“It’s absolutely essential that the people who work for a company need to feel that they’re part of something bigger — that it’s not just a job.”

— John Mackey

One of my long-time friends is John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods Market, who is in the forefront promoting “Conscious Capitalism” and his “Whole Foods Diet” (both bestselling book titles).

On Friday, his company announced the blockbuster news that Jeff Bezos’ Amazon (AMZN) was buying Whole Foods Market (WFM) for $42 a share. It is a good move for both companies, and assures the continued success of Mackey’s mission to create a new brand of business and improved quality of life and health for all Americans.

John will stay on as CEO, and continue to build his food franchise. You have no idea how important John Mackey’s message is to the world — to create a positive new brand of capitalism. I’ve taught a course called “Libertarian CEOs” at Chapman University, and every time most of the students vote to work for Whole Foods Market. They love his stakeholder model of combining doing good and still making money.

I first was introduced to John when I was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in New York, and he was a contributor. He has read my book, “The Making of Modern Economics,” three times and was impressed by its clear presentation of the powerful ability of free markets to create wealth rather than simply redistribute it.

When I started FreedomFest 10 years ago, he was one of our first speakers and big supporters. He is now a co-ambassador, along with Steve Forbes.

John Mackey and Steve Forbes, FreedomFest co-ambassadors, judge Pitch Tank contest in 2016.

John has also been instrumental in the development of our health and wellness tracks at FreedomFest. One of John Mackey’s most popular topics has been “The Whole Foods Longevity Diet: How to Live to be 100 and Avoid the Big Four Killers,” referring to heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. He recommends that people eat a whole-food, plant-based, low-fat diet with the consumption of animal foods, including dairy products, representing less than 10% of total calories and eliminating all refined foods such as sugar and white flour. John believes that the healthiest diet consists entirely of whole foods, especially vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. He surprised everyone when he said, “The more vegetables you eat, the more weight you will lose, because vegetables are the most nutrient-dense foods per calorie we can eat.” According to him, eating a diet consisting of whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits is the least expensive diet we can eat, provided we are willing to cook and eat at home.

A few years ago, two attendees stood up after one of John Mackey’s sessions and announced to the crowd that they had followed Mr. Mackey’s recommendations the year before and are now healthier than ever. FreedomFest, and healthy eating, can make a difference!

John is the author of the new book Whole Foods Diet: the Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity.” This year, I’m pleased to announce that his two co-authors, Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman, both medical doctors from Los Angeles, will address us.

Saturday Night Tribute to Steve Forbes on his 70th Birthday!

This year, John made a video tribute to Mr. Forbes, who turns 70 at our conference. We all owe Steve Forbes a debt of gratitude for all he has done for America. We are honoring him and his ideas at the Saturday night banquet, July 22. Other contributors to the video tribute will be Charles Koch, Larry Kudlow, Kim Githler and Maria Bartiromo. I hope you will join us. We all owe a debt of gratitude to John Mackey and Steve Forbes as the premier defenders of free-market capitalism.

In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter from last week about my debate with Gene Epstein on the importance of Adam Smith, the founder of modern capitalism.

Full Schedule Now Posted

Good news! We just posted our full agenda of over 250 speakers, panels and debates online at www.freedomfest.com/agenda. Just scroll down and see your favorite speakers and topics — on philosophy, science & technology, history, geo-politics, healthy living, investments and business. And don’t forget, our keynote speaker is William Shatner of Star Trek fame. Plus, hear Senator Mike Lee, 4-5 congressmen and many others.

FreedomFest is less than one month away. The dates are July 19-22, at the Paris Resort in Las Vegas. Now is the time to sign up — our hotel block is almost sold out! Get $100 off the registration fee by using code FS2017. Go to https://freedomfest.com/register-now/. Or call toll-free1-855-850-3733, ext. 202, and talk with Karen, Amy, Heather or Jennifer.

You Blew It!

Make America Less Great:  Support Ethanol Subsidies

President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally in Iowa was well attended, and after two Republican candidates won special elections the previous day to fill seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, one wonders if the low poll numbers about the country’s commander-in-chief are truly accurate.

Much of what President Trump said made sense. He’s especially right in his efforts to cut the burden of taxes and regulations in this year — that’s what’s holding us back from being a great country. But he spoke further and indicated once again that he is not yet a consistent supporter of limited government.

Talk about defending the undefendable from a free-market economics perspective.

Take his defense of corn-based ethanol, which he mentioned in his address in Iowa. It is without question that one of the most expensive and destructive environmental subsidies in the United States is the one that supports the promotion of ethanol as a fuel for vehicles in the country. Here is a bit of historical background to highlight that point.

Under the 2007 Independence and Security Act, Congress mandated that the United States use 36 billion gallons of biofuels, including corn ethanol and cellulosic biofuel, by 2022. The subsidy costs the Treasury more than $6 billion a year.

Moreover, Americans spend an extra $10 billion per year for ethanol-based fuel. Ethanol-intensive fuel blends can wreak havoc on car, lawnmower and boat engines. It also produces more smog. Ethanol uses up to 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop, thus driving up the price of food.

The ethanol mandate also causes consumers to spend $3.5 billion more on groceries. Rising prices of corn feed have even put some small feedlots and ranches out of business. Enough said. Ethanol subsidies are bad for business, bad for consumers and bad for the environment.