Defending his administration’s push to enhance regulation of private enterprise, President Barack Obama told a Chamber of Commerce audience on Monday that companies have a responsibility to ensure that everyone profits from their expansion.
If we’re fighting to reform the tax code and increase exports, the benefits cannot just translate into greater profits and bonuses for those at the top. They have to be shared by American workers, who need to know that opening markets will lift their standard of living as well as your bottom line.
Opening markets to international trade and investment benefits every economy. The president has made this argument when he enacted a trade agreement with South Korea in December and during Chinese president Hu Jintao’s state visit last month, he continually pointed out that businesses and their workers profit from economic growth halfway across the world. (Even if major impediments remain to a truly free Sino-American trade relationship, on both sides.)
The fact that economic freedom benefits the whole of society, from business executives to ordinary workers, is both evident and of secondary importance when contemplating the morality of the marketplace.
Businesses do not have a social responsibility and government has no business trying to enforce it.
A business is the extension of individual ability and productivity. Just as every man is entitled to the sweat of his own brow, every business is entitled to reap the rewards of its own ingenuity and labor.
The movers of a private company are the people who create. It is just that the people who invent new products or design new strategies earn more than those who make their products or execute their strategies. It is just that chief executives, who lead multibillion dollar enterprises across the globe, earn more than their workers who posses far lesser skills.
Every man is rewarded according to his ability on a free market. No man is forced to “share” against his will — certainly not with the people who depend on him for an income in the first place!