Feb. 22 is George Washington’s birthday. I suggest that we take a moment to consider why we take time out of our busy lives to celebrate it; after all, millions of others have come and gone, and we don’t celebrate them.
He, and the other Founding Fathers, took an enormous amount of time out of their busy lives to focus on us, the future generations, to consider what our aspirations might be, and then give their best thinking toward how to achieve those aims.
Their core belief was that a government founded upon the human heart’s hunger for freedom should be the cornerstone of the government. In this structure, every individual is free to live his or her life as he or she sees fit, with a minimal amount of intrusion and taxation by government.
They bequeathed us such a government, and it has been so wildly successful that our nation has thrived more so than any other in history, becoming a magnet for countless millions of the world’s people, right up to this very day.
But on this earth, nothing stays static. Today’s technologies make it increasingly difficult for the little guy to compete with the technology-driven huge corporations. This creates fewer opportunities for small business, but does this mean that there are fewer employment opportunities for the vast majority of our citizens? Clearly not, as unemployment is at record lows and wages continue to rise.
So why is socialism such a big topic these days? There are several factors driving that. One is that young people are entering the workforce with enormous college debt and, no doubt, seeking relief. Fifty years ago, when I attended college, college costs were not significant. In the intervening years, colleges have raised the rates much faster than most other costs. Today, students are pushing back, finding less expensive alternatives; as a result, tuition rates are decreasing and numerous colleges are closing their doors.
Addressing environmental concerns is driving up costs. Renewable energy is vastly more expensive than fossil fuels, and it will only get worse - Germany, a leader in implementing renewable energy, pays up to three times as much for electricity as we do. Further, increasingly stringent restriction on development of housing makes housing evermore out of reach for many.
Why do we see more and more fingers pointed at those “greedy billionaires?” It’s jealousy. Those billionaires have developed products of such great value that the world flocks to their door to buy them; they improve our lives. The finger-pointing is driven by politicians who say, “Elect me, and I’ll get their billions and pay off your college debt.”
Socialism is not the answer. The more we tax people, the less enthusiasm they will bring to their work, and their work product will decline. Conversely, the more we give hand-outs, the less incentive people will have to work hard. How many times have you heard that immigrants are hard workers? For example, when you see a crew of yard workers in the hot sun, unlike in years past, almost invariably, they are immigrants, not low-skilled Americans. Clearly, those immigrants don’t have an income stream outside of working hard. This has nothing to do with compassion for the needy.
Happy Birthday, George, and thank you and the others, for bequeathing to us a free country, where strivers are rewarded and not hindered. This structure that has enabled us to thrive phenomenally.