As Democratic presidential candidates and their allies in the media and Hollywood cry out for the blood of billionaires, as they attack capitalism as unfair and glamorize bigger government as the way to manage our multi-trillion dollar economy, I have come to a point of agreement with them...of a sort.
I mean, how dare anyone get as rich as Warren Buffet or Bill Gates? Perhaps you remember President Obama’s famous philosophical statement about wealth...”I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money” Ahh, but, who gets to decide where that point is?
In many ways, Capitalism is like evolution...survival of the fittest. Capitalism can be brutal. Without an unbiased referee to ensure a level and legal playing field capitalism runs on one rule, “Might makes right.” But, once appropriate boundaries have been established...may the best entrepreneurs win...after all, capitalism is the only system in recorded history that has proven over time to actually create wealth throughout entire economies.
Warren, Saunders, Biden, Obama, et. al., have it right to a point...the amassing of all that wealth in a limited number of bank accounts is counter-productive to growing a strong economy where all the citizens benefit.
Here’s where the politician’s train leaves the tracks. They all want “Their fair share.” It’s as if they believe (and some do!) that it’s their money, not ours...that they should control the wealth. They demonize profit and wealth, but as long as it exists, they think the government can spend it better than the citizens. History has shown this, “You do the work, I’ll spend the profits” has never produced strong productive economies. Decentralization not a larger federal government is the answer.
America’s citizens, all of them, would be better off and America’s economy vastly stronger if rather than penalizing the wealthy with punitive tax schemes (Warren’s wealth tax and “Billionaires’ Tax Calculator,” for example); we went back to the principles embedded in the lessons learned by the Pilgrims of Massachusetts when they arrived here from England. Those early settlers only survived on these shores because they learned the amazing power behind letting each worker keep the profits they generated.
It is much more complex today to ensure that principle is played out all across the country, but how much better off would communities be if the profits earned by an efficient assembly line in Wichita stayed in Wichita rather than being siphoned off by DC to be redistributed by a few elite politicians to their friends and supporters?
Silicon Valley is a pathetic example of the problems we face. We see here the potential for both the reward for building a “better mousetrap” and the human costs when greed and government thrive. The very men and women who have empowered the “Technology Revolution” cannot afford to live near their work.
I’m not calling for stronger unions or for more government dictated “wealth taxes.” Neither government nor union mandates have served the greater community... they both in different ways inhibit the human potential.
Nearly 250 years ago, our founders declared, “...all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights...” and unleashed the human potential. In all of prior history, this potential had been restrained by kings, noblemen, dictators and tyrants.
Once set free, once men were masters of their own fate, what happened on these shores is nothing short of miraculous. By 1776, the discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel and the capture of wind power represented the major scientific advances of the human race through 5,000 years of history. In the 250 years since launching this experiment with capitalism in North America, the list of human advances in all areas of life is almost incalculable.
The power of the human potential unleashed by capitalism must never again be shackled by petty politicians seeking to control the wealth built by the sweat and ingenuity of others. The current grab for America’s private wealth is really nothing more than a sophisticated (and veiled) effort to return to our discredited history of slavery...this time with citizens as the slaves and the politicians as the plantation owners.