Far too often, households cannot pay their bills because the local (often independent) businesses that hire them fail. One of the main reasons that local businesses fail is that they cannot compete with big businesses that have successfully lobbied politicians for tax and regulatory advantages.
Independent businesses that have historically provided most of the jobs necessary for households to earn the income required to become middle class are disappearing because they do not have the profitability necessary for them to hire lobbyists to secure the tax breaks and regulatory advantages that big businesses receive. In addition, because of certain bank regulations, many independent businesses cannot secure the loans they need to increase profitability.
A “Free Market” is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “an economic system in which prices are based on competition between private businesses and not controlled by a government.” The current economic system is not a free market system because it is influenced by policy, tax, regulatory and other advantages given to big businesses by government at the expense of local independent businesses. This leads to widespread unemployment caused by the closing of thousands of independent businesses around the world.
The Middle Class Movement is focused on ensuring that these local businesses get the same political advantages as big businesses to ensure that the world has a truly “free market” based economic system. Our Free Market Index (FMI) tracks the percentage increase or decrease of businesses in a municipality. We believe that this measure of local business trends provides the general public with some insight into the extent of the free market in a municipality.