I'm going to preface this with a little personal background to help understand why I feel the need to clarify the basic precepts of Free Market economics.
I have been a Libertarian, first, from birth by Constitutional indoctrination, as this is the ideal that the founders of our Nation framed it under, and second, by what I learned studying political theory in college.
Once one becomes attracted to the deeper political systems that laterally influence the mainstream American political parties, its a blessing and a curse.
First off, the social liberties i expect, both from my constitution, and from my belief in the concept of free-action and non-aggression, are implied, and some of them are reflected in both political parties. essentially, I, and others like me, believe that one should be allowed to do any voluntary action, both singularly or in groups, so long as no one else's rights are aggressed upon. These being human rights or property rights. This seems simple enough, but when you apply it situationally, it gets much trickier. You can't support it unless you believe in that principle itself, the principle that ones fate should be at their own mercy, and not at that of another, even potentially to a fault.
Here is a tricky part:
This also means i believe this to be true economically. That one should be able to provide for society in whatever way one might want, and as frequently or infrequently as one might want, and bear whatever fruits that might bear. This principle of self determination, in an economic sense, raised the overall quality of life for Americans historically as long as it was applied.
however, the time came where the interests of government, themselves, threatened to crush the markets. Within a century we had sneaky common-law precedent, theoretically meant to end slavery, applied to give individual rights to corporations. Shortly thereafter we had a public stock market, central bank, and a removal of the gold standard of our currency. Since this day, politicians stole the term, "the market", formerly meaning the free exchange of goods by private citizens and private companies, unregulated and wild, competing fervently for your dollar with high quality services, now applied to publicly traded corporations whom had no real owner, and no accountability to anyone. They pool such excessive resources, backed by public stocks and the whims of the stock market, that no private company owned by an individual could compete. The smaller private startup capital couldn't turn over the same quantities, and therefor couldn't get the low wholesale prices, or manufacturing prices that a major publicly traded corporation could.
This lead to lawless, 10 headed companies swallowing up communities, and the steps taken to correct the problem became legislation. At this point, the Republicans, who generally tout the virtues of the "free market", now meant CORPORATISM. essentially, regulatory agencies for industries were created, opening Corporations to lobby them for things... sometimes there are funding kickbacks for being in compliance with a new law, sometimes government infrastructural needs are auctioned off, where a monopoly is created on a service being paid for by taxpayers with almost no transparency about cost. The resultant spending and nepotism towards certain corporations with a strong lobbying interest resulted in more aggressive lobbying.
This is not free market. Kickbacks or tax breaks to benefit certain corporations is a MANAGED MARKET, one found in a system of Corporatism. Free Market thought only allows contracts between individuals, and companies which are not liable for their actions are illegal.
Having headless corporations, whose only master is a random breeze of people holding stocks makes planning for long term success an impossibility. You have months to turn a profit, or maintain one if a problem occurs in your industry, if you can't make it happen fast, the bottom falls out from underneath you. Then corporate tax law favors losing money on purpose to get into lower brackets to have a better bottom line.
the market should never be restrained in a way which causes someone to become unproductive in order to accrue more wealth. This defeats the whole purpose.
The point of an unregulated market is to take advantage of the greedy and the workaholics by providing them an incentive to better society by creating more resources. When you don't provide this opportunity, these people do not do the extra work which causes prices to lower for those who don't want to do it.
The SAD THING, is that our Politicians have perverted "free market" to mean "corporatism". People believe that free market policy benefits big corporations, when, in fact, destroying the regulatory agencies that supervise them, would probably destroy the corporations also.
In fact, going to the original system before the Civil War, when the 14th Ammendment was applied to Corporations, the current idea of an entity which is not a private citizen having monopoly over an industry would be an impossible concept. it is only through twisted legislation, parading as a check and balance against big companies, which snuffs out competition from enterprising small business.
Health care is a great example of something which is hurt by over regulating, and I'll give you some examples. These will be fairly simple.
Our current healthcare system is regulated by many regulatory agencies. There are rules about who can use what medicines, where they can be acquired, who can deliver them. There are rules about who can be a doctor, nurse, surgeon, and certain types and amounts of schooling that are required to provide these services. There are rules about what procedures you are allowed to perform, and under what circumstances, where, and with whom. These types of laws are aimed at increasing the quality of care, however they all fail. There is no amount of school a doctor can attend to guarantee he wont sneeze when he has a scalpel up to your left ventricle, this is just not reality. And not allowing a doctor to, for example, intern under a doctor for years for free instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on colleges, all of whom are of suspect and varying quality, increases the cost of education for everyone in the building before you even step into the office. Oftentimes you have nurses doing almost all the procedures you might need in a year, yet you still have to pay for the doctor's entire practice, education, and business infrastructure every time you step into the office.
The current laws prevent you from buying and taking home test kits that show if you are positive to a strep infection in your throat. anyone with a high school education could do that type of procedure themselves or for their own family, and purchase antibiotics over the counter and solve that problem without the 200$+ visit and 50$-200$ antibiotic cost. This could be solved for 15$ and probably cut a few hundred thousand pointless doctor visits out of the game. This would free these rooms up for people with serious problems who need real medical attention. There could be countless examples of ways to limit cost if regulations disappeared. Under the current rules a nurse who has performed a procedure for 40 years can't open her own practice and give the procedure not under supervision of a doctor without going back for more expensive schooling, even if the doctor she's working under isn't as qualified at giving it.
Also, what if someone needed a heart surgery and couldn't afford to do it at a hospital, and a private citizen who knew how to perform it but wasn't licensed was willing to? Under current laws to have someone save this persons life would be illegal, even considering the fact that a suitable alternative could not be affordably provided. Considering that, the person may actually want to take the risk of the unlicensed surgeon rather than die, if he was pretty certain his death was imminent without the surgery in question. Bear in mind a license does not guarantee a successful surgery, many times surgeons who are licensed make very big mistakes that result in a patients death.
Government regulation does not improve the quality of a service. This is a fact. Deregulation will not stop certain incompetent individuals from making mistakes, but neither will regulation. You can float through 12 years of college listening to Phish and getting wasted on Special K, if your rich enough, then your a short residency away from going live on a patient with no knowledge other than a variety of Will Farrell movie quotations and who won the Heismann trophy the past 50 years.
Don't let lying Big Government republicans like Mitt Romney scare you away from free market power. Corporations are not the good guys in the market, private companies are. small businesses. the middle class. This is who the market works hard for.
Snip the common law precedent applying the 14th ammendment to corporations, snip the fiat monetary system and the federal reserve, get our gold standard back to our money, so it retains value, and get rid of these "regulatory agency" piggybanks for public corporations, and watch the prices drop and your quality of life soar!
Freedom is choice. Use entropy against itself for better survival.