Subsidies, regulations, tax credits and write-offs, … Why is it okay for the government to pick winners and losers in industry, business, finance, research, or agriculture? To manipulate by loosening the purse strings? Supplement entire industries in the name of the greater good? Even with the best of intentions, it is not the role of government to be a catalyst in the marketplace. For far too long we have let Washington redirect true economic progress and we are now on a collision course with reality. Only the free-market can correct the route we are on. The momentum of growth will take the path of least resistance. We should not be surprised at the cesspool on Wall St. We have allowed the invasion to meddle and fester. If the economy is stagnant, it is because government is in the way.
For every natural action there is an equal and opposite reaction, an ebb and flow, a balance created to sustain the natural order. Political influence over the markets has rapidly grown, becoming a wrecking ball that collides with the economy. An attempt to manipulate the markets with outside forces only creates instability, chaos, and inhibits recovery. Although carefully contrived, coercion only impedes improvement. Regulations, stimulation, subsidies, policies, programs, bailouts, and mandates are hollow investments that will push down on the economy with the same force of their initial influence. The weight of government burdens push and pull against the system not allowing it to self-correct. The result: a weaker, artificial economy, never as good as the real thing. True revitalization has to come from within, without intervention. The economy needs stability, predictability, and reassurance, not so-called progress getting in the way. An authentic recovery must come from consumers, not politicians who curse gravity, denying that sometimes the best thing to do is… nothing. If every time you hit a guy he only hits back harder, maybe you should stop hitting him.
Government attempts to incentivize and invest will always fall short. Trying to ignite industry and innovation does an injustice to enterprise. True incentive comes from the individual, necessity, inspiration, and passion. Interference and obstruction only stifle the flame. Manipulating the system will either suffocate or blow it out. Spending, stimulus, bailouts, financial overhaul, health care reform, extending unemployment benefits, and expanding the public workforce… In their efforts to keep the American economy burning, they create policies that throw another log on the fire, while sucking all of the oxygen out the room. In spite of the shifting winds we try to keep it going…
Hybrid super snakes plague more than just the Everglades. The serpents have evolved and migrated all the way to D.C. Government control has woven itself around almost every aspect of our lives and our economy. Regulation is going to strangle this country to death, as it squeezes tighter with every piece of newly passed legislation. It’s already grown bigger than the legislators who think they can control it, and the charmers should realize it may turn on them when it has a new master. If it doesn’t get put back in its cage by November of 2012, it will swallow us whole.
The fast food philosophies couldn’t be farther apart. It comes down to choice and whether or not you want to make one. No one sits forever at In-N-Out unable to make a decision. You can count the possible items on one hand. Of course there are a few insider options for those who know the system, but their entire menu would be legible on a postage stamp. Sonic’s menu could fill a billboard in 12 pt. font. It has over 168,000 drink combinations, not including shakes and coffee drinks. Breakfast is served all day and you can customize every combo, burger, coney, sandwich, wrap, salad, side order (way to many to list), or dessert. You can run down a car battery with just the radio on well before you’ve read all the options (so there are lots of pictures). This extraordinary country was founded on the principle of freedom. Freedom comes from being able to make our own choices: on religion, political opinion, education, health care, and even what we eat. Don’t get me wrong, I love In-N-Out, and would choose an In-N-Out burger over a Sonic burger every time, but I don’t always want a burger. I’m glad I still live in a country where I have the power to make my own decisions, even if they are not always the best ones for me. We need to encourage competition, reduce the red tape, and eliminate unconstitutional regulations that give preferences to or punish certain businesses or industries. The consumer is smart enough to make the big (and little) decisions when given the choice. Capitalism allows us to learn from our mistakes, rather than be restricted from making any.
Whether spirited debate or healthy competition, passion emerges from the persistence of ideals. It is crucial to remember that we have the option of raising our voices instead of raising our fists. A constant battle of the minds was built into the framework of this country. A continuous pursuit for truth, innovation, and equality has led iron to sharpen iron as ideas are debated. In the heat of battle sometimes sparks fly. The result has created this modern projected masterpiece, this city on a hill. Discord can lead to discovery. Metaphors that acknowledge the darkness of history, battles in our past, or life in the Wild West, serve a vital role in today’s rhetoric. The internal struggle to define who we are will continue. The fight for a better tomorrow will rage on. We are in need of the constant reminders that the war can be waged with words.
America is now defining its future. The nation is reaching self-actualization and the debate continues as to who we want to be. The crossroads have never been this strongly defined. Is government the solution or part of the problem? Do we believe in the sovereignty of the United States or in global governance? Do we believe in state sovereignty or relinquishing authority to the federal level? Do we respect and value the individual or only the collective? Are we a nation of laws? Is justice blind? Are all men created equal? Do we believe in the free market system? Do we stop passing debt to the next generation? Do we expect value in our currency? Do we believe the people are better stewards than the government? Should success be based on merit? Do we believe in personal responsibility or expanding entitlements? Do we believe in freedom of the press? Freedom to worship? Should we have citizen legislators or a ruling class of elites? Do we follow the pioneering American spirit? Do we continue to take the road less traveled? — We know where the Left one leads.
Having an economy based on consumption, funded by debt, and promoted by entitlements has turned this industrialized nation into one without industry. The trade deficit is a manufacturing deficit, a debt of production. America no longer makes anything, an exaggeration, of course, but one of proportional truth. Public sector jobs now surpass production. Service jobs exponentially out number manufacturing. (Remember: every public sector job is a service job.) While some services are a necessity, the spoiled “serve me” attitude will cause our success to lead to our failure. We have taken the tangible for granted, placed value on the unnecessary, and forgotten how blessed we are as a nation. The foundation of our economy has been chipped away by labor unions, shaken by government meddling, and demonized by an ungrateful workforce. A quick lesson for those who demand that corporations, manufacturers, and small businesses act in good faith: If you want a friend, be one — or jobs may become our only export.
The form of legal tender has probably been the most evolving element of our relatively new society. We have gone from genuine metal coin and barters to a gold backed dollar, and then to mere paper with only contrived value. Credit, now the most popular form of funds, exchanges the hope of potential wealth. We wager on futures. Investments are made on artificial assets, mere illusions. Exploiting that system will critically damage any economy. The castle has been built on a cloud. The question to ask now is, “Can it be repaired?” At this point, bringing the financial system back down to earth will require desperate measures, but it is still possible. The key to any workable solution will have to include returning to a system built on honest value. The present trend has led to instability and if we continue on, to collapse. Following that path the next logical currency exchanged will be power. — If the dollar falls, so does freedom.
The results of temporarily strengthening the economy with artificial gains have long-term negative effects. The unhealthy economic atmosphere created by over-regulation caps the benefits of hiring. Health insurance, worker’s comp., stricter requirements for larger businesses, and the unknown impacts of proposed legislation all limit expansion and deter entrepreneurship. Innovation, improvements, and new industry are caged in red tape and government assistance programs. It requires so many private sector jobs to support a single government salary, especially when government workers make about 40% more for doing that same job. The government should not be in the investment business. We need good stewards, not better brokers with our tax dollars. It’s time to get off the juice.