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LETTER: Let free enterprise deliver the solutions we need

"Leaving these tasks to governments ensures that projects and products will take countless decades to develop and the cost of doing so (under government mismanagement) will be staggering."
Regarding Jared Milne's latest column ("Blending the best of free enterprise and government action would benefit us," Feb. 24 Gazette):

I’m afraid Jared Milne completely misunderstood my Jan. 27 Gazette column. 

Firstly, all of my comments focused on environmental solutions, I made no reference to health care systems, whether they be Canadian or American. However, to claim that U.S. health care is a free enterprise system is ridiculous. Medicade, Medicare, Obamacare, the involvement of the U.S. federal and state governments, is nothing short of massive. Government support (interference?) pervades the entire system. 

Further, I disagree with his comment that “Government action played a large part in saving Canada from communism by improving Canadians' standard of living." The concept that governments “create jobs” or “improve the standard of living” was consigned to the ash heap of history decades ago. Governments rarely create anything – their very design is to be a consumer of much of the wealth created by free enterprise and to move some of this wealth to lower-income individuals.  Spending they do extremely well; transfers, not so much. While free enterprise certainly took advantage of workers in its early years, other than Russia, no other European society (53 nations in total) saw fit to convert to communism. I wonder why? And while the Russian communists did improve, somewhat, the living conditions of its citizens and reduced infant mortality rates, Russian peasants were in such desperate condition by the end of the First World War that doing anything was guaranteed to improve their starvation conditions (of course, many Russians did not prosper under communism – just look up the millions of exterminations conducted by the communists throughout the Ukraine).  

In basic terms, my premise was simply this: we obviously need environmental solutions in dozens of areas – construction, housing, transportation, manufacturing and energy generation just to name a few. However, leaving these tasks to governments ensures that projects and products will take countless decades to develop and the cost of doing so (under government mismanagement) will be staggering. We simply cannot afford these costs, and we do not have decades available to solve these problems – the solutions must come quickly – John Kerry tells us we only have seven years left before disaster hits. Heck, it takes governments seven years to just figure out what problem they want to solve. Fortunately, we already have an economic system that excels at these precise tasks: generating solutions quickly, and at far more affordable costs. Just as NASA turned over the responsibility for human exploration of space to Spacex, Boeing and other free enterprise companies, we need to turn over environmental solutions to our free enterprise system. Let governments continue to spend money (most of it) and transfer some money (a very small amount) to the poor, and let free enterprise deliver the solutions we need, right now, and at the right price. 

Brian McLeod, St. Albert


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