Originally posted by @whodey
And where do these corporations come from exactly?
Who creates them? Who gives them special protections?
Is an even playing field ivory tower ideology, or does it or can it exist?
As for wealth, how is it created in your opinion?
The goal of "free market" thinking is ostensibly to benefit the public or the general good by promoting competition.
An even playing field can be constructed to a limited extent in many markets by means of intelligent regulation. The objective is to promote competition and prevent the emergence of monopolies. That in turn implies a concept of the general good, or the public good, which is more important than the sefish tendencies of vested interests.
An unregulated or poorly regulated market will not provide a level playing field - in the sense of a competitive market - because it will inherently favour those who are already wealthy and powerful. allowing monopoly power to operate against fair competition.
One problem with neoliberal economics is that it promotes the interests of the wealthy, of corporations and of monopolies at the expense of competition.
Another aspect of the problem with neoliberal economics is that it replaces public services with unaccountable and costly substitutes under the false flag of competition, in markets where there cannot be effective competition and where prices cannot be set through the power of the customer. Access to basic necessities like housing, water, power, education is restricted for those unable to pay a market price, while the so called market price is itself established by monopoly powers without fair competition, effectively allowing private corporations to tax the public at will and pocket the excess profits.
Even services retained for the benefit of the poor are wrecked by middle class flight, a process by which those with the ability to pay for alternatives (often heavily publicly subsidised) abandon the residual public options , which are grotesquely under funded and poorly managed. Instead of arguing in favour of proper public funding for services, the wealthy argue for public subsidy of private sector rivals, again treating the public purse as a cash cow to benefit the better off while working aggressively to withold services from the less affluent. This is further aggravated by blaming the poor for their own poverty, and racialised by ensuring that social spending benefits white rather than black citizens.
It is a delusion to hope that Democrats of the Clinton / Third Way variety will offer anything other than neoliberal economic policies and Bill Clinton certainly demonstrated how a Democrat can outflank Republicans on their Right rather than their Left.
What has failed in the USA is not free markets, which are a fantasy, but free market ideology and that is largely common ground for both the major political parties.