is that the US economy is no longer a free market but an oligopoly, whereas Europe has become more of a free market, and that they are reaping the benefits of competition ($50 flights to Ireland, anyone?).

I'm actually not opposed to oligopolies so long as new entrants have a fair shake (which free market allows). But the lobbying and political climate in the US is so intense, that you can't enter a new market without setting aside a massive lobbying budget or ignoring the rules all together like Uber/Lyft. The sad thing is, the trend doesn't seem to be breaking, because of cronyism.

Just my take.

Maybe Europe is the better place to start a business soon, for those looking for a move...? ;)
 

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Kak

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I have seen this trend and agree.

It seems to me that Europe has already experimented with the socialistic stuff and it is slowly on the way out as they get good results from rollbacks in central control and lower taxes.

Americans, on the other hand, want the government to solve all of their problems and blame everything on the rich now. Americans have a much stronger appetite for confiscatory taxation and nationalizing private enterprise.

I have not heard a Republican politician utter the words "small government" in over a year. We have no party of free markets and small government anymore.
 

MJ DeMarco

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The US pretends a lot of things...

  • Lie #1: Freedom... (sorry, but everything you own is owned by your state, county, or federal governments. You need a permit to do anything which then becomes a contract to your obedience to the system)
  • Lie #2: Free press (owned by oligarchies who only push oligarchical agendas)
  • Lie #3: Due process/justice (look at the current impeachment hearing farce, reminiscent of old Soviet Union trials where witnesses couldn't be cross examined, or compelled to testify)
  • Lie #4: Representative government -- ha ha, politicians only answer to their lobbyists and big donors. Power first, political party second, donors third ... people don't even make the list.
  • Lie #5: Money / Federal Reserve-- only a universal belief is what makes it valuable. It's paper.
The USA is founded on just one big fat lie after another.

And most Americans don't give a shit, just as long as they get their streaming TV.
 

jon.M

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Is not this what the colloquial "crapitalism" aims to describe?
 

Kruiser

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The US pretends a lot of things...

  • Lie #1: Freedom... (sorry, but everything you own is owned by your state, county, or federal governments. You need a permit to do anything which then becomes a contract to your obedience to the system)
  • Lie #2: Free press (owned by oligarchies who only push oligarchical agendas)
  • Lie #3: Due process/justice (look at the current impeachment hearing farce, reminiscent of old Soviet Union trials where witnesses couldn't be cross examined, or compelled to testify)
  • Lie #4: Representative government -- ha ha, politicians only answer to their lobbyists and big donors. Power first, political party second, donors third ... people don't even make the list.
  • Lie #5: Money / Federal Reserve-- only a universal belief is what makes it valuable. It's paper.
The USA is founded on just one big fat lie after another.

And most Americans don't give a shit, just as long as they get their streaming TV.
Meh...

1. No freedom? Yeah, if you're definition of "freedom" is doing whatever you want whenever you want with no one having any say about it or ability to regulate it or tax it, sure, the U.S. isn't free then. But no society on earth is free by that definition either. Sure, red tape can be excessive. But the red tape you have to deal with in Phoenix, AZ isn't anything like you'll have to deal with in many parts of the world.

2. No free press? Don't like what is out there now? Start your own newspaper. No one is stopping you. Better yet, start an online forum. You can then go ahead and use it to beat on the country that gives you freedom. Try doing that in China.

3. Due process? The sixth amendment applies to criminal proceedings. Impeachment is not a criminal proceeding. Check the actual wording of the Constitution.

4. Representative government? I believe the way it works is that the person with the most votes gets the office. Sure, parties and lobbyists have influence. (By the way, lobbyists are often just communicating the interests of... groups of people. Lobbying isn't inherently good or bad). At the end of the day, the person with the votes gets the office. Not true in many other places.
 

socaldude

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The problem I think the USA has is that the laws/regulations are written/designed incorrectly.

It's pretty unbelievable that most politicians don't understand Econ 101.

We have pretty much lost our values as a country. Our country wasn't founded on the idea of a 90% tax heck it was actually partly founded on too much taxation.

Nothing gets done because we no longer have common values or visions.

A lot of our system has worked on faith and optimism, Adam smith talked about exactly this in the wealth of nations. When we don't have that people turn to government and socialism.
 

Contrarian

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My international private health insurance covers virtually everything you can think of, has zero deductibles or co-pays, and has an annual limit of $2.4million. It's also lifetime renewable and the premium is never increased based on claims history. Pre-existing conditions even become covered once you've had no treatment or medical advice for them for a continuous two years on the policy.

It covers absolutely any medical provider, anywhere in the world, in full...outside the USA. Adding USA cover triples the price.

It costs me around $1800...per year. A perfect illustration of the scam of government "services", since it's leagues better than what's on offer under the British NHS and costs a fraction of the price.

But it's also an illustration of just how much you're getting screwed in the US, under the guise of a "free market" which is anything but.

There's lots of things to like about the "free world", be it the USA or Northern Europe, but freedom sure isn't one of them.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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You can’t claim the US is not a free market by picking a few consolidated industries.

You know what industries are free markets?

Restaurants
Construction
Home services
Personal training
Real estate
Artistic/creative work
Need I go on?

People come and go every day in these industries.

Guarantee starting a business in any of these industries is more difficult in Europe than the USA.
 

Kevin88660

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My international private health insurance covers virtually everything you can think of, has zero deductibles or co-pays, and has an annual limit of $2.4million. It's also lifetime renewable and the premium is never increased based on claims history. Pre-existing conditions even become covered once you've had no treatment or medical advice for them for a continuous two years on the policy.

It covers absolutely any medical provider, anywhere in the world, in full...outside the USA. Adding USA cover triples the price.

It costs me around $1800...per year. A perfect illustration of the scam of government "services", since it's leagues better than what's on offer under the British NHS and costs a fraction of the price.

But it's also an illustration of just how much you're getting screwed in the US, under the guise of a "free market" which is anything but.

There's lots of things to like about the "free world", be it the USA or Northern Europe, but freedom sure isn't one of them.
Whats your age? Given that premium increases with age I can get a feel how good it is compared to insurance sold in Singaporez
 

Sadik

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My international private health insurance covers virtually everything you can think of, has zero deductibles or co-pays, and has an annual limit of $2.4million. It's also lifetime renewable and the premium is never increased based on claims history. Pre-existing conditions even become covered once you've had no treatment or medical advice for them for a continuous two years on the policy.

It covers absolutely any medical provider, anywhere in the world, in full...outside the USA. Adding USA cover triples the price.

It costs me around $1800...per year. A perfect illustration of the scam of government "services", since it's leagues better than what's on offer under the British NHS and costs a fraction of the price.

But it's also an illustration of just how much you're getting screwed in the US, under the guise of a "free market" which is anything but.

There's lots of things to like about the "free world", be it the USA or Northern Europe, but freedom sure isn't one of them.
Side question. Which company is this? I am genuinely asking. Have been looking at providers which cover medical bills during international travel.
 

Icecreamchild

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The US pretends a lot of things...

  • Lie #1: Freedom... (sorry, but everything you own is owned by your state, county, or federal governments. You need a permit to do anything which then becomes a contract to your obedience to the system)
  • Lie #2: Free press (owned by oligarchies who only push oligarchical agendas)
  • Lie #3: Due process/justice (look at the current impeachment hearing farce, reminiscent of old Soviet Union trials where witnesses couldn't be cross examined, or compelled to testify)
  • Lie #4: Representative government -- ha ha, politicians only answer to their lobbyists and big donors. Power first, political party second, donors third ... people don't even make the list.
  • Lie #5: Money / Federal Reserve-- only a universal belief is what makes it valuable. It's paper.
The USA is founded on just one big fat lie after another.

And most Americans don't give a shit, just as long as they get their streaming TV.
Really :duh:? I believed all my life that America is a heaven on earth with near-perfect Government.

Now, it sounds like they are similar to our government.
 

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Contrarian

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You can’t claim the US is not a free market by picking a few consolidated industries.

You know what industries are free markets?

Restaurants
Construction
Home services
Personal training
Real estate
Artistic/creative work
Need I go on?

People come and go every day in these industries.

Guarantee starting a business in any of these industries is more difficult in Europe than the USA.
Depends where in Europe. Real estate, employment law and most other things are much freer markets here in Malta than in the USA.

There is a lot more money to be made in the USA, which is why I do my business there despite timezone inconveniences. (Also I like the ethos of getting shit done.) That's not the same thing as freedom.

Whats your age? Given that premium increases with age I can get a feel how good it is compared to insurance sold in Singaporez
33. It would definitely cost more being resident in Singapore, had a good chat with the broker about that. But same coverage levels and still much cheaper than the USA.

Side question. Which company is this? I am genuinely asking. Have been looking at providers which cover medical bills during international travel.
AXA Global. But it's a big industry. Make sure you appreciate the difference between travel insurance that covers medical costs and international medical insurance. It's one thing where it really pays to do your research. What sort of travel schedule are you planning?

I went through a broker called Pacific Prime who I had a fantastic experience with. Everyone else tried to hard sell me stuff and they sat and answered my millions of questions for hours and worked on my timeframe. If it helps, I would recommend talking to them.
 

Tommo

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The US pretends a lot of things...

  • Lie #1: Freedom... (sorry, but everything you own is owned by your state, county, or federal governments. You need a permit to do anything which then becomes a contract to your obedience to the system)
  • Lie #2: Free press (owned by oligarchies who only push oligarchical agendas)
  • Lie #3: Due process/justice (look at the current impeachment hearing farce, reminiscent of old Soviet Union trials where witnesses couldn't be cross examined, or compelled to testify)
  • Lie #4: Representative government -- ha ha, politicians only answer to their lobbyists and big donors. Power first, political party second, donors third ... people don't even make the list.
  • Lie #5: Money / Federal Reserve-- only a universal belief is what makes it valuable. It's paper.
The USA is founded on just one big fat lie after another.

And most Americans don't give a shit, just as long as they get their streaming TV.
Moderators please talk to this my guy demarco lol not allowed here mate.
@MJ DeMarco I wholeheartedly agree and I anticipate this as part of one of your 2 new books. You are becoming more small L libertarian methinks, am I on the right path?
BTW love your rants that could of been me on the game changers thread but I ain't erudite. Similar story Paleo 5 years then vegan after same cholestoral results as you.
 

Matt Sun

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But is there an explosion of jobs in USA now ?
Is the minimum salary really 5k US$ ?
With lower tax, by Trump ?

Free Market is lower tax and no bureaucracy. Argentina, my country, has 70% tax. I 'll repeat that, Argentina has anual taxes of 70% of your work. Things cost triple here than in Brazil. Dam leftist goverments...
 

Kevin88660

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But is there an explosion of jobs in USA now ?
Is the minimum salary really 5k US$ ?
With lower tax, by Trump ?

Free Market is lower tax and no bureaucracy. Argentina, my country, has 70% tax. I 'll repeat that, Argentina has anual taxes of 70% of your work. Things cost triple here than in Brazil. Dam leftist goverments...
The impression we have, as foreigners is that U.S. is a good place if you are a billionaire or a high level executive with rich stock options, or if you are unemployed or on food stamp (not as good as the benefits in Europe but since half of the population don’t pay income tax its not a bad deal, unlike Europe, Australia or Canada that tax bracket begins at a much lower salary tier).

But if you are a upper middle class salaried or self employed you are screwed. You do not benefit from lower tax as capital gain and unable to use global tax heaven to optimize your tax burden or declare personal expense as corporate spending. Basically you bear almost the full burden of the welfare state, the military industry war machine and the retirement funding for boomers.
 

mr4ffe

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The impression we have, as foreigners is that U.S. is a good place if you are a billionaire or a high level executive with rich stock options, or if you are unemployed or on food stamp (not as good as the benefits in Europe but since half of the population don’t pay income tax its not a bad deal, unlike Europe, Australia or Canada that tax bracket begins at a much lower salary tier).

But if you are a upper middle class salaried or self employed you are screwed. You do not benefit from lower tax as capital gain and unable to use global tax heaven to optimize your tax burden or declare personal expense as corporate spending. Basically you bear almost the full burden of the welfare state, the military industry war machine and the retirement funding for boomers.
No, as a foreigner, I imagine USA as a nation in which nothing but massive corporations (and their investors) control most of the market and the government keeps implementing laws that only serve to make those huge corporations even bigger.

'member net neutrality? Comcast doesn't.

Minimum wage only forces small businesses to close down because Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks can afford those wages.

That country is backwards. Not more backwards than mine (Sweden), but still. If I were American I'd probably vote for McAfee.
 

Brian Fleig

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Meh...

1. No freedom? Yeah, if you're definition of "freedom" is doing whatever you want whenever you want with no one having any say about it or ability to regulate it or tax it, sure, the U.S. isn't free then. But no society on earth is free by that definition either. Sure, red tape can be excessive. But the red tape you have to deal with in Phoenix, AZ isn't anything like you'll have to deal with in many parts of the world.

2. No free press? Don't like what is out there now? Start your own newspaper. No one is stopping you. Better yet, start an online forum. You can then go ahead and use it to beat on the country that gives you freedom. Try doing that in China.

3. Due process? The sixth amendment applies to criminal proceedings. Impeachment is not a criminal proceeding. Check the actual wording of the Constitution.

4. Representative government? I believe the way it works is that the person with the most votes gets the office. Sure, parties and lobbyists have influence. (By the way, lobbyists are often just communicating the interests of... groups of people. Lobbying isn't inherently good or bad). At the end of the day, the person with the votes gets the office. Not true in many other places.
Age old argument. Our country is not the worst so we should not complain or strive to fix it. The only thing left out was "leave if you don't like it".
I recognize that "Freedom" is a relative thing but answer this question for yourself: Name ONE thing you can do without Govt permission in the form of a tax, permit, fee, or license.
 

Kruiser

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Age old argument. Our country is not the worst so we should not complain or strive to fix it. The only thing left out was "leave if you don't like it".
I recognize that "Freedom" is a relative thing but answer this question for yourself: Name ONE thing you can do without Govt permission in the form of a tax, permit, fee, or license.
Striving to improve your country's real flaws and defects is a good and noble thing.

Complaining about your country's flaws using 1) an implied definition of freedom that no society on earth has ever met or could ever meet and 2) factually untrue claims...

...is something different.

I recognize that "Freedom" is a relative thing but answer this question for yourself: Name ONE thing you can do without Govt permission in the form of a tax, permit, fee, or license.
One thing? Ok. I can say...

"Donald Trump is a fat, stupid, orange liar with less emotional intelligence than my toddler."

Regardless of whether my statement is true or not...

...neither I, nor MJ, nor Viperion Corporation, nor anyone else is in any danger because the First Amendment protects this type of political speech from federal government interference.

This is a very big deal and a relative rarity in human history.

That is freedom of the press.
 

BizyDad

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Age old argument. Our country is not the worst so we should not complain or strive to fix it. The only thing left out was "leave if you don't like it".
I recognize that "Freedom" is a relative thing but answer this question for yourself: Name ONE thing you can do without Govt permission in the form of a tax, permit, fee, or license.
Walk. Talk. Breathe. Think. Exercise. Volunteer. Donate.

Yes, almost anything that requires money is constrained by those "permissions". And...?

Freedom of the press? To be fair, that don't meet the standard Brian set out. It takes money to have "the press". We all have an internet connection, so we pay a tax on that. And a forum isn't "press" anyways. How do I know? Because the government has rules for what does and does not qualify as "press".

I mean, if you're going to chastise people for not reading the Constitution, well...
 

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Tourmaline

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No, as a foreigner, I imagine USA as a nation in which nothing but massive corporations (and their investors) control most of the market and the government keeps implementing laws that only serve to make those huge corporations even bigger.

'member net neutrality? Comcast doesn't.

Minimum wage only forces small businesses to close down because Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks can afford those wages.

That country is backwards. Not more backwards than mine (Sweden), but still. If I were American I'd probably vote for McAfee.
I can see why it looks like that from the outside. Especially because the federal government is lobbied mostly by large corps. Though I'm not sure how it can be any other way.

This a huge part of why there is federal vs state government separation. The federal government does very little for me as a small business owner. My state government however? Is awesome and really helps a lot, makes it easy and generally pretty cheap to get things going. For example, until I make $1 mil in revenue a year I am exempt from additional franchise taxes. That's quite nice of Texas.

Although I've noticed because nowhere else do you have a federal and state government system the way we do, it's somewhat difficult to understand the dichotomy, especially when the federal government gets most of the attention.

I will add one more point, the large corps usually try to lower taxes, especially corporate taxes. That helps small businesses and entrepreneurs a lot, it is easy to become a corporation and benefit from the lower taxes.

Meh...

1. No freedom? Yeah, if you're definition of "freedom" is doing whatever you want whenever you want with no one having any say about it or ability to regulate it or tax it, sure, the U.S. isn't free then. But no society on earth is free by that definition either. Sure, red tape can be excessive. But the red tape you have to deal with in Phoenix, AZ isn't anything like you'll have to deal with in many parts of the world.

2. No free press? Don't like what is out there now? Start your own newspaper. No one is stopping you. Better yet, start an online forum. You can then go ahead and use it to beat on the country that gives you freedom. Try doing that in China.

3. Due process? The sixth amendment applies to criminal proceedings. Impeachment is not a criminal proceeding. Check the actual wording of the Constitution.

4. Representative government? I believe the way it works is that the person with the most votes gets the office. Sure, parties and lobbyists have influence. (By the way, lobbyists are often just communicating the interests of... groups of people. Lobbying isn't inherently good or bad). At the end of the day, the person with the votes gets the office. Not true in many other places.
To add to this:
  1. Our freedom is not unlimited freedom. This is not a libertarian state. The concept of Freedom stems from the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights
    1. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
    2. This does not include freedom to own property without any recurring expenses.
    3. This does not include the freedom to do things in a public space or to serve the public without permits/licenses
    4. America is still the most free nation in the world. No European nation has even the basic freedom of speech that we enjoy.
  2. This forum is a byproduct of freedom of press. The democratization of media has greatly changed the landscape, the MSMBS is no longer in control the way it was previously.
  3. This is more of a cultural thing wherein the far left approaches tyranny and wishes for guilty until proven innocent. Impeachment is also not a criminal conviction as much as it is a statement of the incumbent president being unfit for office. However the precedences being set by the way the Democratic party is handling accusations is anti-American.
  4. I am in most agreement out of all these points with @MJ DeMarco about representative government. At the same time, the representatives are ultimately creations of the state/country/districts, etc, and do inherently represent them. Anyone can run for government, and especially at the state level there is quite a lot of actual representation. Also quite a lot of one candidate districts...lol
  5. Money wise, the value of our money in my view comes from it being the most demanded and used for business currency, and it is backed by our military. That said I do abhor the federal reserve. But I am not entirely sure anymore that simply having the government directly print money is necessarily better. The federal reserve system does cost a little more and gives the central banks undue power, but at the same time doesn't that inexorably tie the banks to the American economy even more requiring them to care more for the the economy?
I find MJ's view on this very curious. These are leftist talking points. Yet he also espouses conservative talking points in Unscripted. Reminds me of why Unscripted reignited some anger I have previously had towards the system. But in a good way as it made me revisit it all and better resolve them too. Such a complex person MJ is.
 

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