Joe Scarlett: Let the free market live

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 12:58am
By Joe Scarlett

Our free marketplace is not perfect and never will be. But it is the most spectacular wealth-generating machine in the history of the world.

No one likes what has happened to our economy recently, but we should never forget that wealth is created by individuals and businesses — not government. Our systems of economic freedom, innovation and entrepreneurship will continue to generate powerful, long-term growth — as long as we don’t mess it up.

Our nation was founded on principles of freedom that include limited government and maximum personal rights. We cherish our right to freely pursue any legal business opportunity with minimal government restriction.

More government regulation only means a higher cost to do business, which translates to consumers paying higher prices for goods and services. Attempting to regulate ourselves to perfection will only lead to paralysis.

Right now, we can still try any “wild and crazy” idea for a new product or service, as long as we don’t violate the various laws and regulations. Often it is these very wild and crazy ideas that lead to innovation and wealth creation.

Suppose you have an interesting idea about a new product. You borrow a little money, buy some raw materials, assemble your product and then sell it. Most ideas fail, but let’s say yours works. Next you rent a building, lease some equipment and hire an engineer, a few production folks, an accountant and a salesperson. You are creating a product for customers, employing a half-dozen people and generating wealth that you will likely reinvest in your growing start-up business.

As this scenario demonstrates, wealth is created by individuals and businesses, not government. But government can redistribute wealth. The more we borrow to redistribute (to be paid back by future taxes), the more we increase taxes and impose additional regulations, which in turn discourage our entrepreneurial spirit. The more the government takes and regulates, the less incentive individuals have to innovate and produce.

The unintended consequences of government oversight and regulation are often beyond comprehension. After the Enron scandals, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was supposed to prevent all sorts of monkey business. Yet after just a few years, we had the Bernie Madoff scandal and the big-banking meltdown. And on top of that, American business is now forced to spend billions annually in compliance costs, and that has made our country just a little bit less competitive in the global market. Government oversight inevitably slows and sometimes paralyzes the very businesses it is intending to help.

Our capitalist system makes big mistakes but also creates incredible wealth. The continual process of business failures and bankruptcies are key ingredients in the process because from the ruins capital is redeployed where it can be more productive. In addition, failures are learning tools that help inspire new ideas and new businesses.

The current march toward greater government regulation is also a march toward business mediocrity. The more complex the oversight, the slower our great wealth-generating machine operates. People come from everywhere to participate in our economy because they see greater opportunity here than in their own countries. Free people and free markets generate the ideas that have made our economy the envy of the world. Our politicians should be encouraging those free markets and minimizing business regulations and controls.

Our collective objective should be to support and encourage ethical and transparent business and industry. We do have the best economic system in the world, and no matter what has happened recently, we should never forget how we achieved such success in the first place.

Joe Scarlett is the retired chairman of Tractor Supply Co. and founder of the Scarlett Leadership Institute at Belmont University

143 Comments on this post:

By: Loner on 8/16/10 at 11:18

Barney Fife? That sounds like something Sarah Palin might say, Amy. Palin often questions Obama's manhood, very subtley, in her regular barrage of one-liners, quips and canned, store-bought witticisms.

Maybe she secretly craves the man....they say she's quite horny. McCain bet on it.

By: Captain Nemo on 8/16/10 at 11:23

Loner you can be sure that a troll and likewise wacko’s will not consider them to be religious people.

By: BenDover on 8/16/10 at 11:23

I think Sarah and the First Dude would be great in the White House. Damn sure couldn't screw things up any worse than Obama has.

By: AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 11:34

HEY, Who around here is from Detroit?

Can you see if your hometown will keep their village idiots at home?
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/aug/14/four-arrests-national-socialists-rally/?partner=popular

By: Loner on 8/16/10 at 11:35

There you have it, Ben Dover is a Palin man. The First Dude's dysfunctional family is Jerry Springer material, IMO, not Presidential material.

By: Captain Nemo on 8/16/10 at 11:37

"As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border." --Sarah Palin, explaining why Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience, interview with CBS's Katie Couric, Sept. 24, 2008

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This just shows how much she would screw thing up. Puttin or any Russian official coming from Moscow to Washington never gets close to Alaska.

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 11:40

Loner said

"There you have it, Ben Dover is a Palin man. The First Dude's dysfunctional family is Jerry Springer material, IMO, not Presidential material."

Even in Alaska they refer to the Palin family as the "Wassila-billies". What does that tell ya?

By: Captain Nemo on 8/16/10 at 11:44

Amy, Detroit has a Tennessee connection. LOL

By: budlight on 8/16/10 at 11:52

You cannot deny that legislation sponsored by Barney Frank,Chris Dodd, etc. that forced banks to loan to people who could not repay those loans was one of the largest factors that led to the housing crisis. Wake up to your own blindness.

Whoever said that hit the nail on the head. Remember? When some people said "do not loan money to people who don't qualify financially", everyone called them racists -- implying that only people of color did not qualify, when in fact, it's people of all races, across the board who are going belly up and losing their homes.

Carter, Frank, Dodd, etal. Just lending like a "house a'fire" and now bailing out like there's no tomorrow. NEXT on the agenda: Obama will forgive Freddie & Fannie foreclosures. That should send the stock market plummeting.

By: house_of_pain on 8/16/10 at 11:52

"Amy, Detroit has a Tennessee connection. LOL"

Pam Murray?

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 11:54

"Dignify and glorify common labor. It is at the bottom of life that we must begin, not at the top." -- Booker T. Washington

By: Captain Nemo on 8/16/10 at 11:56

house-

Oh yes and that too. lol

By: budlight on 8/16/10 at 11:59

according to Webster "ursurp" is "To seize and hold (the power or rights of another, for example) by force or without legal authority. ..."
MOSQUE: Muslims oppressing society quietly by ursurping everyone's equality.

Captain Nemo on 8/16/10 at 11:47
Here is the list of Muslims that were murder in the Twin Towers on 8/11

El Capitan: The Muslims in the towers on 9-11 were "collateral damage" or as Obama says often about things: "unintended consequences". Maybe the hijackers didn't realize their own kind would be killed, ie, ambushed & slaughtered.

And when did Twin Towers get hit on 8/11. Was that the basement bombing? Or did you do a typo?

By: budlight on 8/16/10 at 12:02

By the way, Capt., I feel sad for any and all religions and nationalities of those who died. Wasn't trying to be mean about "collateral/unintended" comment.

NO ONE deserved to be ambushed and slaughtered in 9/11 terrorist attack.

By: Captain Nemo on 8/16/10 at 12:04

A trolls idea of soccer is sucking a basketball.

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 12:13

budlight said

"You cannot deny that legislation sponsored by Barney Frank,Chris Dodd, etc. that forced banks to loan to people who could not repay those loans was one of the largest factors that led to the housing crisis."

I'm assuming that you're trying to point the finger of blame at Freddie and Fannie. I'd bet my bottom dollar that you can't provide a single link to a bi-partisan economics site that would back up this statement.

"The foreclosure rate on loans owned by Fannie Mae is about 1.72 percent. By contrast, the foreclosure rate on adjustable-rate subprime loans is nearly 20 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/business/worldbusiness/11iht-mortgage.4.17727184.html

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/16/10 at 12:43

oh, brrrk. you're trying to baffle with facts again!

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 12:57

Blanketnazi2 said

"oh, brrrk. you're trying to baffle with facts again!"

I know, I know.... maybe reciting "Ayn Rand" 1,000 times will cure me of logical thinking.

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 1:05

Mark McKinnon, Republican strategist for George W. Bush, has stated,

"Nothing could or should block the building of this mosque. And any ongoing argument or controversy about it only deepens the pain and the stain left by terrorists. So President Obama did what leaders are supposed to do. He has used the bully pulpit of the American presidency to say, 'This is the right thing to do. Let's move on.' And in my view, exerting this kind of bold leadership, which in the short term may be very politically unpopular and perhaps costly, will, in the long -term, make Obama a candidate for a president worthy of respect for making a tough and necessary call."

George. W. Bush's speech writer Mike Gerson said

"An enormously complex and emotional issue-but ultimately the right thing to do. A president is president for every citizen, including every Muslim citizen. Obama is correct that the way to marginalize radicalism is to respect the best traditions of Islam and protect the religious liberty of Muslim Americans. It is radicals who imagine an American war on Islam. But our conflict is with the radicals alone."

By: AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 1:07

Tennessee is ranked 7th in case you are wondering:
http://mercatus.org/publication/freedom-50-states-index-personal-and-economic-freedom

Sorry Loner

By: AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 1:13

Brrrk, maybe this explains a bit of why McKinnon is backing up BHO:
http://www.independent.org/blog/index.php?p=7327

Do you really lend much credibility to McKinnon who worked with Bush when he says "...in the long -term, make Obama a candidate for a president worthy of respect for making a tough and necessary call."
I didn't LOL but it was definitely a snicker when I read that.

Bush sure did make some tough calls all right, and Obama campaigned against several of them.

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 1:20

AmyLiorate said

"Do you really lend much credibility to McKinnon who worked with Bush when he says '...in the long -term, make Obama a candidate for a president worthy of respect for making a tough and necessary call.'
I didn't LOL but it was definitely a snicker when I read that."

I suppose this might be funny if you thought that defending the 1st Amendment isn't worth respecting, regardless of the repercussions.

By: AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 1:29

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1303463/Obama-backtracks-Ground-Zero-mosque.html

OK, I had a double take on this:
"at a White House meal celebrating Ramadan"

Does this mean all the tea party people are right?!

By: BenDover on 8/16/10 at 1:37

Either Obama really doesn't understand our enemies or he's playing for the other team.

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 1:41

On the topic of religious tolerance, I'd like to point out that at the time our country was founded, Philadelphia was the largest city in the colonies. Now some of this can be attributed to the natural resources in the area, as well as the fact that Virginia (Pennsylvania's close but not adjacent neighbor) was the location of the first Western European settlements in the new world. But the biggest contributing factor was the fact that Pennsylvania was known throughout the colonies as being the most tolerant of all the colonies.

"As a Quaker, William Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where anyone could worship freely despite their religion, and this extreme tolerance which led to significantly healthier relationships with the local Native tribes than most other colonies had, also encouraged the rapid growth of Philadelphia into America's most important city."

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 1:49

AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 2:29

"OK, I had a double take on this:
'at a White House meal celebrating Ramadan'

Does this mean all the tea party people are right?!"

He also had an Easter Egg hunt on the White House grounds, and a Christmas dinner, and a Passover dinner... my God, does this mean that he's also in the pocket of the Jewish and Christian activists?

By: cookeville on 8/16/10 at 1:50

The rich have never created wealth, except for the very few at the top of the heap. They make their money and they keep it. That's ok as far as it goes. But today, the gap between the very rich and the rest of us has widen immensely. Today, 83% of stocks are in the hands of one percent of the population. And all they do with those stocks is buy and sell. The money goes nowhere but stays in their pockets. Without that amount of money-trillions-being put into circulation, the economy is not going to grow. So these few people and the lending banks have taken this country to the brink of disaster, just as happened before, in the late 1800s up to the Stock Market crash in '29. And if something isn't done, it will happen again. No matter how one looks at it, all the wealth in so few hands is lethal. Joe Scarlett doesn't have a clue, nor does he want one. There is no country in the history of civilization as we know it that has survived having all the means of acquiring and keeping money in just a few hands. Any reading of economic history will show you that. Now that the wealthy have succeeded in busting unions, outsourcing all the work, making money scarce, and gotten rid of all laws that keep them in check concerning how they use the environment and working conditions, we can look forward to a minute rich class and a sprawling poor class. That is the way of unregulated capitalism. Get ready for some nasty times, people, cause they are coming.

By: budlight on 8/16/10 at 1:52

Humor 101: My 1-day employment

So after landing my new job as a Walmart greeter,
a good find for many retirees. I lasted less than a
day...

About two hours into my first day on the job a very
loud,
unattractive, mean-acting woman walked into the store
with her two kids, yelling obscenities at them all the
way through the entrance.
I said pleasantly, ' Good morning and welcome to
Walmart.
Nice children you have there. Are they twins?'
The ugly woman stopped yelling long enough to say,
'Hell no, they ain't twins. The oldest one's 9, and the
other one's 7.
Why the hell would you think they're twins? Are you
blind, or stupid?'
So I replied,
'I'm neither blind nor stupid, Ma'am. I just couldn't
believe someone slept with you twice. Have a good day
and thank you for shopping at Walmart.'

My supervisor said I probably wasn't cut out for this
line of work.

By: budlight on 8/16/10 at 1:52

Humor 101: My 1-day employment

So after landing my new job as a Walmart greeter,
a good find for many retirees. I lasted less than a
day...

About two hours into my first day on the job a very
loud,
unattractive, mean-acting woman walked into the store
with her two kids, yelling obscenities at them all the
way through the entrance.
I said pleasantly, ' Good morning and welcome to
Walmart.
Nice children you have there. Are they twins?'
The ugly woman stopped yelling long enough to say,
'Hell no, they ain't twins. The oldest one's 9, and the
other one's 7.
Why the hell would you think they're twins? Are you
blind, or stupid?'
So I replied,
'I'm neither blind nor stupid, Ma'am. I just couldn't
believe someone slept with you twice. Have a good day
and thank you for shopping at Walmart.'

My supervisor said I probably wasn't cut out for this
line of work.

By: gdiafante on 8/16/10 at 1:56

Cookeville, you're right, it's going to get worse before it gets better, if it ever actually does.

My advice is to do exactly what the wealthy are doing...save.

Then move to Canada.

By: budlight on 8/16/10 at 2:00

brrrrk: I didn't say the quote you responded to me about. It was as follows:
"rldavenport@com... on 8/16/10 at 8:29
Loner: It is you who has blind and delusional faith in the "fundamental goodness" of government, especially when our representatives continually engage in wasteful spending, steal from Social Security, etc. to cover their behinds, play childish political games with each other instead of focusing on the real problems in our society, etc. Increased taxes do nothing to spur the economy. They do not "soak" the rich; they "soak" everybody! You cannot deny that legislation sponsored by Barney Frank,Chris Dodd, etc. that forced banks to loan to people who could not repay those loans was one of the largest factors that led to the housing crisis. Wake up to your own blindness."

So as Ridavenport the question.

PS: Humor 101 - oops double posting again. sorry folks for 2x tap on "post"

By: gdiafante on 8/16/10 at 2:04

"Either Obama really doesn't understand our enemies or he's playing for the other team."

So...our enemy is American citizens? The stupidity of some during this debate is embarrassing.

By: AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 2:05

Brrrk, you know I don't lean on the conspiracy angles with Mr. Obama...

but I am wondering how many other presidents have had a special meal for ramadan.

Cookeville, skip the saving part... go ahead an move to Canada now.

By: gdiafante on 8/16/10 at 2:06

They want to eliminate the 14 amendment and only apply the first amendment to non-muslims.

I don't even recognize my country anymore. It's a disgrace.

By: budlight on 8/16/10 at 2:08

Captain Nemo on 8/16/10 at 11:47
Here is the list of Muslims that were murder in the Twin Towers on 8/11

Nemo - a list of 50 people. That's 5%. Not a fair representation. I'd say we count the # of U.S. citizens killed; check their religious preference and build a center based on the faith of the largest group of dead. Sounds legal and fair.

Amy, he did not celebrate the resurrection of his own savior - Obama claims to be Christian so his savior would be Jesus. AN EASTER EGG roll is not an acknowledgement of the true meaning of EASTER. So obama celebrates RAMADAN? He panders to muslims whenever they want him to. he's not black. He's a camelion; changes colors based on who's shoulder he's sitting on and based on who's backside he's kissing.

By: gdiafante on 8/16/10 at 2:10

It only took one simple search to find this Amy...

http://politics.usnews.com/news/blogs/god-and-country/2009/09/01/the-mind-behind-obamas-ramadan-dinner-george-w-bush.html

By: budlight on 8/16/10 at 2:14

AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 12:02
Yes Newton... savings are not good under the Keynesian plan. Loner if BHO could just stop himself from having to put his mark on every headline USA Today publishes then he'd go a lot further. He just can't resists the urge to call someone out for "acting stupidly" or building a mosque. He's kinda like Barney Fife, keeps taking that bullet out of his pocket and shooting his self in the foot. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2c/Barney-Fife.jpg

Amy truer words were never spoken. BHO is smarter than anyone on the planet. JUST ASK HIM.

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 2:14

AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 3:05

"but I am wondering how many other presidents have had a special meal for ramadan."

Ritual Ramadan Dinner Becomes an Opportunity for Muslims to Reach Out

“ 'Over the past eight years, we have made the Iftar dinner an annual tradition here at the White House. And I’m really glad we did,' Bush said when opening this year’s September 17 dinner"

http://www.forward.com/articles/14277/

By: gdiafante on 8/16/10 at 2:16

Must mean Bush doesn't understand our enemies or is playing for the other side.

Right Ben?

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 2:18

gdiafante said

"Must mean Bush doesn't understand our enemies or is playing for the other side.

Right Ben?"

OMG, Bush was a closet Muslim!!! Did you see him holding hands with the Saudi Sheik, what's up with that?

By: house_of_pain on 8/16/10 at 2:22

I'm celebrating Rum-adan. It's a Caribbean holiday. No religious extremists,
just tan people & pirates.

By: AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 2:24

I got it GD & Brrrk. thanks

By: budlight on 8/16/10 at 2:25

Bush was a puppet, Also. AND he had bad manners.

By: brrrrk on 8/16/10 at 2:26

house_of_pain said

"I'm celebrating Rum-adan. It's a Caribbean holiday. No religious extremists,
just tan people & pirates."

Me, I celebrate Pasta-over. Garlic, olive oil and linguine... eeeeeyum!!

By: AmyLiorate on 8/16/10 at 2:29

Rum-o-Dan with Barack O'Bama from Kenya and the Phillipines
He is the international man of mystery!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Xkw8ip43Vk

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/16/10 at 2:39

By: gdiafante on 8/16/10 at 3:06
They want to eliminate the 14 amendment and only apply the first amendment to non-muslims.

I don't even recognize my country anymore. It's a disgrace.

Ditto that. If they didn't allow the mosque to be built they would be breaking the laws we created regarding discrimination. And people think that's okay??? Yeah, I'm starting to not recognize my country either.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/16/10 at 2:40

brrrrk, i celebrate the pastafarian faith myself! long live the flying spaghetti monster! praise be to his tomato noodlidge!

By: Captain Nemo on 8/16/10 at 2:53

By: BenDover on 8/16/10 at 2:37
Either Obama really doesn't understand our enemies or he's playing for the other team.

Who are our enemies Ben, runaway banking?

By: Captain Nemo on 8/16/10 at 2:53

By: BenDover on 8/16/10 at 2:37
Either Obama really doesn't understand our enemies or he's playing for the other team.

Who are our enemies Ben, runaway banking?

By: yogiman on 8/16/10 at 3:00

Loner, Obama may be smart is some ways, but he was stupid to steal the Oval Office of this nation. Give him credit, he has woke the people up.

You may be a Obama fan, That is your preference. He is not a natural born citizen of this nation. As the old saying goes; Time will tell. If he is legitimate, why has he spent millions of dollars to keep his birth certificate under lock, as well as all of his other personal papers? His 'Certification of Live Birth' shows only his date and time of birth, his mother's maiden name and her race as Caucasian and his father's name and his race as African. When did African become a race? I always thought of it as a continent.

I have seen speeches by his wife referring to their trip through Africa to him homeland of Kenya. A booboo, or intended error?