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Council should let marketplace work

July 9, 2012
Messenger News

All too often, elected officials are tempted to interfere inappropriately in the proper working of free enterprise.

A good example of that temptation was the discussion at the June 29 special meeting of the Fort Dodge City Council. Up for consideration was what should have been routine processing of a liquor license application for a new business venture.

Rather than simply determine whether or not the applicant met the legal tests applicable to such licensure, the council members debated whether they should limit the number of such licenses in Fort Dodge and seem inclined to spend time studying that issue. Some members seem to be under the misapprehension that it is their role to determine how many businesses of a particular type Fort Dodge should have.

Quite bluntly, it is not.

In a free enterprise system, the marketplace should be allowed to sort out which businesses succeed and how many of each type should exist in a particular market. That has been a fundamental part of the American economic system for centuries. It should remain so.

The increasing inclination of politicians at all levels of government to find excuses for regulatory intrusions into our nation's economic life is a trend that should be reversed - not encouraged.

The members of the City Council have much important work to pursue. Attempting to determine winners and losers in the marketplace, however, has no place on their agenda.

Councilman Dave Flattery has the right perspective.

"Competition is good," he said. "The best survive in a free market."

His colleagues should listen to that sound advice.

The Messenger implores the members of the City Council to waste no more time - or taxpayer money - on regulatory adventures that are inappropriate for city government.



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