Warning! If you consider yourself a socialist, if you believe in any form of totalitarian government, you should not read this column.
If you believe government has the right to take something from someone who earned it and give it to someone who didn’t, you should stop reading here. Please stop!
OK, you have been warned. Why are you still reading? Let me try once more. If you believe that di-hydrogen oxide is a toxic byproduct of producing energy and should be regulated by the government, if you believe that you evolved from a monkey or that dental floss is a threat to the environment, you should not read further. OK, then, prepare to be insulted.
On the other hand, if you believe those who work to produce should be left to enjoy the fruits of their labor, please stay with me.
One of the problems we who stand to the right-of-center politically have is convincing those to our left that the free enterprise system works. It was this system that made America great. In fact, it made us such a strong country that we have remained affluent for the last hundred years, even though the system has been continually corrupted with ever-increasing doses of socialism.
The problem is that in the minds of most Americans, the injected policies have never been recognized as socialist. Most folks think we have always had a free enterprise system in America, but we don’t and we haven’t had in my lifetime.
For the last 80 years, our economic system has been a socialist-capitalist hybrid. The socialist injections started under President Hoover who was trying to get us out of the Great Depression. They really got cranking under FDR and continued progressing right on through the present day. There is really nothing left of the free enterprise system that our Founding Fathers would recognize.
So, now the left tells us, “We tried capitalism and it failed. We have to have socialism; we have to have regulations; free enterprise doesn’t work.”
But it did! It worked fine until we corrupted, then abandoned it.
The liberal perception of the free enterprise system reminds me of the drunk who came staggering along and fell into a guy who had just bought a grandfather clock and was struggling to carry it out of the clock shop. They went down in a hopeless pile of springs, gears and debris. “What’s the matter with you, you drunken fool?” shouted the poor fellow whose clock had met its timely demise on its encounter with the sidewalk. “Why don’t you watch where you’re going?”
The drunk looked the situation over and asked, “Well, why don’t you just wear a watch like everyone else?”
Speaking, or rather, writing of misperceptions, I don’t think the majority of the American people know what happened with the banking system at the end of 2008. When we nationalized those several banks, we, the taxpayers, inherited $8 trillion in debts that the banks were responsible for. Most of these were bad loans that will eventually have to be paid off by the taxpayers if our current financial system is to survive. So, the reality of that situation is we have doubled the size of the national debt to near $20 trillion. Now that is a considerable pile of money.
Even a billion dollars is a couple of feet off the cowboy comprehension scale, so just in case someone reading this column doesn’t deal in these figures every day, let me try to put them in perspective. In U.S. political terms, a billion is a thousand times a million. A trillion is a thousand times a billion.
A stack of $100 bills totaling $1 trillion would be 789 miles high. There are about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way — and we are $20 trillion in debt? That figures out to about $66,000 worth of debt for every U.S. citizen. Obama and his multi-trillion dollar Congress seem to think we can spend our way out of debt and into prosperity.
About 30 years ago I used to play music out at Christopher Creek on weekends. There was a gent from Payson who came there on a regular basis. I asked him if he liked to hear Angela and I sing enough to drive out from Payson every week.
“Oh, I like you guys fine,” he told me, “but I come here for the beer. You know, beer’s a nickel a bottle cheaper out here?”
“I didn’t know that,” I answered, “but it’s 20 miles out here and 20 miles back. How do you figure you’re saving money?”
“Why, I just sit here and drink ’til I show a profit,” he responded. That’s the Obama stimulus plan for dummies.
Como Siempré, Jinx