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When was the last time you visited a Chick-Fil-A restaurant? If your experience was anything like mine, you were treated to great customer service, an affordable tasty meal, and a clean restaurant. Chick-Fil-A has done a tremendous job of competing against larger chains like McDonalds in the fast food market. As many of you know, Chick-Fil-A is a Christian-owned company that chooses to forfeit millions of dollars each year by keeping its doors closed on Sundays. Chick-Fil-A, while not perfect, has done a remarkable job of hiring a good workforce, creating an enjoyable atmosphere, and preparing food that is healthier and better tasting than most of its competitors.
Why is it that companies like Chick-Fil-A do such an amazing job of taking care of customers while others organizations could care less about your needs, concerns or improving your overall experience? The answer – competition.
Competition is the great equalizer. Without it, customers are forced to put up with bad service and crummy products. To see an example of this, look no further than the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
About seven years ago, I moved to Kentucky. Just like anyone else, I had to make a trip to the local DMV to get my driver’s license and vehicle tags. It was during the humid month of July. Since the buildings were built nearly a century ago, there wasn’t enough room for more than 10 people inside. The rest of us were left standing outside in the 90 degree heat to bake for two hours. We were so relieved when we finally set foot inside the cool building. Finally, my number was called. Upon coming to the counter, the aggravated clerk informs me that I am missing some paperwork. So, I dutifully returned later that day with all of my paperwork and waited in a slightly smaller line for about an hour only to discover that they didn’t take credit cards. At the end of the day, I had to make three frustrating trips back to the state-government monopolized DMV to take care of some simple paperwork.
When I moved to Georgia two years ago, I had to go through the entire, excruciating process yet again. No matter how well your day may have started off, you will invariably leave the DMV in a bad mood.
Now let’s consider the federal government’s track record in areas that should belong to the private sector. The inefficiency is staggering. Remember FEMA’s colossal failure to get people out of New Orleans after the hurricanes? Did you know that thousands of people, organizations and churches came rushing to the city’s aid only to be turned away by FEMA ? We watched the footage of thousands of hungry, dirty people sitting in the Superdome waiting to be rescued. The longer people were left in the dome the worse things got. Those that were inside said the stench from human waste filled the air inside the dome. Had the federal agencies allowed the private sector to come in and assist, the outcome would have been much better.
As we approach the 2008 elections, the issue of nationalized health care will be hotly debated by each of the candidates. Many— from both sides of the political fence— believe that some form of government intervention is the solution. Simply give the government more of your hard-earned money and they will fix everything. Yeah, right.
If you think that electing Hillary Clinton or any of the other candidates will get us closer to an affordable healthcare system, you are naive to say the least.
While the solution isn’t simple, given enough time, the free market will bring about change that will eventually improve the system. Why? Because, as consumers, we will find the company that offers the best product at the lowest possible price. Companies will, in turn, create a better product, give better service and offer it at a lower price in order to hold on to customers or create new ones. Furthermore, there are companies referred to as disruptors, who will eventually come in and turn the old system upside down. We have seen this happen in the technology industry several times in the past decade.
I recently watched a report on ABC News about the car industry. Consumer Reports just released their latest rankings on the top carmakers. For many years, Toyota has received one of the highest ratings for reliability from Consumer Reports. Well, not anymore. Toyota’s incredible success has come at a price in recent years. Two of Toyota’s top selling vehicles, the Camry and Tundra, are running into more and more problems.
Meanwhile, Ford has made staggering improvements. Consumer Reports claimed that 93% of models sold by Ford Motor Company scored average or better reliability. The other two American automakers scored 49% and 67% showing that they have a long way to go to earn back the trust of the American car buyer.
Competition has forced Ford to make a better vehicle. You have to build a better car at a better price in order to win back the consumers’ affection. Last year, Ford lost a whopping $12.6 billion! In 2007, Ford surprised everyone by posting a $750 million profit during the second quarter.
As competition gets more intense, the consumer always wins. Automakers are now starting to build cars with better crash test ratings, better gas mileage, better engines, more comfort and so on.
My final plea to you is this: Don’t let the government force their agenda on the private sector. I will also make this promise to you: If the government interferes with healthcare, we will all have less money in our bank account and a miserable experience to look forward to at the doctor’s office or hospital.
Let’s continue to look for solutions, but don’t vote someone into office to fix it for us. Instead, use your vote for a candidate who promises to say “no” to new government spending, “no” to higher taxes, “no” to big government and “yes” to Americans keeping their own money and being allowed to make their own decisions for their family.
If you would like to study this topic in greater detail, I recommend The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism. It is a fun and easy read for all ages.