…Except For Every Other System Ever Tried
Sir Winston Churchill famously quipped: “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” With apologies to Mr. Churchill, I would suggest a modernization of that quote based on today’s political/economic environment in the United States. You hear a lot about the “failure of capitalism,” and how bad it is compared with the socialist Utopia long sought by progressives; but in reality, free-market capitalism far outpaces any other economic system.
For proof, look no further than the only nation in history which has actually employed free-market capitalism for many decades, and his created more wealth than any other. In America, the lot of the poorest people would be the envy of many in other nations, where the poorest do not own things like microwave ovens and multiple televisions.
Today’s left-leaning leaders have convinced many of us (though no longer a majority) that government can and should do more for us by keeping taxes high and spending billions on social programs. They are taking us toward the sort of “social democracy” they have in, say, Europe. Never mind that Europe has been trying to catch up with us since days after the end of World War II… for some reason we have elected a crew that envies Europe and its socialist systems.
Here are three big problems with that:
Investment Seeks A Free Market.
When a government jerks up taxes, investors take their capital somewhere else where they have a better chance of making it grow. Ireland proved this, leading the way in Europe by lowering taxes and reducing regulations, and they’ve benefited by a large influx of investment (which always brings jobs). Spain, on the other hand, invested billions in creating “green jobs,” essentially constraining the sort of investment they would allow in their country, and now their economy totters on the brink of disaster in the wake of revelations that for every “green job” they created, they destroyed more than two other jobs. (By the way, the President announced today a similar program of “investments” coming soon to an economy near you – if you’re in the United States.) Donald Trump echoed this in a television interview today, predicting that if the government follows through with its promise to end the “Bush tax cuts” from 2001 and 2003, a great out-flow from America – of investors, capital, businesses, and jobs – would be inevitable. On the other hand, experts have suggested that if all taxes in the U.S. were slashed to a flat rate of something around 12 per cent, there would be a flood of money into the U.S. and the economy would soar… and, instead of a drain on the federal treasury, all that business would create a commensurate flood of tax revenue that would be the best hope of avoiding the economic disaster invited by the current tax-and-spend, impossible-deficit policy. Even within the U.S., businesses are fleeing high-tax states like California and New York and flooding into low- (or no-) tax states like Texas and Florida.
You Will Not Get What You Pay For With Socialism.
In country after country, when they go to government-run health care, the cost of care goes up and the quality of care goes down. Governments simply cannot force health care to be good… but the free market can entice it to be great. That’s only one example; of course, progressives would like the government to control virtually everything (in the name of “fairness”). All that spending, though, has created an entirely unsustainable debt and deficit that we will never be able to pay off unless we quickly change course. Luckily, in America, we can do that… but to change course, we’ll have to change governments.
Say Goodbye To Inspiration… And Greatness.
The profit motive made America the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. The possibility of getting rich is a beautiful thing: it creates the next Big Idea, it makes wonderful technologies available and affordable, it gives everyone a reason to do business better, smarter and faster than a competitor. Socialism, though, seeks to remove the profit motive in the interest of trying to make everyone end up with the same outcome. When it becomes obvious that you’ll never enjoy more wealth than your less-inspired neighbor (that wouldn’t be “fair,” after all), you may think your altruism will kick in and make you create the next great enterprise… but I wouldn’t bet on it. To be at their best, entrepreneurs need to be inspired by competition they can beat, money they can make, good they can do, and customers they can delight.
Henry David Thoreau said “That government is best which governs least, because its people discipline themselves.” This is a philosophy directly opposed to that espoused by today’s U.S.government; they govern as if their basic principle is “Some people cannot discipline themselves, so we have to do it for them, and govern everyone’s lives in every respect.” How uninspiring. What’s more, it just doesn’t work – it’s been tried in state after failed state. For all its greed, inequity, and other flaws, the free market is still the best hope of everyone, from rich to poor. And if we lose it here in America, where will the rest of the world go when they need a break from the sad fairness of socialism?