LOOTING THE ECONOMY
March 14, 2009
Even in the midst of the deepest and most far-reaching economic crisis since the Great Depression, Americans are still pretty comfortable. The poorest of the poor in this country would be considered wealthy by the standards of most of the world's population, taking for granted "luxuries" like plumbing, electricity, and medical care.
The reason we're so comparatively wealthy in this country, even during this worldwide economic crisis, is because this country has had a historically strong economy, built up over decades of productivity, of leading the world in industrial and technological innovation that has not only generated wealth for the entrepreneurs and investors who made it possible, but has created abundant opportunities for people who were willing to learn a marketable skill, and work hard at it, to earn their way out of poverty and into the middle class.
People like to go on about the "shrinking middle class," but neglect to consider that the "poor" in this country today have, on average, a higher standard of living than the "middle class" had a couple of generations ago. It isn't that there's more actual poverty today, it's that the bar keeps being raised on what we consider "poor."
A rising tide lifts all boats, and that has been the case with our economy, up until recently. The standard of living bar has been continuously raised for everybody, generation after generation. This is not because the government provides for us all, but because the productive members of society generate not just money, but value, not just wealth, but opportunity, providing goods and services that continually improve the quality of life for all, while creating jobs and providing the foundation for a sound and healthy economy.
When you hamper or discourage productivity (or drive it offshore) through excessive regulations and punitive taxation, for the dubious benefit of the unproductive members of society, the economy as a whole must suffer. If a rising tide lifts all boats, what happens when the tide recedes? The overall standard of living goes down. We are standing at that inflection point today.
Years ago, we shifted from a production economy to a "credit economy." Where our economy used to be based on goods delivered, now it's based on promises, and many of those promises are turning out to be undeliverable. So what do we do now?
The solution is not to keep expanding our dependency on government, while sinking our nation ever deeper into debt, relying more and more on the government to provide what the producers no longer can because the government has tied their hands or driven them offshore. That course of action can only dig us deeper into the hole we're in right now. The way to recover is to return to a production economy, where you only get rewards for what you produce. If you want something, you have to pay for it. To pay for it, you have to produce something for which somebody else is willing to pay you.
We need to restore productivity, not just have government hire more people and create more bureaucracies to employ them. We need to create value, not pump more money into the economy, which only serves to devalue the money already in circulation. We cannot borrow our way out of debt, nor spend our way into solvency. We need to return to the basic foundations on which this once-great nation was built: hard work, self-reliance, entrepreneurship, industry, and personal responsibility. It's not rocket science. It's common sense.
So why are our legislators doing just the opposite of what clearly needs to be done to regenerate our economy? Why are they jamming the accelerator to the floor as the economy heads over the cliff?
Because the impending disaster that has been building up for years is now imminent, and they believe it to be inevitable. They've given up all hope of salvaging the economy, and figure they may as well grab what they can while there's still something left to grab. They're in a feeding frenzy of earmarks, stuffing every bill with as much pork as they can cram in. They are literally looting the economy, justifying their reckless plunder because they figure it's all going down anyway.
So they pour more money into the economy, mortgaging our country to foreign interests, indenturing future generations of taxpayers, while they and their buddies rake theirs off the top. And the rest of us sit watching in dumb horror (or blind hope) as the value of the money in our bank accounts gets diluted by the flood of new dollars being pumped into the system, and the stock market plummets day after day.
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And what happens when it all bottoms out and there's nothing left to loot? In one scenario, we start over from scratch, the way our forefathers did, and struggle to rebuild a stable economy based once again on real productivity. In a more nefarious scenario, there's somebody waiting in the wings with other plans for our nation.
© 2009 Margaret Goodwin - All Rights Reserved