March 21st, 2011

It was the 19th-century author, poet and playwright Victor Hugo who said: “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world – that is an idea whose time has come.”  In other words, everything begins with an idea. That’s not profound, of course. But every idea that has ever come to fruition needed a champion – someone who would carry its banner.


IDEAS. That is what the Foundation for Free Enterprise is all about.  Mr. Franklin Reinauer II launched the idea of this Foundation in 1975 and he is still laboring in the fields today.  Over 3 decades ago, Mr. Reinauer had the Big Idea that New Jersey needed a free-market educational program to help defend and advance those Ideas that make our Country great.  He understood that ideas of Free Enterprise matter and we need to pass these ideas onto our future generations.


Although I only briefly have met Mr. Reinauer I can tell he is a deeply passionate man who believes whole-heartedly in our free-enterprise system and commits both time and resources to defending and expanding it.   His passion is shared by others who help build the Foundation for Free Enterprise. Now for 32 years, the Foundation for Free Enterprise has been the champion of ideas. Ideas grounded in the founding principles of limited constitutional government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility for one’s actions.  We have been the ones reminding our students of what Barry Goldwater once said “a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have.”


Today, New Jersey is suffering the consequences of the idea of Big Government.  So we should not be surprised that when government spending in New Jersey increased at a faster pace than in any other state except Mississippi during the 1990s, that we also rank among one of the worst in the nation in job growth, income growth, and population growth.  New Jersey has become Exhibit A proving the axiom that you can have government growth or you can have economic growth, but you can’t have both.


For years, the Foundation for Free Enterprise has been championing the idea of Free Enterprise and less government.  It is a simple fact, government can’t grow any faster than the growth of our economy in general.  That is where the Foundation for Free Enterprise plays a significant role, because who better than our younger generation to continue to champion the message of our founding fathers.


Whether it is the battle to give parents more choices in how and where their children are educated, or challenging laws that force employees to pay hundreds of dollars every year to labor unions as a condition of employment, the Foundation for Free Enterprise gives our youth the tools and demonstrates how the Free Enterprise idea will make them freer, more prosperous and more civilized people.


If New Jersey businesses are to remain competitive, it is crucial that our workforce have an understanding and appreciation of the challenges that face the business community.  At the Foundation for Free Enterprise, old myths about business unravel as students and business people work together, gaining fresh insights into the intricacies of our free market system. Participants are challenged with an abundance of economic concepts, terms, facts, figures, and projections for the future.  Students are given the opportunity to interact with both educators and business leaders who address subjects concerning marketing, business and government cooperation, supply and demand, and the role of business in our economy.


Today’s business leaders translate the real world of private enterprise for tomorrow’s leaders. An educational program like no other, the Foundation for Free Enterprise provides an opportunity free of charge for every eager student to learn about business from beyond the textbook, affording them the opportunity to hear real-life experiences.