I completely agree with the commentary by Kenneth Shelton (“Market should decide about hot tubs and restaurants,” The Daily News, Nov. 11) about the importance of free markets in a democracy, and local government steering frivolous issues such as hot tubs.

The writer gravely overstates, however, the unassailable, nearly godly value of free markets. For instance, on the same page, The Daily News editor cries how we must do right by our veterans (“Honor veterans by keeping the government honest,” The Daily News, Nov. 11). Wait a minute? The veterans were paid for their service at the time. Doling out VA benefits, health care, etc., after the fact are not free market, are they?

After World War II, the U.S. Congress passed GI bills that helped vets with plenty, including homeownership and education. Two of my uncles took advantage, earned degrees in aeronautical engineering, bought houses.

There are many similar examples when total obedience to the free market idea is not the best path. Should our highways be privatized, as the Kochs and their puppet Mike Pence think? No more state or federal highway and bridge maintenance, infrastructure, just pay the tolls day after day?

How about health care? When you go into a car dealership, your credit better be good, no matter how far the commute to your job. But when you are having excruciating chest pain, you want the Cadillac or Lexus of care, don’t you? And the ER personnel absolutely must give their best effort to save your free market self, or they won’t sleep at night, unlike the car dealer.

There are plenty of examples. Seat belt laws? Car seats for kids? Smog that causes asthma or cigarettes, cancer and heart disease?

My point is that the free market needs reining in, or direction, often for our common good, by thoughtful, science-based legislation. Not hot tubs, though. I agree there.

Paul Boor lives in Galveston.

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(4) comments

Kelly Naschke

So...you agree but you disagree...hot tubs are compared to the VA...the Koch’s have Mike Pence in a puppet string....Cadillac and Lexus....your uncles were engineers....and pay per use taxes (toll roads) are bad. And somehow this cluster fudge has a free market message in it?

Mark Aaron

Leroy: [ And somehow this cluster fudge has a free market message in it?]

For those of us who don't see "the free market" as infallible it made plenty of sense. Free Market zealots' mileage may differ.

Diane Turski

I agree there should be a balance between free market and social responsibility. Thanks for pointing out that not everything has to be a simplistic choice between "either or" in a healthy democracy.

KENNETH SHELTON

Paul, you raised an important point, though not directly, and that is what exactly does the "free market" mean. Responded and they will print some point but 500 words is really inadequate to discuss.

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