Saturday, September 30, 2023

OPINION: A new voice for free market policy

by CHRIS CARGILL/Mountain States Policy Center
| August 26, 2022 1:00 AM

When Benjamin Franklin left the constitutional convention in 1787, he was asked what kind of government the Founding Fathers had left us? His reply was not only witty, but it was also prophetic: “a Republic — if you can keep it.”

For nearly 250 years now, through trial and tribulation, we have been able to keep our Republic. It still stands as a model for the rest of the world — a shining city on a hill.

Over that same time period, France has had five different republics! What explains this remarkable comparison? Surely, some of it has had to do with providence.

But the secret may be that our Founders didn’t just give us one constitution. They allowed each state government to have its own constitution. They allowed each state to become a laboratory for democracy. They were committed to the idea of empowering Americans through limited government. They were committed to the exchange of ideas.

This fall, Idaho and the Mountain States welcome a new voice for free market policy and ideas, and a voice for limited, constitutional government. The Mountain States Policy Center is launching and will be based in Boise and Coeur d’Alene.

The mission of Mountain States Policy Center is to empower you and your family to succeed through non-partisan, quality research that promotes free enterprise, individual liberty and limited government.

The Mountain West is one of the fastest-growing areas of the country. As more new citizens arrive, more free market solutions to pressing policy issues will be needed. The alternative is a future wherein big-government policies that have shattered states like Illinois and California begin to take root in Idaho.

Mountain States Policy Center will stand for true school choice — an idea that doesn’t close public schools but improves them.

We’ll favor open and transparent government, because sunshine is the best disinfectant.

We’ll recommend better ways to ensure quality health care by putting you, the patient, back in charge.

Mountain States Policy Center is committed to Idaho, but regional impact will be important. Policy solutions in Idaho might be a good fit for Montana. A policy that doesn’t work in Washington might serve as a warning for Wyoming. Our states are connected — and we’ll work to expand our reach each year, with more analysis from more states and additional solutions that improve lives.

The slogan of Mountain States Policy Center is “Free Markets First.” The free market — not government — is responsible for the greatest advancements in the history of the world. Instead of fighting battles with each other, Mountain States Policy Center will concentrate on advancing free markets.

Putting the free market first means putting families, children and small businesses first. Putting the free market first means doing everything possible to arrive at solutions that come from the people rather than from the government.

Not every Idahoan will agree with our message or our ideas — and that is OK. But the respectful exchange of ideas will only lead to better policy outcomes.

We still have that Republic that Mr. Franklin told us about. Will you join with us so we can keep it?

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Chris Cargill is the president & CEO of the Mountain States Policy Center, an independent research center based in Idaho. Online at

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